With a few weeks into Big Ten conference play, it's now time to start looking ahead to March and how things might shake out not only in the NCAA Tournament, but also in the Big Ten Tournament. Last year's tournament featured a plethora of great games with upsets, rivalry matchups, and NCAA Tournament impacts. Considering this, today we're going to start our recurring series looking at the seeding of the Big Ten Tournament.
The concept is pretty simple. Each week, BTP will be taking a look at how the Big Ten Tournament projects as of that morning. For instance, today's bracket will be set as of Friday, January 16, 2015 morning. I have taken the liberty of looking at the Big Ten records and using the Big Ten tiebreaker scenarios to see where teams will land. Things will certainly move, but it is still interesting to see as of this moment. Let's take a look.
2015 B1G Tournament Bracket (1/16):
Obviously, considering that no team has played more than 5 games in Big Ten play, things are still pretty fluid. In fact, the #1 and #2 seeds have identical records, the #2, #3, and #4 seeds have identical records, and in reality, the entire conference is within 4 games of each other right now. The point is that even by next week things could look entirely different, especially with some big matchups over the weekend and early next week.
Still considering that things are going to move a lot in the coming weeks, there are some interesting trends. First, the top two teams have already separated themselves - at least slightly - in Maryland and Wisconsin. Most consider these to be the two best teams in the conference and they're already sitting there now. However, the battle below them is incredibly tight and how about Michigan State at #3? What a turnaround for the Spartans so far.
The last thing that will be really interesting to watch going forward is the breakdown of the "bottom tier" in the Big Ten for seeding in the conference tournament. Now, with 14 teams in the conference, there are a lot more moving parts and moving up from the bottom can make a big difference. Just look at Illinois and Rutgers. They both sit at 2-3 in Big Ten play so far, but Illinois currently avoids the first day of play and gets a bye. They also face Michigan instead of a potential matchup with Iowa. This will be crucial to watch if any teams end up on the bubble.
Overall, it's an interesting initial layout here. There is still plenty of action left in the coming weeks, but it does appear that we are starting to get some semblance of "tiers" breaking out in the Big Ten. Perhaps we will find out more this weekend with a big matchup between Maryland and Michigan State among others.