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Big Ten Team Momentum Heading into the BTT

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Who should the Boilers hope to avoid?

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost BTT time, and while most of us are focused on tomorrow’s game for a share of the Big Ten Championship, I’m going to do the worst thing ever and look past the Wildcats and into the tournament to take a look at who we can hope to draw. Feel free to light me up on Twitter if we don’t score 50 in the first half tomorrow.

Over at AMSTS, I took a deeper dive that was more agnostic to the Boilermakers situation, but I wanted to do a deep dive on the Big Ten to see who will be riding the momentum wave coming into the conference tournament. Prior to looking at the data, I had the feeling that Iowa was a force to be reckoned with, and that the Boilers have been decently inconsistent, though that stretch in February was very nice. Once I gathered all the details, a few more things became clear (Note: Due to Google Charts inflexibility, a “high” ranking [i.e. good] is at the bottom, while bad is at the top... Sorry.)

Huh. The Boilers were pretty consistent! And woof, Northwestern hasn’t been good in conference play. In fact, Northwestern’s February was the 6th worst of all 353 Division I basketball teams. Ouch.

Interestingly, the Big Ten has six of the twenty most inconsistent teams this season by my metrics (the full data set and article is available here). It’s largely built off the back of a very successful out of conference season for almost every Big Ten team, then beating up on one another in what ended up being a pretty competitive conference.

But taking a look at a potential opponent in the current clusterfork that is spots 8-11 in the Big Ten, there’s some clear momentum favorites that the Boilermakers would be lucky to avoid. Penn State slipping into the 10 spot would be a landmine. The Illini are also worth avoiding. IU is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the fourth most inconsistent team in Division I this year (only Seton Hall, aforementioned Penn State, and Mizzou are above the Hoosiers). Rutgers is... I mean, they’re not terrible. What a time to be alive.

I know what happened last week, but the answer to me is clear: give me the Gophers.