It might have seemed that the Big Ten title picture might have gotten clearer over the weekend, but maybe not. Conference champion Indiana could still end up seeded 5th in Indianapolis. Iowa could end up 8th. Let's take a look at the most likely scenarios and other possibilities, using KenPom's win percentages for remaining games.
The double byes
Most likely scenario, per KenPom: 1. Indiana. 2. Iowa. 3. Michigan State. 4. Purdue
Let's take care of the simple scenarios first. Indiana has two cracks at the outright title and top overall seed in the next two games at Iowa and in Assembly Hall against Maryland. Of course, neither of those will be easy contests and it's more than conceivable that Indiana could lose both. And if this chaos scenario detailed below plays out around those losses, the Hoosiers could still end up playing on Thursday. Hat tip to Josh Margolis & Sam Beshuizen on the permutations, here:
- Indiana loses to Iowa and Maryland
- Maryland beats Illinois
- Iowa beats Michigan
- Michigan State beats Ohio State and Rutgers
- Wisconsin beats Minnesota & on road at Purdue
The single byes
Most likely scenario, per KenPom: 5. Maryland, 6. Wisconsin, 7. Ohio State, 8. Michigan, 9. Penn State, 10. Northwestern
Having explained the first two single byes in the last section, the next two spots are fairly simple. By way of their win over Michigan earlier in the year, the Buckeyes will keep the 7 seed and Michigan the 8 UNLESS Iowa loses to both Indiana and Michigan. In that situation, the Buckeyes would jump to the 6 seed and Wolverines and the 7 seed. And, yeah, if you're following that right -- Iowa could still fall all the way to the 8 seed. UNLESS, Purdue also loses to Wisconsin, which would leave Ohio State with the 5 seed, Michigan at the 6, Iowa with the 7, and Purdue the 8.
Okay, maybe it's not all that simple.
Northwestern still has matchups against Penn State and Nebraska, but Nebraska also has Purdue left and Penn State gets Illinois at home. KenPom likes the Nits in both games remaining, Northwestern to win one, and Nebraska to come up empty. That's the best way to solve the current deadlock at 6-10 -- and you best be dang sure I'm not going through hypothetical tiebreaking scenarios for teams that still have to play each other and aren't going to the NCAA tournament for the dang 9 and 10 seeds.
Most likely scenario: 11. Nebraska, 12. Illinois, 13. Minnesota, 14. Rutgers
Outside of the 11 seed and a chance that Illinois could make things weird with a win over Penn State on the road, this is pretty much set. Rutgers could still jump out of last place with wins over Minnesota and Michigan St--hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhaahhahahhahahhahhhahahaha. Yeah, no.
The Big Ten Tournament kicks off next Wednesday in Indianapolis and runs through Selection Sunday, March 13.