After Indiana beat Iowa last and Purdue beat Nebraska things were a little bittersweet. Sure, it sucks seeing your bitter rival clinch the outright Big Ten title (tying Purdue for the most all time), but they earned it. If you argue about a "weak schedule" you sound like an idiot because, well, Purdue’s wasn’t exactly much stronger. Also, you can’t argue anymore about Tom Crean’s coaching credentials. Yeah, he’s a little weird, but he rebuilt a program that was ashes and now has won two Big Ten titles in four years.
The truth is, Indiana earned this. As I always say, if you don’t want to bitch about something, don’t lose. Purdue had its chance to do something about it and it lost against Iowa at home, at Michigan, at Illinois, and at Indiana. Give credit where it is due.
Now, I’ll stop blowing Indiana because the second, more important season is about to start. Inadvertently, the Hoosiers helped Purdue last night. In this morning’s Big Ten standings Purdue now sits in a 3-way tie for 5th place with Iowa and Ohio State. Purdue is a game behind Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Maryland for a top four finish and a double bye at next weekend’s Big Ten Tournament. Purdue can still finish anywhere from the 2 seed to the 8 seed. There are scenarios where it can get a double bye if it loses to Wisconsin, but those involve crazy things happening like Rutgers beating Michigan State tonight.
That is not happening.
So, for the sake of sanity, let’s assume Michigan State beats Rutgers and Maryland handles its business against Illinois this week. The Minnesota-Wisconsin game is not important because Purdue has already beaten Wisconsin once and would have the tiebreaker with them if the Boilers win Sunday night. To get a double bye Purdue needs:
1. A win over Wisconsin
2. A loss by Maryland OR Michigan State OR Iowa
That’s it. Since Purdue is currently in a 3-way tie with Ohio State and Iowa the round-robin between the three is the tiebreaker, but that tie won’t stay that way because either Purdue loses to fall out of it or beats Wisconsin to make it a 3-way tie once Ohio State falls out of it with a loss to Michigan State. If Maryland, Michigan State, and Iowa all win along with Purdue, the Boilers would be in a 3-way tie for fourth, but would lose the tiebreaker there because Iowa would be 2-1 in that round-robin and Purdue would be 2-2 with Wisconsin being 1-2.
So the following scenarios exist:
Purdue gets the #2 seed: This happens if all three lose: Maryland (to Indiana), Iowa (to Michigan), and Michigan State (to Ohio State), while Purdue wins over Wisconsin. This creates a 5-way tie for second place. Purdue is in EXCELLENT shape if this happens because it went 5-1 against that grouping. Purdue would then be the 2 seed facing the winner between Iowa (as the 7) and whoever wins the 10 seed at the bottom.
Purdue gets the #3 seed: This happens in a lot of ways, but the easiest way to have it is a Purdue win coupled with two of three of Iowa, Michigan State, and Maryland losing a game. Remember that five-way tie above? Well, if so much as Iowa wins over Michigan to make it a 6-way clusterfuck for second place it moves Maryland to the 2 seed because of Purdue’s two losses to the Hawkeyes making Purdue 5-3 vs. the clusterfuck. Maryland would also be 5-3, and with the Boilers and Terps splitting their two games the third tiebreaker goes all the way down to record vs. Illinois. Since Purdue lost to the Illini, Maryland gets the edge (confusing, I know, but trust me. I worked it all out here). All you need to know is Iowa beating Michigan hurts Purdue in a multi-team tie, while the Hawkeyes losing helps Purdue.
Purdue gets the #4 seed: This is the easiest one, as it is pretty much a Purdue win over Wisconsin and a loss by 1 of the 3 of Michigan State, Maryland, or Iowa. Pretty straightforward, and it sets up a rematch with Indiana in the semifinals on Saturday that will be ruined like it was in 2008 when people spent a ridiculous amount of money for said potential Indiana-Purdue game in Indy in the semifinals, only to have Illinois upset Purdue and Minnesota beat Indiana.
Purdue gets the #5 seed: Again, pretty straightforward. Purdue beats Wisconsin, but gets no help from anyone else as Iowa, Michigan State, and Maryland all win. It does, however, set up a redemption tour as Purdue can beat Illinois (if they beat Minnesota in the 12-13 game), Iowa, and Indiana in successive games to get to the championship. Those are the three teams of the other 13 Purdue did not beat at least once this year. Purdue cannot finish lower than the 5 seed if it beats Wisconsin.
Purdue gets the #6 seed: Basically, if Purdue loses to Wisconsin, but Iowa, Michigan State, and Maryland all win. Purdue is already ahead of Michigan and Purdue would be tied with Ohio State, winning the tiebreaker.
Purdue gets the #7 seed: Purdue loses, Ohio State beats Michigan State, and Michigan still loses to Iowa.
Purdue gets the #8 seed: The nightmare scenario. Purdue loses to Wisconsin, but Michigan beats Iowa and Michigan State loses to Ohio State. Not only does Purdue blow a chance at the 3 seed at minimum, it falls into a tie with Iowa and Michigan where it loses the tiebreaker to both because of their 1-3 record against them.