Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Bubble Watch Updates for each conference in early March

Michigan State's Malik Hall, right, scores as Iowa's Tony Perkins defends during the first half on
Michigan State's Malik Hall, right, scores as Iowa's Tony Perkins defends during the first half on / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA
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Big Ten

Locks: Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin

Purdue is the best team in the conference and has significant wins throughout the season; there’s no question that they’ll be a 1-seed. Illinois has proven to be the second best team in the Big Ten, and could be looking at a 4-seed based on their play. We’re calling Wisconsin a lock even as the Badgers have mightily struggled down the stretch, winning just three of their last ten games.

Should Be In: Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern

Michigan State began the season ranked in the Top 5 but have mightily disappointed. Still, the Spartans have done enough to be considered safely in the Tournament field, even with recent home losses to Iowa and Ohio State. Tournament appearances are far less frequent at Nebraska and Northwestern, but both teams have resumes that support their inclusion, with both possessing wins over Purdue.

Bubble: Iowa

The Hawkeyes have truly burst back onto the scene in recent weeks. Iowa was not considered on the bubble early in February, but then beat Wisconsin, won at Michigan State, and most recently won at Northwestern. They’ll likely be sweating out Selection Sunday either way, but they’ve worked their NET up to 57 and have a major opportunity at home against Illinois this weekend.

Work to Do: Ohio State

After they hired Chris Holtmann, it looked like Ohio State was throwing the towel in on the season, but interim coach Jake Diebler has other ideas. The Buckeyes shocked Purdue in Diebler’s first game and later won at Michigan State, now winners of four of their five games. The NET is up to 59 and Ohio State really needs to win at Rutgers on Sunday before making their mark in the Big Ten Tournament.