The NCAA Men’s basketball Big Ten Tournament kicked off yesterday in Madison Square Garden with the bracket’s first two contests. In opening round action Illinois had there season ended by Iowa with a 96-87 final and Rutgers took down Minnesota 65-54. With day one of the Tournament behind us and day two about to begin we wanted to quickly break down the round 2 matchups, give our projections for who makes the tournament final and take a stab at who we think wins it all. Enjoy.
No. 9 Wisconsin vs No. 8 Maryland. This is an interesting matchup of two historically stellar programs who are experiencing down years. Maryland beat Wisconsin 68-63 earlier in the year. They both come in 3-2 in there last 5 games. Maryland is a 2.5 point favorite and rightly so as they are a superior team, especially when it comes to rebounding the basketball. Either way, the winner plays Sparty so this one doesn’t have big-time meaning.
No. 5 Michigan vs No.12 Iowa. Matchup of a nice Iowa offense vs a great Michigan defense. Michigan is the better two way team and they closed out there season with a 74-59 win over Iowa. Sorry Hawkeyes.
No. 7 Penn State vs No. 10 Northwestern. Penn State SHOULD win this one. They have the best player in this game, Tony Carr, on their side but their top rebounder and post protector Mike Watkins is out for the rest of the year. They still get the win but I think it’s closer than expected.
No. 14 Rutgers vs No. 6 Indiana. The Rutgers football team hasn’t scored a touchdown vs Penn State since September 13th, 2014. That is all I have to say about this game.
I’m going to be brief with my breakdowns because these matchups are all speculative, but for fun, I’m still going to make predictions on who advances.
No. 8 Maryland vs No. 1 Michigan State. In years past this would have been a good game but Maryland just doesn’t have it this year.
No. 5 Michigan vs No. 4 Nebraska. Michigan is hot and on a separate level than Nebraska.
No. 7 Penn State vs No.2 Ohio State. Penn State is 2-0 vs the Buckeyes this season but without Mike Watkins, it doesn’t look good.
No. 6 Indiana vs. No. 3 Purdue. I thought long and hard about taking Indiana here but Purdue is just too solid all-around.
No. 5 Michigan vs No. 1 Michigan State. I couldn’t go through this whole bracket without taking at least one upset. This game seems like the most logical choice.
No. 3 Purdue vs No. 2 Ohio State. Purdue started the season hot but had their flaws surface as the season went on. Ohio State beat them by one in the regular season.
Although they faltered a couple times down the stretch against Penn State and Michigan, I still believe the Buckeyes have the best team in the Big Ten. That being said Michigan has proven they can hang with anyone in the conference. This would be a fun one, to say the least.
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