This weekend will be a busy one in the conference, with all 14 teams playing. Remarkably, the conference somehow set up seven games for the final weekend that, for the most part, look like compelling matchups. Here's your full schedule:
Ohio State at Michigan State, 12:00, ESPN
No B1G team with 11 wins has ever been left out of the NCAA Tournament, but if the Buckeyes can't pull off the upset in Breslin today, they might be the first.
Minnesota at Rutger: 1:00, BTN
The horror... The horror...
Iowa at Michigan, 8:00, BTN
Iowa's lost 5 of its last 6! Michigan's lost 3 of its last 4! Time to find out who will stop the bleeding in a prime-time matchup from Crisler Arena.
Illinois at Penn State, 12:00, BTN
The Nittany Lions have been pretty good at home this season (we know this firsthand), and they get a favorable matchup to end their regular season with Illinois. A win would allow Penn State to avoid the dreaded Wednesday B1G tourney session, whereas the Illini are locked into a first-round matchup, win or lose.
Nebraska at Northwestern, 2:00, BTN
If the Huskers win, they hold some leverage in terms of seeding over the Wildcats, because they hold a tiebreaker over Northwestern thanks to their victory over Michigan State. A Northwestern win would be their 20th on the season, which is no small feat for a team that's never made the NCAA Tournament.
Maryland at Indiana, 4:30, CBS
If the Hoosiers win this one, they finish the regular season undefeated at Assembly Hall, along with the women's team, which has already done so this year. To get ready for this one, read our full game preview here, as well as our tribute to the best moment of each IU senior's career.
Wisconsin at Purdue, 7:30, BTN
Purdue won the first game between these teams this season at Kohl Center, back before Wisconsin became the wrecking ball that they've been during the second half of Big Ten play. Of course, don't mention this to any Purdue fans, who are still upset they had to play Iowa twice at the beginning of the conference season, whereas IU got the Hawkeyes closer to the end. Wisconsin has been road warriors recently, winning at both Maryland and Iowa, but AJ Hammons's last home game should lead to a great crowd at Mackey, and the Boilers will give Greg Gard's Badgers all they can handle in this one.
So, when the dust is settled from the seven games of the weekend, what does this mean for Indiana's Big Ten Tournament status?
Indiana can clinch a 1-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- Nothing. It doesn't matter. The Hoosiers clinched an outright title on Tuesday with the win at Iowa, so Indiana can win by 50 or lose by 50 tomorrow (hopefully the former) and it won't affect their seeding or their banners or their net cutting skills.
Indiana will lose their 1-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- You write enough letters to Jim Delany complaining that IU isn't a "true champion" because of the unbalanced conference schedules, and send enough tweets to argue your point. Yeah, that'll show 'em!
Okay great, Indiana's locked into the 1-seed! They'll play their first B1G tourney game on Friday at noon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy. However, there are several different scenarios for what the other seeds in the conference will be. In fact, there's a possibility Purdue could end up anywhere between a 2-seed and an 8-seed. Even Michigan State could conceivably end up as a 7-seed, if they lose this afternoon and nothing else breaks their way; however, the most likely scenario for the Spartans is the 2-seed.
So, As you eat your potatoes and watch hoops on Friday, who will the Hoosiers be playing? Naturally, it will be the winner of the 8/9 matchup from the day before. However, there are several possibilities for who these teams might be.
Michigan will receive the 8-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- They lose to Iowa
- They defeat Iowa, but MSU defeats OSU (since the Buckeyes defeated Michigan in the regular season) or miss out on one of many other tiebreakers
Iowa will receive the 8-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- They lose at Michigan
- Maryland defeats Indiana
- OSU defeats MSU
- Purdue defeats Wisconsin
Purdue will receive the 8-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- They lose to Wisconsin
- OSU defeats MSU
- Michigan defeats Iowa
Right now, it's good odds that the Wolverines will get an 8-seed, and a Sparty victory at noon would essentially lock them into that position.
As for the 9 seed, there's a clear dividing line between the top 8 and the bottom 6 in the conference this year. Minnesota is locked into the 13-seed and Rutger is the 14-seed regardless of what happens this weekend. However, the complicated Big Ten tiebreaking scenarios mean that the 9 through 12 positions likely will be determined through the order of how the top 8 teams in the conference finish. But Northwestern can make all these scenarios moot if they just win on their home court Sunday.
Northwestern will receive the 9-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- They defeat Nebraska. OR:
- They lose to Nebraska, but Illinois and Wisconsin also win, giving the Wildcats the tiebreaker over the Huskers based on overall record.
My head is spinning already. It gets even more fun!
Nebraska will receive the 9-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- They defeat Northwestern
- Illinois defeats Penn State
- Purdue defeats Wisconsin
- MSU defeats OSU, giving the Huskers the nod over Northwestern based on their win over Sparty.
Thought IU was done with Penn State for the year? Bad news - it's still possible.
Penn State will receive the 9-seed in the Big Ten Tournament if:
- They defeat Illinois
- Nebraska defeats Northwestern
- This leads to a three-way tie with seven conference victories, in which case the Nittany Lions get the 9-seed because they beat Indiana. LOL.
If you want to play around with tourney scenarios, check out this website, which lets you choose which team will win each game this weekend. The best part? No matter what you do, the Hoosiers will still be in the pole position.