It’s another week in the books, and now it is only a week until the Big Ten regular season is over with. ESPN’s Bracketology is updated with Michigan now in and Minnesota out. There are still a lot of important games on tap including Michigan State @ Michigan and Wisconsin @ Ohio State. Ohio State will have another target on its back this week after being voted number one in the polls.
Big Ten Projections
Ohio State: Number 1 in the East
Chances of the Buckeyes making it to the Final Four: 53%
The Buckeyes came back to Columbus this past week and was able to reside there the entire week while hosting both Illinois and Indiana. After two consecutive wins, Ohio State is on track to stay a number one seed and maybe the first overall seed come tournament time. This week will be a good challenge for OSU as they go into Happy Valley before coming home to cap off the regular season against the Badgers. Right now, State would be playing against a play-in game winner. The 8/9 game winner doesn’t scare me if I am Ohio State. A potential matchup between Jared Sullinger and Kemba Walker is possible with Connecticut slotted as the four seed in the East bracket, which could prove a challenge between two high scoring teams. Thad Matta and his Buckeyes would also have a potential matchup against two long-standing coaches in Coach K and Jim Boeheim, with Duke and Syracuse respectively.
(More following the JUMP!)
Purdue: 2 seed in Southwest
Chances of getting to the Elite Eight: 60%
Trying to downplay the Big Ten Coach of the Year conversation is wrong because Matt Painter is going to take that award easily. After losing Robbie Hummel, doubts were the enigma for the Boilermakers the first two months of the season. Now, Purdue has won six in a row including four wins against NCAA Tournament teams. Their margin of victory of 12.8 is impressive along with their RPI of six. Purdue slated as a two-seed is probably dead on. A scary contest looming against either Missouri or Marquette in the second round after playing Kent State could be the death for JaJuan Johnson and company. A potential game against San Diego State is no cakewalk either in the Sweet 16.
Wisconsin: 3 seed is Southeast
Chances Wisconsin fails to make it to the Sweet Sixteen: 58%
This has nothing to do with me hating on the Badgers in this case. Being from the state of cheese, I personally know how to beat the Badgers. After narrowly getting past Michigan, Wisconsin finished up its home schedule undefeated. Playing Coastal Carolina in the first round is a dangerous game. That’s not even mentioning playing against Villanova in the second round. Even though Coastal Carolina doesn’t have an impressive win, but they only have a single loss on the road. Also, the Chanticleers are fifth in the country in field goal percentage. Next, the Badgers would face a Villanova team that is always hard to predict come tournament time.
Illinois: 10 seed in the east
Chances Illinois beat Cincinnati: 48%
It’s a matchup between the Big East and the Big Ten; the top two conferences this year in many experts’ minds. Both teams are a risk to choose once you fill out your brackets because of their records on the road and at neutral sites. The difference between these two teams is that Cincinnati doesn’t have a bad loss while Illinois has two bad losses against UIC (at home) and Indiana. If Illinois can pull the upset against Purdue, expect them to move up in the bracket on Selection Sunday. If Illinois beat ‘Nati, they would most likely play the Duke Blue Devils.
Michigan State: 10 seed in the West
Chances of the past Final Four appearances being mentioned in the First Round matchup: 100%
Finally when things started to seem to click for the Spartans, they cough up a huge chance against Purdue. Michigan State ended up losing by 20 and seemed completely out of rhythm the entire game. After Kalin Lucas’s Senior Night against Iowa this week, the Spartans head to Ann Arbor to battle the Wolverines. As it is predicted right now, State would take on the original Cinderella Story, George Mason. The Patriots ended up 16-2 in conference and has won their final 12 games. A second round game between the Spartans and Notre Dame could end up being like the football game this past fall.
Michigan: 12 seed in southeast (Play-in Game)
Chances Michigan can go from the 68 to the 64 against Baylor: 40%
Every week it seems that one of the Big Ten teams gets placed into the play-in game spot. This week, it’s newcomer Michigan. After a buzzer beater loss against Wisconsin and a win in Minnesota, the Wolverines are in business to reach the NCAA Tournament. Their only remaining game is against rival Michigan State this weekend. The team that Michigan would play against in the play-in game is Baylor. Yikes! Baylor has underachieved all year but is chalked full of talent with Lacedarius Dunn and Perry Jones. The winner of that game would play a Georgetown team that may be without Chris Wright.
Last Four In: Michigan
Last Four Out: None
Next Four Out: None