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Big Ten Tournament: Picks, Preview, and Storylines

Who makes it off the bubble? Who’s getting upset first? Come make your Big Ten Tournament picks here.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

It begins.

Can Penn State, Michigan, or wisconsin play themselves off the bubble and into the Big Dance? Does Nebraska have a puncher’s chance of making it to the NIT? Which of the high seeds falls the earliest?

The Big Ten Tournament begins tonight, and we’ve got your preview here. Remember, too, to join the Big Ten Tournament Pick’em Challenge!


  1. Purdue Boilermakers
  2. Northwestern Wildcats
  3. Indiana Hoosiers
  4. Michigan State Spartans
  5. Iowa Hawkeyes
  6. Maryland Terrapins
  7. Illinois Fighting Illini
  8. Michigan Wolverines
  9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  10. Penn State Nittany Lions
  11. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  12. wisconsin badgers
  13. Ohio State Buckeyes
  14. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Big Ten

Vitals: How to Watch

  • Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
  • When:
  • TV: BTN (Wed-Fri), CBS (Sat-Sun)

What’s the biggest storyline?

WhiteSpeedReceiver: opens mouth to respond, sounds of seagulls and gentle waves comes out of mouth instead of anything related to Gopher basketball

BoilerUp89: /flips coin

Can any of the four bubble teams win a game?

Misdreavus79: The craziness of the regular season translating to a potentially crazy tournament. Don’t be surprised, however, if all you have is a bunch of close games won by the higher seeds.

Jesse Collins: Is this really a conference worth sending 10 teams to the NCAA tournament or will all of the bubble teams continue to blow their collective feet off with bazookas?

BuffKomodo: Storylines in order of how interesting they are:

  1. Can Penn State/Nebraska make magical runs in the tournament? Nebby fighting for pride and Penn State fighting for a tournament birth. Would need a run like last years Indiana run to push them into the dance.
  2. Is this conference actually worth 10 seeds in the tournament?
  3. Can Maryland overcome not being in Maryland for these games and make a run?
  4. Can Northwestern or Indiana not perform like shit and make it to the finals?

MNW: Sir, I ask the questions here.

The two most compelling storylines, for me, are the four bubble teams—Rutgers with the potential to fall off (/crosses fingers), and the “who knows?” of Penn State, Michigan, and wisconsin—and 2-seed Northwestern. Rather than a referendum on the conference as a whole, though, it’s just the wide-open feeling I get looking at the draw. It’s fun!

Which Wednesday team makes it the farthest and why?

BoilerUp89: Nebraska - cause the coin tells me they are playing Friday.

Misdreavus79: Conventional wisdom says Nebraska because of how they finished the year, but I’m going to go with Wisconsin. They know they need wins to make the tournament, and if they get past Ohio State, they have Iowa waiting in the wings.

Jesse: I’m thinking Ohio State because they’re one of those teams that feels like they should be a helluva lot better than they are.

MNW: It’s the winner of wisconsin-Ohio State, and let’s say wisconsin, because the badgers stylistically make for a more aggravating matchup with Iowa.


Which Wednesday team goes the farthest?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    (31 votes)
  • 21%
    (23 votes)
  • 17%
    Ohio State
    (19 votes)
  • 2%
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Two make it to Friday
    (7 votes)
  • 21%
    No one makes it to Friday
    (23 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now

Any OTHER upsets we should watch for?

BoilerUp89: Michigan over Purdue.

Misdreavus79: The upset faces of Rutgers fans demanding respect all season long only to not even make the tournament.

Jesse: Iowa looks like the fun choice because they don’t start against a good team which means they’re definitely going to not play defense and shoot a million 3s that won’t go in. But of the like Top 4, maybe I see Michigan State losing first? They seem to flirt with disaster at times.

MNW: Northwestern’s losing to whichever of Penn State or Illinois (yes, I realize it’s Penn State, Thump) makes it to them. Feels like there’s an emotional letdown on the way, with the Selection Sunday watch party already booked and the ‘Cats not defending the three terribly well against either of these squads.

Who wins, how, and why?

BoilerUp89: Sparty wins it all because the coin tells me.

Also because historically Indiana and Northwestern don’t win this thing and Purdue is losing to Michigan on Friday leaving MSU, Iowa (not happening 2 years in a row), homeless Maryland, or can’t-beat-PSU Illinois. MSU has the least warts and so long as they don’t have to play Purdue they can win this thing.

Misdreavus79: Purdue, by giving the ball to Zach Edey, because they did that all season and it worked so why stop now?

Stew: Not Purdue because they won all season by giving the ball to Edey so they’ll obviously stop now.

3/4 of the four bubble teams get beat early with, let’s say, Penn State getting through to Saturday and securing a spot.

So who does that leave? An incredibly mediocre team.

/throws dart

Indiana? Uh, sure

Jesse: I’m going Purdue because they’re still the best team in the conference and are playing for a high seed if they can win out convincingly.

MNW: Your semifinalists: Purdue vs. Michigan State, Illinois vs. Indiana. Give me Purdue over Indiana in the finals.


Who wins the Big Ten Tournament?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    (35 votes)
  • 10%
    (15 votes)
  • 16%
    (22 votes)
  • 11%
    Michigan State
    (16 votes)
  • 4%
    (6 votes)
  • 8%
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    (2 votes)
  • 4%
    (6 votes)
  • 7%
    Penn State
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Ohio State
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    (5 votes)
137 votes total Vote Now