I’m going to cut to the chase. Ehhh, I hate that cliche. Let’s try this again. I’m going to get straight to the point. Whatever, okay, fine. The Big Ten was bad this year.
You can make various arguments either way on the issue, but realistically there is nothing you can say other than the fact that the Big Ten was bad this year. With that said, that doesn’t mean the Big Ten wasn’t fun.
The Big Ten was filled with chaos. There was this never ending sense of the unknown which filled each Big Ten game. Anything could happen on any given night, and that was fun.
I know all of this about the Big Ten, because I watched a majority of the games played. You know who probably didn’t? The NCAA Selection Committee. Seven Big Ten teams made the NCAA Tournament, which is fair. None of those seven teams finished in the top-15, which is also fair.
The location of these teams in comparison to each other is the problem.
Here’s how things played out for the Big Ten in the NCAA Tournament selection process:
Purdue (4 seed in the Midwest Region, 16th Overall)
This makes sense. Purdue won the conference, ergo it should be the top team from the conference. End of story. The selection committee is one for one. Nice!
Minnesota (5 seed in the South Region, 18th Overall)
Minnesota finished fourth in the Big Ten. Minnesota lost its second game of the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan, a team nine overall seeds lower.
Minnesota also lost to Wisconsin twice, the 29th overall team in the tournament, and once by 18 points.
The Gophers then also lost to Michigan State twice and split their series with Maryland.
Minnesota has made incredible progress this season. Whoopty doo! Minnesota also shouldn’t be considered the second best team in the Big Ten. Not by a long shot.
The real reason we see Minnesota in this position is because of their ability to schedule slightly above average teams. Beating Texas-Arlington at home back in November, helped Minnesota secure the sixth best Non-Conference RPI.
I’m serious when I say that Texas-Arlington is the reason Minnesota is considered the second best team in the Big Ten.
Maryland (6 seed in the West Region , 23rd Overall)
Maryland finished second in the Big Ten, and they should be a six seed. Maryland is a good basketball team. Not great, but good. The team had a good season this year, but losses against Penn State and Nebraska held them back.
Michigan (7 seed in the Midwest Region, 27th Overall)
Michigan enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country. With the way in which Michigan has figured out how to utilize their lineup as of late, it’s hard to argue against its seeding.
With that said, Michigan’s three wins on the road make one question how the Wolverines are ahead of teams such as Wisconsin.
Wisconsin (8 seed in the East Region, 29th Overall)
Wisconsin won 25 games this year.
The Badgers only had eight losses.
Wisconsin beat Minnesota twice, Maryland once, and Northwestern by 28 points in the Big Ten Tournament.
Wisconsin’s only real bad losses were against Ohio State and Michigan State. Both of those games were on the road.
Wisconsin was a game away from winning the Big Ten Tournament.
Tying for second place in the Big Ten apparently warrants being the fourth best team from the conference in the NCAA Tournament. Sure, that completly makes sense in this dream world that the NCAA has created.
Northwestern (8 seed in the West Region, 32nd Overall)
Northwestern made the tournament for the first time this year.
Northwestern also lost by 28 points to a team in the Big Ten on the same exact same seed line.
Michigan State (9 seed in the Midwest Region, 35th Overall)
Michigan State should barely be in the tournament, let alone be a nine seed.
Michigan State’s best win all season was against the 18th best team in RPI. The Spartans next best win was the 27th best team.
Michigan State is also 43rd in KenPom, which is one ranking behind Indiana.
Michigan State has 6 less wins than Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is an eight seed.
The Spartans also lost to five teams that didn’t make the tournament, and they finished the year with only two road wins.
That’s all you need to know. Michigan State should not be one seed line behind Wisconsin.
Indiana (Not in the Tournament)
Hey, look! The selection committee did something right!
Overall, I would say the selection committee properly seeded half of the Big Ten. The selection committee shouldn’t be shooting 50% from the field. Simple as that.