On Thursday morning, ESPN updated its bracketology for the 2016-’17 college basketball season and nine 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, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin were the only teams to make the cut, Illinois also just missed the field. Perhaps the most interesting absence was Iowa, who made last year’s NCAA Tournament, but has seen an up and down season so far.
Here is how the Big Ten was projected.
Big Ten In 12/29 ESPN Bracketology By Seed:
- #4 - Purdue, Wisconsin
- #6 - Indiana
- #8 - Maryland, Minnesota
- #9 - Michigan
- #10 - Northwestern
- #11 - Ohio State (First Four)
- #12 - Michigan State (First Four)
- First Four Out - Illinois
The Big Ten ranked second among conferences (behind the ACC) with nine teams in ESPN’s late December bracketology. However, it was a rather underwhelming performance as the conference failed to land any teams among the bracket’s top 12. If this happened, it would be the first time in well over a decade that such an event occurred.
On top of the general Big Ten seeding situations, two teams that had interesting spots were Minnesota and Northwestern. Many have been skeptical of these two since the season’s onset, but it looks like those resumes are starting to build. Both are firmly in the field and figure to be at least for the next few weeks.
This bracketology also shows the danger of teams like Iowa and Nebraska in the coming weeks. Neither is anywhere close to the field at this point, but both are capable of pulling off some upsets in league play. As such, teams like Maryland and Michigan will have to be wary.
You can see the full field here.