Predictions of how the Big Ten will finish based off of the performances of the teams, week to week. Check the postseason projections! The predicted NCAA Tournament seeds are in!
TOP TIER- Teams that will make an big impact and have the best chances of winning the Big Ten title.
1.) Ohio State (1-0, 14-0) [ Last Week: 1 ] - Ohio State continued to roll this week by downing Indiana on the road to start of on the right foot in the Big Ten. Ohio State continues to show dominance, which is why they have yet to move from the top spot. If Ohio State keeps playing like they are playing right now, the Big Ten is theirs to lose. Ohio State shouldn't take anything lightly, the top tier teams are still there and can attack at any time. Ohio State comes with a deadly force. They have so many scorers, it is truly hard to contain them all. Can someone stop them? (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: 1 seed)
(More projections after the jump)
2.) Purdue (2-0, 13-1) [ Last Week: 2 ] - Purdue continued to prove why they belong in contention. Purdue dominated Michigan and steamrolled Northwestern to start 2-0 in the Big Ten. Purdue is changing the minds of all who doubted them. They are starting to look like the team before Hummel went down. Of course, they would be better of with Hummel, but right now, they are flying high. They definitely are showing consistency and are winning with defense. In the Big Ten, great defense can get you far. (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: 2 seed)
3.) Illinois (2-0, 12-3) [ Last Week: 5 ] - Illinois has rebounded, after two losses, with two good wins. They have proven themselves once again. Illinois has got off to a great start in the Big Ten and they need to continue to win in the early round of games and get ahead early. Coming down the stretch into March looks to be a rough time for the Illini, but everyone has a stretch in their Big Ten schedule like that, this is why early games are important. They have moved up two spots because aside from one bad loss, the Illini pass the eye test and it would be a mistake to say they won't contend for the title. (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: 4 seed)
4.) Michigan State (1-0, 9-4) [ Last Week: 4 ] - Michigan State has no movement this week, but they look to be back on track defeating a Minnesota at home, a much need win. Michigan State looks to be figuring it out. They need to continue the progress as they take go to Northwestern and Penn State this week. I think as we do down the stretch we will see that dominate Michigan State team come out of it's shell. (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: 5 seed)
5.) Wisconsin (1-1, 11-3) [ Last Week: 6 ] - Wisconsin beat Minnesota, which entitled me to believe they would finish in front of Minnesota, but then again, it was a home game for Wisconsin, and it is hard to beat them at home. This week's loss at Illinois, leaves questions. It is tough to say who will finish in front of who between Minnesota and Wisconsin right now. Wisconsin has one game this week, Michigan at home. Next week, we should know where Wisconsin really stands in the Big Ten when they take on MSU on the road and Illinois at home. (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: 5 seed)
6.) Minnesota (0-2, 11-3) [ Last Week: 3 ] - Minnesota's five game win streak was snapped this week to turn into a two game losing streak. Definitely not the way to start off in the Big Ten. You do not want to start two in the hole. But that is where Minnesota finds themselves and it won't be easy to climb out of, they have Indiana, which should be fairly easy, and then they play at Ohio State and then welcome Purdue to town. So you can definitely see why it is not good for Minnesota to start this way. They could possibly start 1-4 in the Big Ten. (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: 7 seed)
MIDDLE TIER- Teams that have a chance to stir up the Big Ten race and make it interesting.
7.) Northwestern (0-1, 9-2) [ Last Week: 7 ] - No change for Northwestern. Even with the lost to Purdue. They are the lone wolf in the middle tier after Michigan took a big hit at home, proving they did not belong in the middle. Northwestern played a good game at Purdue. They kept battling back, but Purdue just kept it coming. It's not that they played bad, it's just Purdue played that much better. Northwestern still has a shot at making things interesting. You do not want to mess with Northwestern. You want to knock them out early. Don't let Northwestern hang around to long, they can be a deadly team, when they want to be. They are on the bubble but, I think Northwestern still gets in the NCAA Tournament. (Postseason Projection: NCAA Tournament: BUBBLE [No Prediction] )
LOWER TIER- Teams that just aren't there yet.
8.) Michigan (1-1, 11-3) [ Last Week: 8 ] - Michigan... nice start, but I think they will eventually start to show their true colors. They are a different team with Morris then they are without him. Michigan can still prove something to us, but to me this team has not developed enough to be in the upper tier of teams. They are still looking for that signature win to prove us wrong. I think Michigan is headed toward NIT Ave. rather than NCAA Tournament Lane. (Postseason Projection: NIT)
9.) Penn State (1-1, 8-5) [ Last Week: 9 ] - Penn State started good with an unexpected win at Indiana, but then fell at Michigan. Now PSU faces the most difficult task of the season... the next five games are.. #10 Purdue, #19 Michigan State, #20 Illinois, at #2 Ohio State and finally at #10 Purdue. The good news for them are the first three are at home. Can they get at least one of those? How tough is Penn State? They did an okay job at Michigan, but came up short. The next five games interest me, last year they came within a point of the Illini on the road. Will Illinois be the game they prove they can upset a top-ranked team? I guess we will find out. Right now, Penn State didn't handle Michigan and aren't in the postseason, as of now if they can't handle Michigan, the Big Ten looks far too tough for PSU. (Postseason Projection: No Postseason)
10.) Iowa (0-1, 7-6) [ Last Week: 11 ] - Even with the loss to Illinois, things are looking up in Iowa this week. They sold out their game against Illinois and had one of the loudest crowds there in quite sometime. If the fans keep coming, Iowa can be a tough venue to play at. Iowa is an up and coming program, right now. (Postseason Projection: No Postseason)
11.) Indiana (0-2, 9-6) [ Last Week: 10 ] - Indiana faces more trouble, four straight losses, two in Big Ten play. Things don't look to be getting better anytime soon. Indiana, at this point, is fighting Iowa for 10th place. (Postseason Projection: No Postseason)