ESPN's Joe Lunardi's Bracketology for this week is out. Six Big Ten teams still remain in the field, all of them have a six seed or higher. Overall, that is great for the conference, the higher the seeds, the better chance you have of going deep into the tournament. The Big Ten would love a representative in Houston, TX.
Teams projected to be in the tournament:
Ohio State: Projected 1 Seed: Ohio State is ranked the unanimous number one team in the nation. They are still undefeated and still alone in first place in the conference standings. They are almost a lock for a number one seed, with a 75% chance of getting a number one seed. They have a big game tomorrow when they host #12 Purdue. That is a very important game for the conference, as it would even out first place, and tie Purdue and Ohio State at the top, while bringing the rest of the conference a game closer to first place.
(More teams after the jump)
Purdue: Projected 3 Seed: Purdue just knocked off Michigan State at home by 10 points. The Boilers remain at a three seed from last week. Purdue is facing the toughest part of their schedule, playing seven ranked teams and a game at West Virginia in the span of nine games. They now play #1 Ohio State on the road before traveling back to West Lafayette to play #18 Minnesota. This is where I believe Purdue will end up at a three seed. I think they should be able to protect their home court this year, and snag some other nice road wins. A three seed sounds about right to me for the Boilermakers.
Illinois: Projected 5 Seed: Illinois had an eight point lead on the #1 team in the nation on Saturday before giving up a huge run and losing. Illinois needs some more signature wins to improve their seeding. Illinois didn't lose a spot with their loss this week, they face Indiana next. On February 1st, a pesky Penn State team comes into Champaign. The Illini can never seem to beat Penn State with the team they have now. They dropped both meetings last year, and are already 0-1 against them this year. They need a big redemption win, if they drop another to Penn State, their seeding is in jeopardy.
Wisconsin: Projected 5 Seed: Wisconsin remains at a five seed this week. Wisconsin took care of business with a beat down of Northwestern on the road. Next they face a Penn State team looking for another upset. It makes it more difficult for the Badgers because they have to play on the road. The Badgers must beat the Nittany Lions to remain on pace with their seeding. On February 1st, they welcome the Boilermakers to their house. That is another key game for their seeding opportunities. If they win that game, they could potentially shoot up a couple seeds.
Michigan State: Projected 6 Seed: Michigan State continues to disappoint. They have so much talent but they are underachieving. They are lucky they are a projected six seed right now with seven losses. We are all used to this by now, a Michigan State team who struggles with tough schedule and then runs off to the Final Four. I don't know if thats the case this year. They are already at three Big Ten losses, and haven't found stride yet, it could prove to be costly to their seeding. I keep saying it's not time for Michigan State to hit the panic button yet, but it is getting awful close. They need to show us something soon.
Minnesota: Projected 6 Seed: Minnesota, to me, has yet to prove they can be an elite team. They need to get some more top 25 wins, something that is manageable in the Big Ten. If or when they do, they could improve their seeding drastically. The big key for Minnesota is keep winning, you have a three game win streak, push that win streak to be a long one, and prove what you are capable of. They have a game against Northwestern at home and Purdue on the road this week. Both games are important for them.
Teams on the bubble:
Last Four In:
First Four Out:
Next Four Out: Penn State- Penn State enters the bubble. They have an important home game against Wisconsin this week. They need a win in that game to keep their chances alive. They must get a win at home against Wisconsin. It is a MUST. The pressure is on, if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament. If they do get in, It will be a low seed, but at least your in.