The regular season has certainly been exciting in the best conference in the nation, but the Big Ten tournament will go a long way toward deciding seeding in the NCAA tournament.
Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State will almost certainly be dancing on Selection Sunday. In addition, Illinois and Minnesota probably have enough quality wins at this point to get bids as well.
Still, seeding will play an important role in the tournament. Tough matchups could lead to early exits for some of these inconsistent teams.
Despite the recent loss to Minnesota, Indianan should still be in line for a No. 1 seed. However, these others teams need to do well in the conference tournament to help their profile.
Although Michigan still has a chance of winning the conference regular-season title, it is a tough road with Michigan State and Indiana still on the schedule.
However, the team has enough talent to earn a coveted No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Unfortunately, even winning those two big games will not prove the major issue holding back the squad: no elite wins away from home.
While the Wolverines have defeated Minnesota and Illinois on the road, they lost against all four of the top teams in the conference. Obviously, none of these are easy games, but a No. 1 seed should be able to earn one of those victories.
In the Big Ten tournament, Michigan can add to their already impressive resume with wins over top teams on a neutral court.
Even if the team does not win the title, defeating a top opponent away from home should silence doubts heading into the Big Dance.
Defeating Indiana will help the Golden Gophers get into the tournament, but the overall slide down the stretch has to be concerning.
After starting the season 15-1, Minnesota has lost eight of the last 12 games. The team has shown up for big home games against Indiana and Wisconsin, but it also showed that it can be incredibly inconsistent in losses to Iowa and Northwestern.
In the first round of the Big Ten tournament, Minnesota is likely to face one of these bottom feeders again in what will become a must-win game. If the Gophers lose in the first round, it will once again prove that this team should either not be in the NCAA tournament or get a very low seed.
You do not get many breaks in the Big Ten schedule, Minnesota has to start taking advantage of the easier games.
Of the top teams in the Big Ten, Wisconsin will have the hardest time getting a protected top-four seed.
The RPI of 25 is good, but it is not as high as Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State or Michigan State. Additionally, none of the teams in this group have a single loss to a team outside of the top 50 in RPI.
Wisconsin lost to both Virginia and Iowa, while the Creighton loss continues to look worse.
While the Badgers have as many impressive wins as almost any team in the country, they are relatively low on the Big Ten pecking order when it comes to seeding. The only way to help this will be in the conference tournament.
A solid run to the finals could shoot this team up to around a No. 3 seed, while an early loss will keep them on the five or six line. This is a big difference, which makes the next few weeks pretty important for the Badgers.
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