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March Madness Predictions: Which Big Ten Teams Will Dance on Selection Sunday?

Kevin LindseyAnalyst IMarch 12, 2011

March Madness Predictions: Which Big Ten Teams Will Dance on Selection Sunday?

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    Ohio State's Thad Matta has plenty of reasons to smileAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    As the Big Ten men's basketball tournament concludes tomorrow, the difficult task of the NCAA tournament selection committee begins in earnest.

    Which Big Ten teams should get invited to the Big Dance? 

    Sure, we know that Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin are going to the NCAA tournament, but how many more Big Ten teams will get an invitation?

    Will the Big Ten get seven teams into the NCAA tournament?

    As for those teams invited, which seeds should those teams receive when the tournament brackets are announced?

    Hopefully, my NCAA tournament predictions for the Big Ten will be better than my Big Ten tournament predictions.

Ohio State

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    Sullinger and Thomas don't look or play like freshmenAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 31-2*

    Big Ten Conference Record: 16-2

    *Ohio State plays Penn State tomorrow for the Big Ten tournament championship.

     

    Good Wins: 93-65 vs. No. 10 Wisconsin, 87-64 vs. No. 12 Purdue and 89-70 vs. Illinois

     

    Bad Losses: 76-63 at No. 11 Purdue, 71-67 at No. 14 Wisconsin

    The Buckeyes came into the Big Ten tournament ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation, and now that they have made it to the Big Ten tournament championship game, there is no reason to believe they will receive anything but a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.  

     

    Projected Bid: If Ohio State wins, they will be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. If Ohio State loses, they will still be No. 1 seed, but they will likely be playing a little further away from home.

Penn State

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    Talor Battle has had an incredible career at Penn StateAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 19-13*

    Big Ten Conference Record: 9-9

    *Penn State plays Ohio State for the Big Ten tournament championship.

     

    Good Wins: 66-62 vs. Michigan State, 57-55 vs. Illinois, 56-52 vs. No. 15 Wisconsin, 36-33 vs. No. 13 Wisconsin (neutral site), 61-48 vs. Michigan State (neutral site)

     

    Bad Losses: 62-39 vs. Maryland, 74-64 vs. Maine

    Last year, Minnesota was the team that surprised everyone by making it to the Big Ten tournament championship game on their way to earning an NCAA tournament bid.

    This year, the Nittany Lions appear to be taking a page from Minnesota’s book from last year in being the surprise team to make it to the Big Ten championship game.

    Penn State knew coming in that it needed to win at least two games, and now that the Nittany Lions have won three games, they should receive an NCAA tournament bid.

    All college basketball fans have to be happy for seniors Talor Battle, all-time Penn State scoring leader, and Jeff Brooks finally getting an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. 

     

    Projected Bid: The Nittany Lions will receive a tournament seed somewhere between No. 9 and No. 11.

Michigan

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    Darius Morris is an emerging starAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 20-13

    Big Ten Conference Record: 9-9

     

    Good Wins: 69-51 vs. Oakland, 61-57 at Michigan State, 70-63 vs. Michigan State, 60-55 vs. Illinois (neutral site)

     

    Bad Losses: 80-61 at Indiana and 74-60 at Northwestern

    Michigan had a horrendous January, losing six straight games between Jan. 5 and 22.  The Wolverines could have crumbled with their 11-9 record, but instead, the young squad matured and played well the rest of the season.

    The conventional wisdom is that Michigan punched its ticket to the Big Dance with its victory over Illinois because it ensured a 20-win season and at least a .500 record in a “power” conference that was home to three top 20 teams.

    The Wolverines won seven out of their last 10 games of the season.  The three losses at the end of the season were to quality opponents Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

    In addition, Michigan has a couple of losses on its resume that should not hurt them—a three-point loss to Syracuse and an overtime loss to Kansas.

    The only knock on Michigan is that they have no real marquee win over a highly ranked opponent.

     

    Projected Bid: Michigan makes the tournament field anywhere from between a No. 8 to No. 11 seed.

Michigan State

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    Kalin Lucas hears the NCAA selection committee callingChris Chambers/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 19-14

    Big Ten Conference Record: 9-9

     

    Good Wins: 76-71 vs. No. 11 Washington, 71-62 vs. No. 13 Minnesota, 64-61 vs. No. 21 Wisconsin and 74-56 vs. No. Purdue (neutral site)

     

    Bad Losses: 72-52 at Iowa

    Michigan State began the season as the No. 2 team in the nation, and until the final week of the season, it was unclear whether the Spartans would even be in the conversation as a team worthy of being invited to the NCAA tournament.

    Why shouldn’t the Spartans receive a bid?  The Spartans lost 14 games on the season and are only 6-4 in their last 10 games.

    Why should the Spartans receive a bid?  Michigan State is playing better as a team during the second half of the season; two of the Michigan State’s four losses were to Ohio State and Purdue.

    Furthermore, Michigan State lost to quality opponents and four “good” losses to Connecticut, Syracuse, Duke and Texas that shouldn’t tarnish the resume of Michigan State.

    In the end, Michigan State has done just enough to make the tournament.

     

    Projected Bid: The Spartans make the tournament somewhere between a No. 10 and No. 12 seed.

Purdue

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    JaJuan Johnson and Purdue needs to step up their gameAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 25-7

    Big Ten Conference Record: 14-4

     

    Good Wins: 82-67 vs. Oakland, 58-55 vs. Virginia Tech (overtime), 86-76 vs. No. 18 Michigan State, 73-61 vs. No. 18 Minnesota, 76-63 vs. No. 3 Ohio State and 70-62 vs. No. 10 Wisconsin.

     

    Bad Losses: 67-65 at Iowa and 74-56 vs. Michigan State (neutral site)

    The seed that Purdue receives from the NCAA selection committee might be a referendum on the Big Ten.

    The overall 25-7 record of the Boilermakers justifies a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament especially given the 13-point victory Purdue earned over likely tournament No. 1 overall seed Ohio State.

    However, it is hard to imagine that among the 10 or 12 teams that are vying for a No. 2 or No. 4 seed in competition with Purdue that any of those teams lost to an 11-20 team such as Iowa.

    If the NCAA selection committee views the Big Ten as a premier conference on par with the Big East, Purdue will receive a No. 2 seed.

    If the NCAA selection committee views the Big Ten merely as Ohio State’s playground, Purdue will likely receive a No. 4 seed.

     

    Projected Bid: The NCAA selection committee respects the Big Ten, but is concerned about the loss to Iowa and drops Purdue to a No. 3 seed.

Wisconsin

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    Wisconsin needs to find its shooting touch soonChris Chambers/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 23-8

    Big Ten Conference Record: 13-5

     

    Good Wins: 76-66 vs. No. 16 Illinois, 66-59 vs. No. 10 Purdue, 71-67 vs. No. 1 Ohio State

     

    Bad Losses: 56-52 vs. Penn State, 36-33 vs. Penn State (neutral site)

    Ten days ago, Wisconsin was in a good position to secure a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament with a good game against No. 1 Ohio State and a decent performance in the Big Ten tournament.

    The Badgers however got blown out by the Buckeyes 93-65 and then laid an egg against Penn State in losing 36-33 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

    Wisconsin has to hope the selection committee doesn’t punish them for their last two games, as they played well throughout the season and have two legitimate stars in Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer.

    Besides Ohio State and Penn State, Wisconsin’s losses on the season were all at the hands of NCAA tournament quality teams—Illinois, Michigan State, UNLV, Notre Dame and Purdue.

     

    Projected Bid: The Badgers' last two games likely left a bad taste in the collective mouth of the selection committee, and Wisconsin falls to a No. 4 or No. 5 seed, but they deserve a No. 3 seed.

Illinois

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    Demetri McCamey and the Illini have that bad feeling once againAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Regular-Season Record: 19-13

    Big Ten Conference Record: 9-9

     

    Good Wins: 79-67 vs. North Carolina, 73-61 vs. No. 24 Gonzaga, 74-63 vs. Oakland, 69-61 vs. No. 24 Wisconsin and 71-62 vs. No. 18 Michigan State

     

    Bad Losses: 57-54 vs. UIC and 52-49 at Indiana

    If the Illini had won their opening-round game in the Big Ten tournament, they likely would have made the NCAA tournament as they were ranked among the top 25 teams in the country for a good portion of the season.

    Unfortunately for Illini fans, the loss to Michigan underscores how poorly they finished the season as they won only four of their last 10 games.

    Another sore spot on the Illini resume is the loss to University of Illinois at Chicago Circle as UIC finished the season with a paltry 7-24 record.

    Not all of the Illini losses are bad; the Illini have two acceptable losses on their schedule as they lost to No. 10 Missouri and lost in overtime to No. 22 Texas.

    The bottom line for Illini fans is whether the NCAA tournament selection committee believes that the Big Ten is worthy of seven teams making the tournament.  If yes, Illinois is in tournament.  If the answer is no, hello NIT.

     

    Projected Bid: Illinois limps into the tournament with a seed between No. 9 and No. 12; seeing the Illini earn their way into the field of 64 teams would not surprise me.

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