Monday, February 18, 2013

Big Ten Tournament Seeding Predictions

With less than two weeks until March and the concomitant madness, it's about time for my yearly attempt to predict the seeding for the Big Ten Tournament, which should feature 3 or 4 teams ranked in the Top 10 and has the potential to be the best conference tournament this year.  So far this year, there have already been six Big Ten conference games where both teams were ranked in the Top Ten:
1.  1/12 - #5 IU vs. #8 Minnesota
2.  1/17 - #9 Minnesota vs. #5 Michigan
3.  2/2 - #3 IU vs. #1 Michigan
4.  2/5 - #3 Michigan vs. #10 OSU
5.  2/10 - #10 OSU vs. #1 IU
6.  2/12 - #4 Michigan vs. #8 MSU

The next "biggest game of the year" in the Big Ten is tomorrow night, with the #1 Hoosiers traveling to East Lansing for a date with the #4 Spartans.  Of course, IU hasn't won there since the first Bush Administration, so I have some trepidation.  That said, a win would put the Hoosiers in the driver's seat for an outright Big Ten title.

I'll try to update the projections the next two Mondays, if not more often. It'll be sometimes cathartic and often sexually confusing.

Here are the current standings, with the conference record, each team's remaining games, and my predictions:

1 (tie).  Indiana (11-2):  at MSU (L), at Minn (W), Iowa (W), OSU (W), at Michigan (L)
1 (tie).  Michigan State (11-2):  IU (W), at OSU (L), at Michigan (L), Wisconsin (W), NW (W)
3.  Wisconsin (9-4):  at NW (W), Nebraska (W), Purdue (W), at MSU (L), at PSU (W)
4.  Michigan (9-4):  Illinois (W), at PSU (W), MSU (W), at Purdue (W), IU (W)
5.  Ohio State (8-5):  Minnesota (W), MSU (W), at NW (W), at IU (L), Illinois (W)
6 (tie).  Minnesota (6-7):  at OSU (L), IU (L), PSU (W), at Nebraska (W), at Purdue (W)
6 (tie).  Illinois (6-7):  PSU (W), at Michigan (L), Nebraska (W), at Iowa (W), at OSU (L)
6 (tie).  Iowa (6-7):  at Nebraska (L), Purdue (W), at IU (L), Illinois (L), Nebraska (W)
9.  Purdue (5-8):  NW (W), at Iowa (L), at Wisconsin (L), Michigan (L), Minnesota (L)
10.  Northwestern (4-9):  Wisconsin (L), at Purdue (L), OSU (L), PSU (W), at MSU (L)
11.  Nebraska (3-10):  Iowa (W), at Wisconsin (L), at Illinois (L), Minnesota (L), at Iowa (L)
12.  Penn State (0-13):  at Illinois (L), Michigan (L), at Minnesota (L), at NW (L), Wisconsin (L)

Given my predictions and Big Ten tiebreaking rules, here is how the Big Ten Tournament seeds should fall into place and how the Big Ten Tournament will play out (all times are Central):

1.  Michigan State (14-4) (MSU, IU, and Michigan will all have 1-1 records vs. each other.  MSU will have the tiebreaker over the other two based on a 2-0 vs. Wisconsin, while both IU and Michigan are both 0-1 vs. Wisconsin)
2.  Indiana (14-4) (IU will have the tiebreaker over Michigan based on a 2-0 record vs. OSU, while Michigan has a 1-1 record vs. OSU)
3.  Michigan (14-4)
4.  Wisconsin (13-5)
5.  Ohio State (12-6)
6.  Minnesota (10-8)
7.  Illinois (9-9)
8.  Iowa (8-10)
9.  Purdue (6-12)
10.  Northwestern (5-13)
11.  Nebraska (4-14)
12.  Penn State (0-18)

Thursday March 14
(8) Iowa vs. (9) Purdue (11 a.m., BTN).  Projected winner:  Iowa
(5) Ohio State vs. (12) Penn State (1:30 p.m., BTN).  Projected winner:  Ohio State
(7) Illinois vs. (10) Northwestern (5:30 p.m., ESPN2).  Projected winner:  Illinois
(6) Minnesota vs. (11) Nebraska (8 p.m., ESPN2).  Projected winner:  Minnesota

Friday March 15
(1) Michigan State vs. (8) Iowa (11 a.m., ESPN).  Projected winner:  Michigan State
(4) Wisconsin vs. (5) Ohio State (1:30 p.m., ESPN).  Projected winner:  Ohio State
(2) IU vs. (7) Illinois (5:30 p.m., BTN).  Projected winner:  IU
(3) Michigan vs. (6) Minnesota (8 p.m., BTN).  Projected winner:  Michigan

Saturday March 16
(1) Michigan State vs. (5) Ohio State (12:40 p.m., CBS).  Projected winner:  Michigan State
(2) IU vs. (3) Michigan (3 p.m., CBS).  Projected winner:  IU

Sunday March 17
(1) Michigan State vs. (2) IU (2:30 p.m., CBS).  Projected winner:  IU

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