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Big Ten Projections in CBS, FOX, and ESPN Bracketology

See where the Big Ten projects for March Madness

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

With Saturday’s NCAA Selection Committee’s announcement of the current top four seeds by region, March Madness is now quickly approaching. The three major bracketology sites (CBS, FOX, and ESPN) have all provided their latest updates. Although the conference was surprisingly not represented in the Selection Committee’s top 16 team announcement, the Big Ten is certainly well represented in the full tournament field projections.

There are six Big Ten teams that appear in all three brackets: Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Both Indiana and Michigan appear in two projections, and Ohio State made the CBS field. The conference may not be as loaded at the top as in recent years, but it still showed up strongly in these three projected NCAA fields.

Big Ten In 2/10 ESPN Bracketology By Seed:

  • #3 - Wisconsin (East)
  • #5 - Purdue (East)
  • #6 - Maryland (West)
  • #8 - Northwestern (South)
  • #9 - Minnesota (East)
  • #10 - Michigan State (West)
  • #12 - Indiana (West)
  • First Four Out: None
  • Next Four Out - Michigan

The Big Ten is tied for second (Big 12) with seven teams in ESPN’s latest bracketology. Wisconsin has broken through as an elite seeded team, garnering the three seed in the East Region.

Creeping up to a top four seed are the Purdue Boilermakers, who are slotted as the five seed in the same region as Wisconsin. The Maryland Terrapins have dropped down the last two weeks to a six seed, after back to back losses to Purdue at home and on the road at Penn State.

Two other teams trending in the wrong direction are Michigan State and Northwestern. The Spartans three consecutive Big Ten losses, followed by last week’s 29 point loss at Michigan, has put them on the double digit seed line. Northwestern is clearly struggling because of the absence of leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, who remains sidelined with an illness. Before losing Lindsey, the Wildcats were one of the hottest teams in the country. However, tonight’s big 66-59 road win at Wisconsin should provide a much needed lift to that tournament resume.

Michigan and Indiana are clearly the teams to watch in coming weeks. If the Big Ten is going to end up with eight or more teams, it will need both to start making an end of season run.

See full field here.

Big Ten In 2/11 CBS Bracketology By Seed:

  • #5- Wisconsin (South)
  • #5 - Purdue (East)
  • #6 - Maryland (Midwest)
  • #7 - Minnesota (Midwest)
  • #8 - Northwestern (South)
  • #10 - Michigan (East)
  • #11 - Michigan State (East), Ohio State (South)

In the CBS March Madness projection, the Big Ten gets eight teams in the field. It is surprising that neither Wisconsin nor Purdue rates higher than a five seed. Both Maryland and Minnesota held their respective spots in the seeding.

The two biggest difference from ESPN is that both Michigan and Ohio State are projected to make the tournament. The Wolverines rate a 10 seed in the East, while CBS is the only projection that has Ohio State included. The Buckeyes are slotted to play Rhode Island in a First Four game.

Also included in the First Four is Michigan State, who projects to play Syracuse in a clash of two legendary programs. Both received 11 seeds and would play into six seeded Xavier.

See full field here.

Big Ten In 2/11 FOX Bracketology By Seed

  • #4-Purdue (South)
  • #5-Wisconsin (Midwest)
  • #6-Maryland (East)
  • #7-Minnesota (Midwest)
  • #8-Northwestern (East)
  • #9-Michigan State (West)
  • #10-Indiana (East)
  • #11-Michigan (South)
  • First Four Out: None
  • Next Four Out - Ohio State

There is perfect symmetry here in the Fox bracket, as a Big Ten team finds every seed from four through 11 inclusive. Similar to CBS, this projection has eight conference teams making the tournament. Ohio State looms as a a member of the Next Four Out, which would give the Big Ten the same nine bids as the ACC has in most projections.

Purdue (20-5) and Wisconsin (21-4) look the part of teams that can make a deep run in March. Purdue has beaten Notre Dame, Northwestern, and won at Maryland. Most importantly, they defeated Wisconsin in what is their only regular season meeting, 66-55 at home. Despite that, the Boilermakers are still one game behind Wisconsin, who leads the Big Ten with a 10-2 conference record. The Badgers are criticized for a lack of non-conference wins, and suffered two tough early losses to ranked opponents #22 Creighton (79-67) and #4 North Carolina (71-56). However, if Wisconsin finishes as the top regular season team in the Big Ten and reaches at least the semi-finals of the conference tournament, it will be nearly impossible to see them fall below the five seed line.


The Big Ten looks to be in good shape for six teams in the NCAA tournament this season. The three bubble teams of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio State need a strong finish to conference play and a good showing in the conference tournament to make that number eight or higher. While the league doesn’t project to have a top seed in any region, the Big Ten promises to be well-represented come NCAA tournament time.