Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: 2024 conference tournament preview and predictions

Purdue v Michigan
Purdue v Michigan / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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Wednesday marked the beginning of the Big Ten tournament, the fifth iteration since the conference expanded to 14 teams. The conference of parity has continued the trend throughout its expansion except for one team, Purdue, who has remained at or near the top of the league every time the conference’s bracket has been finalized. Purdue is the one seed for the second straight season as the Boilermakers look to make a claim for the top overall seed of the national tournament.

Illinois, Nebraska and Northwestern join Purdue in sitting pretty on double-byes, waiting pretty for their opponents on Friday. Illinois has been the consistent challenger for the Boilermakers all season, finishing three games behind Painter and Purdue and losing by a couple of possessions each matchup during the regular season. The Illini are a top 10 team in KenPom, playing their best basketball since Terrence Shannon’s return from suspension.

As many as 7 teams have realistic hopes to hear their names called on Selection Sunday, with early Big Ten tournament rounds likely to tip the scales for or against three possible bubble teams. It’s a bit of a surprise scenario for several, as Michigan State went from preseason darling with a loaded backcourt and upperclassmen experience to being in a virtual must-win scenario

Here is some further insight on players to watch and storylines for teams headed into Detroit this week.