Michigan started hot, hitting their first four field goals and jumping out to a 13-4 lead early in Carver, but from then on, it was all Hawkeyes. Caitlin Clark totaled 38 points, 6 rebounds, and 11 assists, and Czinano and Marshall also scored double digits to help Iowa to a 104-80 victory, clinching the regular season championship for themselves as well as Ohio State over #6 Michigan. So where do we go from here?
Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament
First and foremost, the next step for all teams is the Big Ten Tournament. The field is set, and play will begin on Wednesday at 1PM GTZ. Every tournament game will be held on BTN except the title game, which will be on ESPN2. They’ll share Saturday’s coverage with the wrestling tournament, which means I’m gonna be stuck to my couch all day. Ohio State got the number one seed courtesy of their regular season win over Iowa, who takes the two. Michigan is the three thanks to a sweep over Maryland, who is the four. Wisconsin, Penn State, Rutgers, and Illinois are the bottom four seeds, and will start play.
#13 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-14) vs #12 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-13), 1PM on BTN
#5 Indiana Hoosiers (11-5) vs 12/13, after 8/9 (apx 1PM) on BTN
#6 Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-7) vs 11/14, after 7/10 (apx 8PM) on BTN
#1 Ohio State Buckeyes (14-4) vs 8/9, 10:30AM on BTN
#4 Maryland Terrapins (13-4) vs 5/12/13, after 1/8/9 (apx 1PM) on BTN
#2 Iowa Hawkeyes (14-4) vs 7/10, 5:30PM on BTN
#3 Michigan Wolverines (13-4) vs 6/11/14, after 2/7/10 (apx 8PM) on BTN
1/4 semifinal, 2:30PM on BTN
2/3 semifinal, 5PM on BTN
Final, 3PM on ESPN2
Yeah, these are kind of meaningless. But as we’ll get into below, bracketology is pretty limited in women’s hoops, so this is another way to get national perception on the teams. In the AP Poll, the Big Ten boasts five teams, just as they did last week. However, each team has moved quite a bit. Michigan dropped from #6 to #10 after their lopsided loss to Iowa. Maryland jumped from #13 to #11 thanks to their win over Indiana. Iowa went from #21 all the way to #12 thanks to that aforementioned win over Michigan, but also their second win over Indiana which came on Monday. Ohio State went from #17 to #13 after winning a pair on the week. Indiana went from #10 to #14 (tied with Arizona) thanks to their two losses to ranked foes. No one dropped from the AP Poll this week, with the 25 teams just changing orders around, and no Big Ten teams are receiving votes to be ranked besides those mentioned above.
The coaches poll is supposed to come out today, but I have to get this scheduled before I go to work, and it isn’t up yet. Hopefully I can throw that in the comments at some point today.
Okay, I admit, I only mentioned ESPN’s bracketology last article because I am lazy. But it turns out, not many people do women’s bracketology. So I guess let’s just look at ESPN again. But before we do that, the NCAA committee itself releases projections of the top four seeds, and did so yesterday. Four Big Ten teams are named, with Michigan as a 2-seed (8th overall), Maryland as a three (12th overall), and Iowa and Indiana as fours (14th and 15th, respectively).
The Worldwide Leader projects seven teams from the Big Ten getting in, including the five ranked teams plus Nebraska and last-team-in Northwestern. Michigan is the highest seed as a two in NC State’s region, and that would mean they would host their first two games in Ann Arbor, starting off with 15-seed Holy Cross. Also in their region, though on the other side of it, is 12-seed Northwestern, who is slotted in a play-in game against Boston College for the privilege to play BYU in Eugene, Oregon. In South Carolina’s region, Maryland is a 4-seed set to host Drexel and potentially the winner of UNC-IUPUI in College Park. Ohio State is a 6-seed, awaiting the winner of Mizzou-Gonzaga and hoping to face 3-seed UConn in round two. In Louisville’s region is 4-seed Iowa, who would get Belmont and potentially the winner of Tennessee-Stephen F Austin in Carver-Hawkeye. In the final region, belonging to 1-seed Stanford, are 5-seed Indiana and 7-seed Nebraska. Indiana wouldn’t have to travel far, getting Kentucky and then potentially the Notre Dame-Toledo winner in South Bend. Nebraska plays Washington State and then potentially Texas in a game that might remind you of old football games but is a higher-octane matchup in volleyball than anything else.
So, that’s where we stand going into the Big Ten tournament. The top four are playing for top-four seeds and home-court advantage at NCAAs, while a few others look to improve their resume to punch their ticket.
Big Ten Tournament Champion
This poll is closed