Even with the Michigan State-Northwestern game still to finish the seed of the 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball tournament are complete. Everything was locked up in the final minute when Michigan choked on a piece of the Big Ten title they had all but locked up. As you can see, it ended up being an extremely costly loss.
Purdue will be the No. 7 seed and, for the second straight season, will face Nebraska on Thursday of the Tournament. Here is your complete schedule (assuming Michigan State beats Northwestern):
Noon: No. 8 Seed Illinois (21-11, 8-10) vs. No. 9 Seed Minnesota (20-11, 8-10) Big Ten Network
2:30pm: No. 5 Seed Michigan (25-6, 12-6) vs. No. 12 Seed Penn State (10-20, 2-16) Big Ten Network
6:30pm: No. 7 Seed Purdue (15-16, 8-10) vs. No. 10 Seed Nebraska (14-17, 5-13) ESPN2
9pm: No. 6 Seed Iowa (20-11, 9-9) vs. No. 11 Seed Northwestern (13-18, 4-14) ESPN2
Noon: No. 1 Seed Indiana (26-5, 14-4) vs. Illinois-Minnesota winner ESPN
2:30pm: No. 4 Seed Wisconsin (21-10, 12-6) vs. Penn State/Michigan winner ESPN
6:30pm: No. 2 Seed Ohio State (23-7, 13-5) vs. Purdue/Nebraska winner Big Ten Network
9pm: No. 3 Seed Michigan State (24-7, 13-5) vs. Iowa/Northwestern winner Big Ten Network
1:40pm: Indiana/Illinois/Minnesota winner vs. Wisconsin/Michigan/Penn State Winner CBS
4pm: Ohio State/Nebraska/Purdue winner vs. Michigan State/Iowa/Northwestern winner CBS
Championship game 3:30pm CBS
Some early thoughts:
- The choke by Michigan dropped them to the 5/12 game, where they face a suddenly confident Penn State team. Penn State just beat Michigan and nearly beat Wisconsin today, so a miracle run to Saturday is possible for the Nittany Lions.
- The Illinois/Minnesota game could be an NCAA elimination game. In my view neither one deserves an at large bid because they have a losing league record, but the winner is probably safe in reality. That's especially true if the winner adds a second win over Indiana in the process.I like Illinois for this more than Minnesota, who is currently a mess.
- Iowa gets a needed path to Saturday, as they likely need two wins to feel anywhere remotely close to safe. They should beat Northwestern and a win over Sparty would help greatly.
- Purdue avoids the 8/9 game on tiebreakers despite a worse overall record. In that three-way tie Purdue was 2-1 vs. Illinois and Minnesota, while Minnesota was 1-2 and Illinois was 2-2. Tiebreaker is best winning percentage among teams tied.
- Though Indiana is the No. 1 overall seed I don't trust them to even reach the final. Bo Ryan avoids Thursday yet again, and since he owns Tom Crean I like Wisconsin to upset Indiana in the semis and play either Ohio State or Michigan State in the final.
The Big Ten season has been fun, but how much of it has been decided by mistakes at critical times rather than teams coming through in the clutch. Michigan and Michigan State both choked away home wins over Indiana by missing clutch free throws. Michigan simply dick-tripped at Penn State (no other explanation for that loss). Iowa was a mess in close games late. Indiana twice completely lost a player on deciding in-bounds plays at Illinois and Michigan, but got bailed out by missed FTs at Michigan. Wisconsin somehow gacked against Purdue at home. Michigan may be the most talented, but most mentally fragile team in the country.
The winner 8/9 game has a recent win and confidence over the outright champion and possible Number 1 overall seed in the tourney. That's how crazy this thing could be. It should be a blast! even this could happen:
Can't wait til Purdue wins the Big Ten Tournament and then is the only Big Ten team to reach the Sweet 16.— TheChampaignRoom.com (@Champaign_Room) March 10, 2013
Of course, if that happened:
@champaign_room If that happens I am running a lap of Indianapolis on 465 bare-assed naked— Travis Miller (@HammerAndRails) March 10, 2013