Busting Brackets

Big Ten Tournament Seed Projections: Who’s the Top 4?


While the Big Ten might be experiencing a down year in terms of top-level programs, the conference is once again proving to be one of the deepest in the nation.

Managing the gauntlet schedule required of the nation’s most physical conference is tough enough, but this year, the stakes are even higher to perform.

For the first time, the Big Ten Tournament will feature four teams receiving a double-bye to the third round, thanks to the new additions of Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. This provides a huge advantage to teams hoping to make a final push for NCAA Tournament security.

However, with the exception of Wisconsin, no team has established itself as a lock for one of those top four seeds. After the Badgers, five teams are fighting for those final three spots: Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, and Indiana.

Illinois and Iowa aren’t really out of the running either, but they’ll need some serious help down the final stretch of the season to make the top-four cut.

Currently, Purdue and Michigan State are 10-4 in conference play, Maryland sits at 9-4, Ohio State just a game back at 8-5, and Indiana bringing up the pack at 8-6.

All these teams are in decent shape for making the big dance, but faltering at the end of the season looks really bad to the selection committee, and a strong finish will earn you an easier match up. And doing well in the Big Ten Tournament is even more important than that. But who’s going to earn those all-important top-four seeds?

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Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, and Ohio State. That’s who.

Wisconsin is the obvious one. They’re three games up on everyone else in the Big Ten, so we’ll just write their name in to the one seed.

Maryland’s only tough match-up left is at home against the Badgers – a game definitely that’s definitely winnable for the Terrapins. Maryland is almost unstoppable at home. Their only loss in College Park was to a Virginia team that is now ranked second in the AP Poll.

Purdue’s impressive win over IU in Assembly Hall was a huge step for them. As a team that struggled in the non-conference season, it’s important for them to pick up quality wins whenever they can. They now own a share of second place in the conference with just four games left. They’ve got a tough remaining schedule, but now they’ve proven they can win on the road.

Ohio State also has a favorable schedule, and as long as they can win at Michigan this weekend, they should be alright. A regular season finale with Wisconsin could push them out if they wind up tied going into the final game, though.

As far as those left out – Indiana and Michigan State – they’re far from out of the NCAA Tournament. Both have quality wins and should be fine for the postseason.

Indiana has the easiest remaining schedule in the conference and may still make a push for a top four seed. Road games at the Big Ten’s bottom feeders, Rutgers and Northwestern, should be wins and the Hoosiers have a good chance to win over Iowa and Michigan State at home as well.

Michigan State will have to travel to Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana for three of their final games and will fall to the Badgers at least. Plus, a home match up with Purdue could prove tough.

Bear in mind, it’s not guaranteed that those four teams that get those top seeds don’t get upset by the Spartans, Hoosiers, or even Iowa or Illinois. But they’ll at least have the security of a pass to the third round.

Next: Busting Bracketology: February 18th - A New 1 Seed

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