On Monday morning, USA Today released its preseason bracketology for the 2016-’17 college basketball season and five Big Ten teams were fortunate enough to make the cut. Although the conference doesn’t appear to be as loaded at the top as it has been in recent years, it still showed up strongly in this projected NCAA field.
While Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, and Wisconsin were the five teams to make the cut, one more Big Ten team just missed the field and several others were considered. Perhaps the most interesting absence was Ohio State, who is rated as a top 15 team by KenPom’s preseason rankings.
Here is how the Big Ten was projected
Big Ten In 11/7 USA Today Bracketology By Seed:
- #3 - Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue
- #4 - Wisconsin
- #5 - Maryland
- First Four Out - Michigan
- Considered: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State
While the Big Ten has seen plenty of drama on Selection Sunday in recent years, this is an early sign that fans might not experience much suspense this year. The conference appears to have five teams safely in the field and just one other team close to making the cut. This will certainly change in the weeks to come, but it doesn’t look all that encouraging for the conference’s NCAA hopes.
Two of the more interesting exclusions (as mentioned above) were Iowa and Ohio State. Neither team looks like a Final Four team this year, but the Hawkeyes have made the NCAA Tournament three years in a row and Ohio State is projected as a quality unit by the advanced stats. It will be interesting to see who’s right on these two.
One other thing to note is that the Big Ten doesn’t appear to be in serious consideration for a one seed at the moment. This could change in the coming weeks, but that could be a big blow to a conference looks for its first national championship in well over a decade. Fans will have to hope that projection is wrong.
You can see the full field here.