Selection Sunday was a good one for the Big Ten conference. When all was said and done, the Big Ten got 6 bids to the big dance and some great shots at some Final Four teams and possibly even a national champion. There were not too many significant surprises for the conference, but it was a big night for some of the programs like Iowa and Nebraska who got back to the NCAA Tournament. Here are your 2014 Big Ten NCAA Tournament teams:
#2 Michigan (25-8)
The Wolverines may not have achieved their goal of winning the Big Ten Tournament and snagging that final #1 seed, but they still ended up as a #2 seed in the Midwest. This means their first game will be in Milwaukee with the potential for a second if they can beat Wofford. Though the seeding was not perfect, it is still the best seeding Michigan has received in 20 years. Michigan will be in the same bracket with #1 Wichita State, #3 Duke, and #4 Louisville. Most are calling this the "bracket of death" and for good reason. Including Michigan, this bracket features 3 of last year's Final Four teams and also features Duke. Michigan is going to have its work cut out if it wants to get back to the title game this year. This is Michigan's 4th NCAA Tournament appearance in a row and 5th time in 6 years.
#2 Wisconsin (26-7)
The Badgers figured they would be a #2 seed after losing to MSU on Saturday and got no surprise on Sunday. They will get to play in the West, but their 1st game will take place in Milwaukee. Clearly, this is a huge advantage for Wisconsin and it's hard to see anything but a homecourt advantage in the opening round. Wisconsin will get American in the first round. This bracket features #1 Arizona, #3 Creighton, and #4 San Diego State. The Wildcats are great, but Wisconsin actually got a pretty reasonable draw, especially with essentially home court for potentially two games. This is Wisconsin's 16th NCAA Tournament appearance in a row.
#4 Michigan State (26-8)
The Spartans were probably hoping for something a bit better, but were ultimately selected as a #4 seed in the East. MSU will face Delaware in their first game in Spokane. MSU won the Big Ten Tournament and have won 4 of the team's last 5 games, including 4 games against NCAA Tournament teams. MSU's bracket features #1 Virginia, #2 Villanova, and #3 Iowa State. Virginia is considered the weakest #1 seed and many believe that Villanova is overrated as a #2 seed. With this bracket and MSU's recent play, this could be the making of another Izzo March run. This is MSU's 17th NCAA Tournament appearance in a row.
#6 Ohio State (25-9)
The Buckeyes were seeded a bit lower than some anticipated, but ultimately ended up as a #6 seed in the South region. They will face Dayton in Buffalo for their first game. OSU got a pretty tough draw considering that they have #1 overall seed Florida, #2 Kansas, #3 Syracuse, and #4 UCLA all in their bracket. Matching up with Syracuse in the 1st weekend alone is a pretty tall task, especially as it will likely happen in New York. OSU has had some great postseason success recently and will need some great play to do it again. This is OSU's 6th NCAA Tournament appearance in a row.
#11 Nebraska (19-12)
The Cornhuskers scored their biggest win of the season, sliding into the big dance as a #11 seed in the West. They will face Baylor in their first game in San Antonio. The Huskers' region also features #1 Arizona, #2 Wisconsin, #3 Creighton, and #4 San Diego State. Nebraska certainly is not expected to make a deep run this year, but if they could pull off an upset or two, that would be huge for the direction of this program. Still, scoring the program's first bid since 1998 and only 7th in program history is huge.
#11 Iowa (play-in) (20-12)
The Hawkeyes were pretty disappointing down the stretch, but were still selected to participate in the play-in game on Tuesday night against Tennessee. These games have been pretty thrilling in recent years and this adds an interesting twist with a Big Ten team featured. At one point, Iowa looked like they could have a shot at a #2 or #3 seed, but now have to win a play-in game to even make it to the opening weekend, which is astounding. Still though, do not discount the impact of making it at least to the first four. This is Iowa's first appearance since 2006.
The Big Ten's 6 bids tied for 2nd among all conferences. The Big 12 had 7 teams selected, which led all conferences. Still, it's hard to argue that the Big Ten was not right there with any other conference. The Big 12 may have had 1 more bid, but remember that the Big Ten has 3 teams that are #4 seeds or above (Big 12 has 2) and many believe that MSU is underseeded right now. Along with that, OSU has been great in the postseason the last few years and Iowa may be the most dangerous play-in team of all time. When opening weekend finishes, it's not hard to see at least half the Big Ten remaining, which is pretty hard to say for most of the other conferences that have 6 or 7 bids.
This was a big night for the Big Ten and once again shows the depth and quality of talent in the conference. One could make an argument that this seeding did not match last year's seeding, but it is important to remember that the Big Ten may have more teams set up to make a deep run than last year. We will all have to wait and see.