Along with the ACC, the BIG 10 is elite. The top of the conference is loaded with National Title contenders. Both Michigan teams and Purdue can make a deep run in the Big Dance. The conference finished the regular season with 5 teams in the top 25. Joe Lunardi projects 8 BIG 10 teams to be in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State completed the sweep of their in-state rival Wolverines over the weekend, solidifying the #1 seed in the BIG 10 tournament. There’s no surprise that a Tom Izzo coached team finishes the regular season on top of the conference.
The middle of the conference once again is full of at-large teams. Maryland, Wisconsin, and Iowa are all legitimate threats to make noise this March. Iowa has limped in to the post season, going 1-5 SU over their final 6 games. Maryland and Wisconsin closed out the season in the top 25.
An interesting team in the BIG 10 towards the end of the season was the Penn State Nittany Lions. After starting conference play with a bottom dwelling 1-11 record, they closed out the season going 6-2 in league including victories over Michigan and Maryland on that run.
As we see every year, mediocre BIG 10 teams find themselves in bubble talk. The Indiana Hoosiers are in consideration for an at-large bid based on their name alone. They finished the season on a 4 game winning streak to end the regular season with an 8-12 conference record.
March 13th-17th United Center Chicago, IL
- Michigan State +130
- Michigan +230
- Purdue +320
- Wisconsin +570
- Maryland +1900
- Iowa +4600
- Indiana +5000
- Penn State +6100
- Ohio State +8900
- Minnesota +8900
- Nebraska +11000
- Northwestern +16500
- Rutgers +18700
- Illinois +19100
The BIG 10 is another league that ends their tournament on Selection Sunday. This one is likely to be anti-climatic in terms of who is getting in the tournament because the two teams playing in the title game are likely both headed as at-large teams.
Pick: Penn State Nittany Lions +6100
I’m going deep to the #10 seed in this one. I want a long shot to keep an eye on and based on how they closed out the season, the Nittany Lions might be just the team. Clearly the top of the conference has more talent than Penn State, but it’s March and anything can happen.
They open up the tournament with Minnesota, a team they lost to by 1 point in January. Losing close games pretty much sums up Penn State’s season. If they can get past Minnesota, they will matchup with Purdue. That won’t be an easy matchup, but the Nittany Lions have proven they can beat the big boys this year.
Live a little and put a couple bucks on Penn State.