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CBS, ESPN, and FOX Bracketology Update: Big Ten Looks Strong For Seven

Where did the Big Ten fall in some of the nation’s most well known bracketology projections?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It was an exciting week of Big Ten basketball, and there was a lot of movement in the March Madness Projections. The three major bracketology sites (CBS, FOX, and ESPN) have all provided their latest updates. The top teams have started creeping up on the top 16 overall seeds, and some of last week’s bubble teams are feeling more secure.

There are seven Big Ten teams that appear in all three brackets: Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. 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 2/16 ESPN Bracketology By Seed:

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

The Big Ten is tied for second (Big 12) with seven teams in ESPN’s latest bracketology. Wisconsin and Purdue lead the way with five seeds in the East and Midwest region respectively.

The biggest jump this week was made by the Michigan Wolverines, who moved from a “Next Four Out” team all the way to a #10 seed in the West. Another big move was made by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who slid up two spots to a seven seed in the South Region.

As for teams trending in the wrong direction, it begins with the Indiana Hoosiers. Having been besieged by injuries throughout the year, Tom Crean’s team fell from a #12 seed to the “Next Four Out” line. Wisconsin suffered two back to back losses to Northwestern at home and on the road at Michigan. The Badgers dropped to a five seed, but should stabilize after a big home win against #23 Maryland on Sunday.

See full field here.

Big Ten In 2/18 CBS Bracketology By Seed:

  • #4 - Purdue (South)
  • #5 - Maryland (Midwest)
  • #6 - Wisconsin (West)
  • #7 - Minnesota (Midwest)
  • #7 - Northwestern (South)
  • #9 - Michigan (Midwest)
  • #10 - Michigan State (Midwest)

In the CBS March Madness projection, the Big Ten dropped from eight teams to seven in the field. Ohio State was slotted for a First Four game last week, but has dropped out of the projections after three straight losses at Maryland, at Michigan State, and home to Nebraska.

Purdue makes the well-deserved jump to a top four seed, and Michigan climbs one spot to a nine seed. Also climbing the ladder are the Northwestern Wildcats, who followed up the big win at Wisconsin with a split of two home games: a 74-64 loss to Maryland and a 69-65 win over Rutgers.

Wisconsin drops a spot to a six seed after back to back losses this week, but should move back up after a big 71-60 win over Maryland on Sunday. This kept Wisconsin tied with Purdue atop the Big Ten standings.

See full field here.

Big Ten In 2/17 FOX Bracketology By Seed

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

There is perfect symmetry here in the Fox bracket, as a Big Ten team finds every seed from five through nine inclusive. This projection has seven conference teams, the same as ESPN and CBS. Both Indiana and Ohio State loom as a member of the Next Four Out, which would potentially give the Big Ten the same nine bids as the ACC has in many projections.

Purdue (22-5) and Wisconsin (22-5) look the part of teams that can make a deep run in March. Purdue has won ten of their last twelve games, and has beaten the last four ranked teams they have played. Wisconsin needed Sunday’s win over Maryland in the worst way, as they halted a two game losing streak and won without a healthy Bronson Koenig. Both teams are tied for first place in the Big Ten race with 11-3 conference records.

Both Michigan and Michigan State climbed spots to play in the always close eight-nine seeded matchup in round one. Worth noting is that the Big Ten grabbed the five, six, and seven seeds in the East region with Maryland, Wisconsin, and Northwestern respectively.

See full field here.


The Big Ten looks to be in good shape for seven teams in this year’s NCAA tournament. The conference team most in need of wins this week is Michigan State, who will look to overcome the loss of senior guard Eron Harris (knee surgery). With Purdue, Wisconsin, and Maryland leading the way, the Big Ten stacks up well against any conference in the country with quality NCAA Tournament team representation.