On Monday morning, ESPN updated its bracketology for the 2016-’17 college basketball season and eight 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 landed quite a few teams in this projected NCAA field.
While Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin were the only teams to make the cut, Illinois was also listed as another Big Ten team that just narrowly missed the field.
Here is how the Big Ten was projected.
Big Ten In 1/23 ESPN Bracketology By Seed:
- #5 - Purdue, Wisconsin
- #6 - Maryland
- #7 - Indiana, Michigan State
- #8 - Minnesota, Northwestern
- #12 - Michigan (First Four)
- First Four Out: N/A
- Next Four Out: Illinois
The first thing that pops out from this ESPN projection is that the Big Ten lacks a team within the bracket’s top 20 seeds. The lack of an elite seed is still concerning, but having a few more teams listed as five, six, and seven seeds helps.
One other projection that was interesting was Indiana as a seven seed. While the Hoosiers certainly have the talent to play with anybody in the country, the team isn’t nearly as highly regarded by many of the other projections. Fans will have to wait until Selection Sunday to see if Lunardi or the others is right.
Northwestern also got some serious love from ESPN as the Wildcats sat as a No. 8 seed in this projection. If accurate, that should get the team some real leeway in the coming weeks. Personally, I tend to agree with this projection. Many of the other sites are down on Northwestern, but it seems more about their name than what they’ve done.
You can see the full field here.