B1G Ten Ballin’: The B1G Tourney
Greg Mroz tells you what will happen in Indianapolis starting on Thursday
Here we are, Big Ten Tournament week! The results of the tournament could make or break a season, it will determine who gets into the NCAA Tournament and who gets left home. While the winner will most likely be a team that is a lock to win, it will still be a lot of fun to watch. So now, its time to fill out our bracket! Well, Big Ten Tournament bracket that is.
Iowa vs Illinois
In the battle of the 8 vs 9 seed game, the Fighting Illini and Hawkeyes will battle it out to see who will then get subsequently whooped by the number one seed, Michigan State. Both teams to me are less than impressive, but Brandon Paul and Meyers Leonard have star power that can dominate both ends of the floor. Iowa is not good away from home. Winner: Illinois
Indiana vs Penn State
This game will be a terrible game. Indiana blew out Penn State both times they played this year and the Hoosiers combo of Christian Watford and Cody Zeller will dominate on both ends of the floor. Is the third time the charm for Penn State? Not a chance. Winner: Indiana
Northwestern vs Minnesota
This game is the essential bubble popper for Northwestern. Win and the Wildcats are probably going danicing. Lose and they will be back in the NIT. Minnesota did not match up well with NU’s small lineup at Welsh Ryan Arena in February and the only reason the Cats lost the game at the Barn was because they started 0-14 from the field. This game means a ton to NU, and I can guarantee it will come out firing on all cylinders. Winner: Northwestern
Purdue vs Nebraska
Bo Spencer can shoot the lights out for the Cornhuskers, but that is about it. Nebraska is terrible, and Purdue is coming together at the right time. Robbie Hummel is looking to be the leader that Purdue has not had the previous 2 postseasons due to injury. Winner: Purdue
Illinois vs Michigan State
Michigan State and Illinois only played once this year, a 42-21 win for the Fighting Illini at home. Things have changed mightily since then. Michigan State has climbed the ladder while Illinois has fallen out the window and crashed into the street. Michigan State ended the season with two losses, but a Tom Izzo coached team will not overlook any matchups. Illinois has the talent to compete with the Spartans, but Draymond Green will prove too much for Illinois to handle. Winner: Michigan State
Wisconsin vs Indiana
This is a very tough matchup to pick, because both teams have size, both teams have good offenses, and both teams are very well coached. This game will come down to experience, because while Indiana may have a load of young talent, they have not been to the NCAA Tournament under Tom Crean, and much of the time in college basketball, experience wins out. While the game may be in Indianapolis, Wisconsin has more experience, and that in turn is the difference. Winner:Wisconsin
Northwestern vs Michigan
The game most of you have been waiting for! Michigan as many have seen has incredible guard play, and more than likely Trey Burke will be the difference maker in a close game. However, it is hard to beat a team three times in one year, and Michigan’s lack of effective post play gives Northwestern a chance because Michigan will be playing a bit more of a style of basketball that looks like that of NU coach Bill Carmody. NU has had two overtime battles with Michigan. That won’t happen again. Winner: Northwestern
Ohio State vs Purdue
The biggest difference between last year’s and this year’s Purdue team is JaJuan Johnson, who was a difference maker down low. Ohio State’s difference maker down low is Jared Sullinger, and he knows how to outwork and outmuscle many on the court. Purdue has nice guard play, but in the Big Ten, size always matters. Winner: Ohio State
Wisconsin vs Michigan State
This game has a possibility to be a real dogfight. Both teams play tough basketball and both are extremely well coached. However, Draymond Green is going to prove to be too much for Wisconsin, and although I expect a great game from Jordan Taylor, I just don’t see Wisconsin winning. My analysis is limited here because the game is such a tossup. This is the hardest game so far to pick. Winner: Michigan State
Northwestern vs Ohio State
As much as I would like to go out on a limb and say the Cats will beat the Buckeyes and make the tournament final, I just don’t see it happening. Ohio State has too much size and unlike the thriller at Welsh Ryan Arena, this game will be on a neutral court, so there will for sure be a ton of Buckeyes fans there. NU will keep it close, but in the end, Ohio State will prove to be too much down low. Winner: Ohio State
Ohio State vs Michigan State
Here we go, the matchup between the two best teams in the Big Ten. Both are going to be very hungry for this game, especially Ohio State, who will be upset that they didn’t win the B1G Ten regular season title outright. It will be hard to make a prediction in this game, because there is equal star power with Jared Sullinger and Draymond Green, but in the end, it is going to come down to who really wants it more, and I believe that will be the Buckeyes. Winner: Ohio State.
There you have it. It is going to be a very fun tournament to watch, and we will see Sunday night once the NCAA tournament bracket is set what the results of this tournament actually meant in the grand scheme of things.
Until next week, shoot B1G, and keep ballin!
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