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3/12 Big Ten Tournament Preview: Finals

It’s down to just two as the conference awaits its Finals matchup on Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We started out with 14 teams and after the dust has settled, we’re now left with two teams competing for the 2017 Big Ten Tournament Championship.

Following one eventful and one lopsided semifinal games, that leaves us with just one final matchup on Sunday.

Here’s what to expect from the teams, time of game and etc.

Game of the Day

-No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 8 Michigan Wolverines

  • TV/Time: 3 p.m. ET on CBS
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-1)

Both of the teams have made it to this championship game, but have done it in very different ways, respectively.

Wisconsin is generally regarded as one of the best of the best the country has to offer and for good reason. The core of Ethan Happ, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig are still leading this veteran-centric squad and they know what it takes.

The Badgers road to the championship game involved beating Indiana by a 10-point margin and then trouncing No. 8 seed Northwestern, who upset No. 3 seeded Maryland, by almost 30 points.

Michigan, on the other hand, looks like a team of destiny, becoming the Cinderella entity in this matchup. The Wolverines breezed past Illinois in round one and then upset the favorites of the Tournament in a thrilling overtime game against the No. 1 seeded Purdue Boilermakers during the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, on Saturday, the team staved off a second half surge by Minnesota and punched their ticket to the championship game.

With Michigan having an abundance of momentum lately, winning nine of their last 11 games, including one of those being a victory on Feb. 16 over Wisconsin, this game is much more intriguing than people could’ve ever expected.

Despite the Wolverines winning that particular game, these two teams did split the two regular season meetings - as both games were decided under six points - with both teams winning at home.

There are two major storylines to watch in this game. The first is how will the Badgers go about containing the Wolverines dynamic backcourt of Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin. The second is, will the Wolverines find a way to make Happ and Hayes uncomfortable and keep them from controlling the paint. Each team has depth and will look for players to add contributions like Moritz Wagner, Zak Showalter, D.J. Wilson, Vitto Brown, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and some others.

The neutral court in Washington D.C. is a fitting destination to break the regular season tie and will decide which team is better on Sunday. It’s one of the hottest teams in the country against one of the best, so get ready for what should be an entertaining Big Ten Tournament Championship game.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Wisconsin

[Update: Wisconsin announced via Twitter that guard Khalil Iverson will miss the remainder of the Big Ten Tournament due to a family emergency.]