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Your succinct Big Ten tournament preview is here

Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:30 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 2:37 pm
The Big Ten tournament in 2011 is going to be an exercise in urgency. Three teams (Michigan State, Michigan and Illinois) will most definitely be presented with win-or-worry circumstances.

Others, like Purdue and Wisconsin, won't be under the gun as much, but two and three seeds are out there for the taking. Wisconsin winning the Big Ten would certain garner them a three. Purdue doing it could warrant a two. We'll see.

But let's have some more fun by talking about the worry worms. Illinois going to make the tournament, to be sure, but if it were to lose its first game — Friday, in the 4/5 tilt against Michigan — then there's a decent chance the Illini will be sent to Dayton for the First Four. Interesting situation that team's presented with, as it's underachieved all year, but definitely has the resume to keep it safe, despite what would be a bad, opening-round loss.

Michigan, on the other hand, probably needs to win that game to get a bid. The Wolverines have been absolutely ignited by Tim Hardaway, Jr.'s play as of late. You always hear about how a certain sport is better when a certain team is good. Michigan in the NCAAs is a good thing. It's been seldom in the past 15 years, you know? Would love to see maize and blue back in The Dance, especially with ESPN airing that anniversary piece on the Fab Five this Sunday.

Anyway, UM has gotta win to get in, and I think one W is all that's required, believe it or not. Didn't think that would be the case even a week ago. As for Michigan State, well, let's get to the game capsules. These babies tip tomorrow, starting at 2:30 ET.

Northwestern (8) vs. Minnesota (9). Does Northwestern deliver one last heel to the jaw of the Golden Gophers' season? This is the feel-bad-for-you game. Both teams were believed to be at-large worthy back in November and December. But now: shadows of former selves. The loser just drapes the sheet over another lost season. The winner gets sacrificed to Ohio State.

Michigan State (7) vs. Iowa (10). The Spartans are absolutely, 100 percent not going to The Dance if they lose this game. Kalin Lucas (right) can elevate his status in terms of all-time Spartans if he somehow gets MSU to a Big Ten title game. The NCAA tournament is a different beast altogether. With a win here (and, really, again, MSU needs to get its March mojo going and win this game by 15) would put Sparty against Purdue Friday.

Penn State (6). vs. Indiana (11). You know it's a backward year in the Big Ten if Penn State is the sixth seed. Not much to glean from this, I guess. The Nittany Lions are of the bubble picture, but would get on if they won this game, upset Wisconsin, then won again to make the finals. Unlikely. But good on them to navigate near the top half of the conference. Expect Penn State's Talor Battle to put on a show. He could be the one that steals it in Indianapolis this week.

Posted by Matt Norlander

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 8:38 am

Your succinct Big Ten tournament preview is here

Illinois is playing better over thier last 4 games.  They beat Purdue if McCamey stays in the game, other than that Illinois has potential to mess up brackets, as does Michigan St. They won't go far, lack of physical play down low and the inability to adjust during the late stages of the game does them in agianst the better teams.

I don't care what Michigan States record is, who in thier right mind would want to see Michigan State as a 12 or 11 seed?  They may need to knock off Purdue if things get crazy across the country in the coming days.

I do think Michigan has played very well down the stretch, but thier game agianst Illinois tommorrow will tell us if they can make a dent beyond the 1st round in the NCAA tournament.  Michigan is already in, they are not a bubble team.  Yes, they are 0-7 agianst RPI top 25, but their RPI top 26-75 record is 8-3!  Michigan will be in safely. 

Purdue will lose the first team with a inside presence, Juan Johnson wants nothing to do with physical play.   I can see them bowing out before the sweet 16, but my money says Michigan St takes in the Big Ten tourny as well.  Purdue has played above their level of potential all season.  They are well coached, but agian first team with an inside presence will show the Boilers weakness.

Ohio State is just NASTY, 5 potential draft picks and now Aaron Craft and Thomas are showing promise for the future.  They have played lathargic at times this season, but seemed to hit thier top gear in recent weeks.  Beating Wisconsin by 30!  Give them the trophey already...

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