Is this the best slate of opening games in Big Ten Tournament history? This is only the second season with a full slate of four games on Thursday, but the 8/9 and 5/12 games have some great subplots. Illinois and Minnesota have Jekyl/Hyde NCAA Tournament profiles with wins over Indiana but losses to No. 11 seed Northwestern. The winner is almost assured of an NCAA berth, but the loser, especially if it is Minnesota, could slide off of the bubble.
After that you have the most exciting 5/12 game in the history of conference tournaments. Penn State's record is bad at 2-16 in the league, but they may have played some of the best basketball in the conference of late. They face a Michigan team they beat just two weeks ago. Honestly, Michigan could just as easily win the entire NCAA Tournament by 15 point margins per game as they could lose to Penn State before dropping a 4/13 Thursday afternoon game next week. I trust them that much.
Thus begins the March through Chicago.