Finally, we should get a normal Big Ten Tournament here in Indy. We all know what happened two years ago, and last year was a strange fan-limited event played in a football stadium. This year is more normal, with it returning to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indy. I will personally be there credentialed, and Purdue is 3-0 with me in the building this year, so there is nothing to fear.
With the conclusion of a wild day of basketball the field is now set. We knew going in to yesterday that Purdue had once again clinched a double bye. It has had a double bye in every completed Big Ten Tournament since it expanded to 14 teams. Here is the schedule:
First round (Wednesday)
Game 1: No. 12 Northwestern (14-15, 7-13) vs. No. 13 Nebraska (10-21, 4-16) , 6 p.m., Big Ten Network
Game 2: No. 11 Penn State (12-16, 7-13) vs. No. 14 Minnesota (13-16, 4-16), 8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Not a lot to get excited about with the opening games. These teams are not going to the NCAAs and would need an extended run just to get to the NIT. Nebraska is interesting as they are one of the hottest teams in the conference and could wreck some stuff on day 2.
Second round (Thursday)
Game 3: No. 8 Michigan (17-13, 11-9) vs. No. 9 Indiana (18-12, 9-11), 11:30 a.m., Big Ten Network
Game 4: No. 5 Iowa (22-9, 12-8) vs. Game 1 winner, 2 p.m., Big Ten Network
Game 5: No. 7 Michigan State (20-11, 11-9) vs. No. 10 Maryland (15-16, 7-13), 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Game 6: No. 6 Ohio State (19-10, 12-8) vs. Game 2 winner, 9 p.m., Big Ten Network
Game 1 on Thursday should be excellent, as it is basically a loser leaves town game for the NCAAs. Michigan is probably in as of right now, but is close to the line. Indiana is right at the line, as in many brackets they are a first team out or last team in. Iowa was red hot before losing to Illinois tonight, but should roll in its game. Michigan State and Maryland is an immediate rematch of today’s game, while Ohio State will play in an attempt to get a rematch with Purdue.
Game 7: No. 1 Illinois (22-8, 15-5) vs. Game 3 winner, 11:30 a.m., Big Ten Network
Game 8: No. 4 Rutgers (18-12, 12-8) vs. Game 4 winner, 2 p.m., Big Ten Network
Game 9: No. 2 Wisconsin (24-6, 15-5) vs. Game 5 winner, 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Game 10: No. 3 Purdue (25-6, 14-6) vs. Game 6 winner, 9 p.m., Big Ten Network
Illinois fell into the No. 1 seed thanks to Nebraska’s shock win today. Rutgers gets a boost all the way to a 4 seed, but it would be a good idea for them to beat Iowa in order to shore up their NCAA resume. What is the status of Johnny Davis for Wisconsin? Regardless, there are major concerns if they couldn’t take out Nebraska even without him. As for Purdue, we’re the last team to play our first game and it really looks like another game with Ohio State. It would be the third straight year we have been scheduled to open with Ohio State, and the last three games in the series have either been Jaden Ivey buzzer beaters or an overtime Buckeye win. A Purdue win evens the overall series with them.
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 1 p.m., CBS
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Game 13: Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m., CBS