Big Ten Bracketology: Indiana Saves Season, Minnesota Slips

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Hoosiers managed to save their season with their upset of the Wolverines while the Gophers suffered a crushing loss, putting their tourney odds up in the air.

We're getting closer to the postseason with the Big Ten Tournament just over a month away. With the race starting to solidify, we've dropped two more free falling teams for this edition (Purdue and Illinois) of Big Ten Bracketology. Also of note, while some of the bottom teams have been pretty hot as of late (hello Northwestern), with records just over .500 they still have a considerable amount of work to do if they want to officially enter the bubble.

Team Record RPI SOS vs 1-50 vs 51-100 vs 101-200 vs 201+ Projection
Michigan State 19-3 (8-1) 7 9 6-2 5-1 3-0 5-0 In
Wisconsin 17-5 (4-5) 12 3 4-3 6-2 5-0 2-0 In
Michigan 16-5 (8-1) 14 11 6-3 3-1 3-1 4-0 In
Ohio State 17-5 (4-5) 20 19 1-3 8-2 5-0 3-0 In
Iowa 17-5 (6-3) 22 67 2-5 6-0 3-0 6-0 In
Minnesota 14-7 (4-5) 38 6 4-4 1-3 5-0 4-0 Bubble (In)
Indiana 14-8 (4-5) 67 50 2-4 3-3 2-1 7-0 Bubble (Out)
Illinois 13-9 (2-7) 69 45 0-5 3-2 4-2 6-0 Out
Nebraska 11-9 (3-5) 72 22 2-6 2-1 4-2 3-0 Out
Northwestern 12-11 (5-5) 85 34 2-7 2-2 2-2 6-0 Out
Penn State 12-10 (3-6) 98 60 1-4 3-3 1-3 7-0 Out
Purdue 13-9 (3-6) 111 94 0-5 5-3 4-1 4-0 Out

Currently In

Michigan State

Record
19-3 (8-1)
RPI
7 (7)
SOS
9 (15)
Non-Conf. RPI
14
Non-Conf. SOS
48
Average RPI WIn
114
Average RPI Loss
38
Vs. 1-50
6-2
Vs. 51-100
5-1
Vs. 101-200
3-0
Vs. 201+
5-0
Key Wins
at Iowa, Ohio State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, at Texas, Indiana
Key Losses
North Carolina, at Georgetown, Michigan
Upcoming Games
Penn State, at Wisconsin

After suffering a short handed loss to the Wolverines, Michigan State bounced back nicely with a win on the road versus the Hawkeyes. They managed to follow an impressive win with a puzzling loss to a disappointing Georgetown squad. The loss won't hurt the Spartans odds in the Big Ten, but it will effect their ability to contend for a one or two seed in the NCAA Tournament. Anyway, the Spartans will benefit greatly as Payne should be on his way back this week and they have a relatively easy game to open the week as they host a recently surging Nittany Lion squad. Penn State doesn't always play that good away from home though and I doubt Izzo will drop two games to considerably inferior opponents. The weekend showdown could be interesting as the Spartans have to travel off to Madison to face Wisconsin, but the Badgers have also been heavily struggling as of late so the appeal of that game has quickly faded. Indiana's upset of Michigan puts the Spartans and Wolverines back to an almost level playing field and if the Spartans get healthy they could take back control of the conference, but their window for a one seed has significantly narrowed after this weekends deflating loss to the Hoyas.

Wisconsin

Record 17-5 (4-5)
RPI 12 (3)
SOS 3 (3)
Non-Conf. RPI 4
Non-Conf. SOS 12
Average RPI WIn 108
Average RPI Loss 43
Vs. 1-50 4-3
Vs. 51-100 6-2
Vs. 101-200 5-0
Vs. 201+ 2-0
Key Wins Florida, Saint Louis, Iowa, Illinois
Key Losses at Indiana, Michigan, at Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State
Upcoming Games at Illinois, Michigan State

The Badgers were hoping that a road win versus Purdue would end their skid and get things back on track but that apparently wasn't the case as they dropped both of their games this past week. The one point loss to Ohio State was painful, especially with the recent Buckeye struggles, but not the end of the world. The defeat against Northwestern was considerably more painful for a Wisconsin team that was once entertaining the idea of a Big Ten title and possible one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Regardless of their recent 1-5 streak, the Badgers still have a RPI coming in at 12th, a top 5 SOS and 10 wins versus the top 100. Their tourney odds aren't in question, but if their slide continues then they could eventually start approaching a double digit seeding. Luckily for Wisconsin they have an Illini team that can't beat anyone and could essentially be the equivalent to their Purdue game earlier in January. Wisconsin desperately needs this win as they host the Spartans this weekend in what will be an extremely difficult game to win, yet a perfect opportunity to get everything rolling along smoothly once again. The schedule won't get any easier either as the Badgers will follow this week with games against Minnesota, at Michigan, at Iowa and Indiana.

Michigan

Record
16-5 (8-1)
RPI
14 (12)
SOS
11 (12)
Non-Conf. RPI
57
Non-Conf. SOS
71
Average RPI WIn
120
Average RPI Loss
42
Vs. 1-50
6-3
Vs. 51-100
3-1
Vs. 101-200
3-1
Vs. 201+
4-0
Key Wins
at Michigan State, at Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida State, at Minnesota
Key Losses
Charlotte, at Indiana
Upcoming Games
Nebraska, at Iowa

The Wolverines finally dropped a game in the Big Ten, losing on the road to a Hoosiers team that was in desperate need of a win. The game wasn't pretty for the Wolverines as they barely got past 50 points and lost by 11. The loss also came to a so-so Indiana squad, making it a not-so-pretty loss for the Wolverines (though Sparty one upped them with the Georgetown game). Michigan is now at 16-5 with an 8-1 mark in the conference and a strong RPI and SOS. I think the Indiana loss will likely cool down the Wolverines, but this week is still quite manageable as they get Nebraska at home and then travel to an Iowa team that hasn't always been able to win games versus tougher opposition. It'll be interested to see if Michigan will bounce back or if their quick Big Ten start was a hot streak they can't repeat (similar to the early season starts from Wisconsin and Ohio State). Only time will tell but either way the Wolverines are currently sitting nicely on top of the Big Ten with their biggest question being how high they could trend upwards in NCAA seeding if they win the Big Ten.

Ohio State

Record
17-5 (4-5)
RPI
20 (17)
SOS
19 (25)
Non-Conf. RPI
6
Non-Conf. SOS
44
Average RPI WIn
119
Average RPI Loss
47
Vs. 1-50
1-3
Vs. 51-100
8-2
Vs. 101-200
5-0
Vs. 201+
3-0
Key Wins
at Wisconsin, Maryland, Notre Dame, Illinois
Key Losses
Penn State, at Minnesota, at Nebraska
Upcoming Games
at Iowa, Purdue

Ohio State's tough start to the Big Ten season finally bottomed out last week when they dropped a home game to Penn State. With a lot of Ohio State fans calling it quits on making it to the NCAA Tournament, Ohio State took care of business with an impressive road win versus Wisconsin. Sure, the Badgers have played poorly as of late but from a resume standpoint it's about as good of a win as Ohio State could get. Now Ohio State will look to add another quality win as they travel to face the Hawkeyes before hosting Purdue. As long as Ohio State can split this week, they should be fine. Luckily the Wisconsin win takes a bit of pressure off of the Iowa game, but if Ohio State can win today then all bubble/NIT talk should quickly go out the window.

Iowa

Record
17-5 (6-3)
RPI
22 (33)
SOS
67 (77)
Non-Conf. RPI
21
Non-Conf. SOS
246
Average RPI WIn
157
Average RPI Loss
9
Vs. 1-50
2-5
Vs. 51-100
6-0
Vs. 101-200
3-0
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
at Ohio State, Minnesota, Xavier
Key Losses
None
Upcoming Games
Ohio State, Michigan

Iowa split this past week, losing to Michigan State in a game that could have been their biggest win of the season, and knocking off Illinois, though the quality of that win is completely different then it would have been a month ago. Iowa is in a weird position because none of their five losses are bad, apparent with their losses coming to teams with an average of 9th, but the Hawkeyes still only have two top 50 wins. While Iowa has 8 top 100 wins and a strong RPI, their SOS is only so-so and they keep losing games when they have opportunities to add quality wins. This week is more of the same as they host Ohio State and Michigan. Both games would be nice wins for the resume but Iowa could just as easily lose two more games to tough opponents. If Iowa falls to 17-7 they could quickly fade off towards the 10-12 seed range, making them a dangerous team come March. Of course one has to wonder when Iowa will finally turn the corner and start winning quality games more consistently.

Bubble

Minnesota

Record
14-7 (4-5)
RPI
38 (25)
SOS
6 (5)
Non-Conf. RPI
43
Non-Conf. SOS
56
Average RPI WIn
136
Average RPI Loss
42
Vs. 1-50
4-4
Vs. 51-100
1-3
Vs. 101-200
5-0
Vs. 201+
4-0
Key Wins
Wisconsin, Ohio State, Florida State, at Richmond, Purdue
Key Losses
Arkansas, at Nebraska, Northwestern
Upcoming Games
at Purdue, Indiana

The Gophers got a big win recently versus Wisconsin and then followed it up with a road loss to Nebraska. In the Gophers only game last week they managed to lose to the Wildcats by a point. After two quality Big Ten wins (Ohio State, Wisconsin) that looked to bump Minnesota into the tournament, two baffling losses have put Minnesota right on the edge once again. I think if the season ended today the Gophers could still slide in thanks to their RPI, SOS and four top 50 wins, but if they keep dropping winnable games then they'll quickly fall out of contention. Minnesota has two more similar games this week, traveling to a free falling Purdue team and then hosting Indiana. The Boilermaker game is more or less becoming a must win since three losses in a row to teams all near the bottom of the conference might be too big of a hole to dig out of. The Hoosiers game offers an opportunity for another quality win, but a loss there would likely drop Minnesota behind Indiana in the NCAA pecking order. This week will speak volumes about Minnesota and if they're for real this season.

Indiana

Record
14-8 (4-5)
RPI
67 (66)
SOS
50 (51)
Non-Conf. RPI
55
Non-Conf. SOS
166
Average RPI WIn
170
Average RPI Loss
48
Vs. 1-50
2-4
Vs. 51-100
3-3
Vs. 101-200
2-1
Vs. 201+
7-0
Key Wins
Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, Michigan
Key Losses
Northwestern, at Nebraska, at Illinois, UCONN, Notre Dame
Upcoming Games
at Minnesota

The Hoosiers were firmly on the bubble entering last week and things looked dire when they lost to Nebraska earlier in the week. With the Hoosiers suffering a crushing defeat and having a poor resume, a lot of the talk surrounding Indiana started turning into NIT talk. Indiana managed to keep their season alive this weekend though as they gave the Wolverines their first loss in conference play and added a much needed second quality win to their resume. Now with two wins versus top 50 teams (Michigan, Wisconsin) and a recovering SOS thanks to the Big Ten schedule, Indiana likely needs to just take care of business and pad their resume with six or seven wins to get into the big dance. Indiana only has one game this week, a tough road trip to Minnesota, and would significantly increase their odds of making it into the NCAA Tournament if they can pick up the road victory. A loss would likely drop Indiana back towards the bottom of the bubble, but with Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern all coming up in the near future, there are plenty of winnable games on the horizon. If the Hoosiers are serious about making it to the NCAA Tournament, though, they'll benefit immensely if they can knock off Minnesota on Saturday.

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