With the Michigan-Nebraska game going final the 2017 Big Ten Tournament is set. We've known for almost a week that our Boilers would be the No. 1 seed. We've known longer that Rutgers would be the No. 14 seed. Seeds 2-13 have been in flux until today, however. Here is the complete schedule for the Tournament:
Wednesday, March 8
12 Seed Nebraska (12-18, 6-12) vs. 13 Seed Penn State (14-17, 6-12) 4:30pm, ESPN2
11 Seed Ohio State (17-14, 7-11) vs. 14 Seed Rutgers (14-17, 3-15) 7pm, BTN
Ohio State gets sent to Wednesday after losing at home to Indiana yesterday. They lost the tiebreaker with the Hoosiers as the result of their head-to-head loss. The same applied in the 12/13 game, but the only thing that Nebraska's win over Penn State decided was the jerseys worn.
While it doesn't mean much, but since going to the 14-team tournament two years ago at least one team each year has made it to Friday after having to play on Wednesday. In 2015 it was Penn State and last year it was Illinois. Purdue ended up beating both.
Thursday, March 9
8 Seed Michigan (20-11, 9-9) vs. 9 Seed Illinois (17-13, 8-10) Noon, BTN
5 Seed Michigan State (18-13, 10-8) vs. Nebraska-Penn State winner 2:30pm, BTN
7 Seed Iowa (18-13, 10-8) vs. 10 Seed Indiana (17-14, 7-11) 6:30pm, ESPN2
6 Seed Northwestern (21-10, 10-8) vs. Ohio State-Rutgers winner 9pm, ESPN2
Michigan State, Northwestern, and Iowa all tied for 5th at 10-8, but Michigan State gets the 5 seed by beating both of them. Northwestern gets the 6 for beating Iowa, but losing to MSU. Of importance here is the 8/9 game, as Purdue will play the winner between Michigan and Illinois. Michigan just convincingly beat Purdue 8 days ago. Illinois scratched and clawed their way into the at large picture only to lose to Rutgers and Purdue dominated them in West Lafayette.
Of these games we have the first bubble teams. Illinois likely saw theirs burst with the loss at Rutgers yesterday. Michigan is probably okay, but beating Illinois would be a very good idea. Michigan State is in the same boat. Iowa has a small chance, but likely needs to beat Indiana. Northwestern is probably fine as long as it doesn't lose to Rutgers. They are probably a lock already, but a win definitely makes them a lock.
Friday, March 10
1 Seed Purdue (25-6, 14-4) vs. Illinois/Michigan winner Noon, ESPN
4 Seed Minnesota (23-8, 11-7) vs. Michigan State/Nebraska/Penn State winner 2:30pm, ESPN
2 Seed Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6) vs. Iowa/Indiana winner 6:30pm, BTN
3 Seed Maryland (24-7, 12-6) vs. Northwestern/Ohio State/Rutgers winner 9pm, BTN
Purdue has the week off until Friday at noon, but even with a No. 1 seed the path to a Big Ten Tournament title is actually quite difficult. It seems like Purdue will have to face Michigan, the only team with a double-digit win over Purdue this year, then Minnesota, the only Big Ten team to win at Mackey Arena this year.
All four double-bye teams are NCAA locks and are playing for seeds. Wisconsin gets the edge for the 2 seed because it beat Maryland in Madison. It also means Maryland, the "home" team in DC will be the last of the 14 to even play a game and 9 other schools will be eliminated before they even play once.
Saturday, March 11
Purdue/Illinois/Michigan winner vs. Minnesota/Michigan State/Nebraska/Penn State winner 1pm, CBS
Wisconsin/Iowa/Indiana winner vs. Maryland/Northwestern/Ohio State/Rutgers winner 3:30pm, CBS
If Purdue can make it to the final by going through Michigan and Minnesota it is the best case scenario. That would give Purdue two more top 50 wins (it currently has only 5, with Northwestern barely outside at 53) and it would avenge two of Purdue's 6 losses. At that point, Purdue would have a strong case for a 3 seed, especially if Northwestern can also make the semifinals and move back into the top 50.
Sunday, March 12
Big Ten Tournament Championship Game 3pm, CBS
If Purdue gets to Sunday it is guaranteed to face a team it has already beaten. Purdue's record against any of the seven teams Purdue could face in the final is 9-1. The one loss came at Iowa. It might actually be an easier game than the quarterfinal or semifinal.