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Bracketology Update for NCAA Tournament, Big Ten: Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State on the Bubble

And put Nebraska in the NIT, you cowards.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten picture remains clear as mud—we know Minnesota and Ohio State are bad and will stay bad through Wednesday of the Big Ten Tournament...but the entire rest of the field is in limbo. Iowa could be the second seed or the twelfth seed. Northwestern could win the conference or fall to ninth.

This is all very, very dumb.

B1G Bracketology

B1G Talking Points

  • Purdue still makes up the fourth and final of the 1-seeds and outpaces UCLA by some margin on Bracket Matrix. 15-5 and a semifinal appearance at the Big Ten Tournament should be enough for them Boilers...right?
  • Indiana seems well-ensconced on a 4-line, looking up at the likes of Gonzaga and, beyond them, Marquette and Tennessee, but a season sweep of Purdue? The Hoosiers will rue that three-game swoon against the Hoks, ‘Cats, and Nittany Lions—this could’ve been a championship year.
  • I watched five minutes of Northwestern’s collapse against Illinois and none of the pasting at Maryland. The small-ball Illinois played and the three-point shooting Maryland showed off...thankfully the typical 11- or 12-seed isn’t usually undersized or streaky shootin—
  • A Maryland-West Virginia 7-10 matchup in the first round would be positively delightful. Remains to be seen if Maryland can get it done away from home, though, and road losses in Columbus and Happy Valley would knock the Terps back into 8-9 territory.
  • Thump’s ramblings notwithstanding (or perhaps contributing to the problem)—I have no idea what Illinois is doing here. Does Brad Underwood know? Regardless, Terrence Shannon Jr. rounding into form for the Illini would have the 1- or 2-seeds like UCLA and Texas dreading a rematch...
  • something something tom izzo and michigan state in march something something
  • What a rough draw it would be for Iowa to get Arkansas (KP 15) in the first round. You truly just hate to see it. Regardless, the Hoks playing a 100-97 barnburner with the Hogs or the Pack would be a fun way to see them not make the Sweet Sixteen again.
  • Rutgers needs games played in the 50s and man, I just don’t see that happening against a first-round opponent like Kentucky or, worse yet, Missouri.
  • Finding a way to play on the Wednesday of the Big Ten Tournament yet slip in as a First Four matchup would be wisconsin’s magnum opus.
  • Michigan pulls off one of these last two to finish 12-8 and I don’t know how you can’t put them in the First Four. There aren’t many good wins on the Wolverines’ resume outside Big Ten play, but a combined 10 points in three defeats against UVA, Kentucky, and UNC feels like a harsh reason to keep them out.
  • In contrast, Penn State has to go runner-runner and...probably the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament at minimum? Jerry Palm, usually bearish on the B1G, still has them in First Four Out. Man, would Jalen Pickett lighting things up in a First Four game be fun...
  • BRT said it in our Slack channel this weekend: “I know Northwestern is the Official Feel-Good Story of the conference, but I’m pretty into the redemption arc the Huskers are currently pursuing.” And I agree! Hell, I wrote last week:

I’m putting it out there now: if Nebraska can go 2-1 in their final three Big Ten games—Minnesota, MSU, @Iowa—they should be in the NIT. Pinnacle Bank Arena fits the “likely sellout” vibe the NIT prioritizes, and it’d be a smart “hot hand” choice for the consolation bracket.

The Huskers have won five of six and, with a win in either of their final two regular season games, should get a look from the NIT. They’re currently not in the Barking Crow projections for the Not Invited Tournament, but they really, really deserve another look.

If you want to know more about the various teams that could knock Wisconsin, Penn State, or Michigan off the bubble—and I suggest you do—check out BoilerUp’s fantastic daily previews of the various conference tournaments beginning each day:

You won’t find a better one out there that sums up your Big Ten rooting interests.


Who makes the Dance?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Michigan, wisconsin, and Penn State
    (6 votes)
  • 30%
    Michigan and wisconsin
    (43 votes)
  • 7%
    Michigan and Penn State
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    wisconsin and Penn State
    (7 votes)
  • 27%
    Michigan only
    (39 votes)
  • 11%
    wisconsin only
    (16 votes)
  • 2%
    Penn State only
    (4 votes)
  • 10%
    (15 votes)
140 votes total Vote Now


Should Nebraska make the NIT?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Yes, they’re already there.
    (37 votes)
  • 29%
    Yes, with a 1-1 finish in the Big Ten.
    (35 votes)
  • 25%
    Yes, with a 1-1 finish in the Big Ten AND a BTT win.
    (30 votes)
  • 0%
    Yes, with a 2-0 finish in the Big Ten.
    (0 votes)
  • 7%
    Yes, with a 2-0 finish in the Big Ten AND a BTT win.
    (9 votes)
  • 6%
    No, too much work to do for the Huskers.
    (8 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now