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Big Ten Tournament seeding scenarios: Here's what every team needs in the last week of the regular season

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Indiana could clinch the top seed with a win -- or fall to 5th. Iowa could fall to 8th. Rutgers will still probably be last.

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

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
If you'd like to bet a parlay, that wouldn't be a terrible one to take. That said, KenPom still puts Indiana's chances at 69% (nice) to beat Maryland at home, which would make this conversation moot.

KenPom also likes the chances of Michigan State (strongly) and Iowa (much less so) to win their final two Big Ten games. That would put both in a tie one game behind Indiana at 13-5. Iowa would get the 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament, due to their season sweep over the Spartans. Michigan State would take the 3 seed, of course.

That would leave three teams up for the four seed in Indianapolis: Purdue, Wisconsin, and Maryland. That said, there's a catch -- Wisconsin and Purdue play the final game of the conference season at 6:30 on Sunday, March 6. If Purdue holds serve in Mackey and Indiana knocks off Maryland in Assembly Hall as KenPom projects, it would create a likely a three way tie at 12-6. This would be settled by head to head record by the three teams, which would give the nod to Purdue (3-1 in four games against Maryland and Purdue.) Maryland would then take the 5 seed (2-2) and Wisconsin the 6 (1-3) seed.

Of course, there's still a ton to be settled here. Iowa's lost four of five -- and favored marginally to beat both Indiana and Michigan. Maryland could beat Indiana. Wisconsin could beat Purdue. But my mind hurts even thinking about all those permutations, so we'll just follow KenPom's projections for now and deal with the chaos as it comes.

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.

Moving on.

First shift

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.