Welcome to the BT Powerhouse Bracket Tracker. We’ll take a quick look at every Big Ten team’s current NCAA profile and their current seeding according to the most recently updated Fox College Hoops bracket projection. With the understanding that one bracket source is not the rule, I will include the current NET ranking along with their NET records against the different tier levels of importance. It is important to mention that the NCAA has stated many times that the NET is an evaluation tool to arrange teams as the tournament selection gets closer. Outside of the conference tournament winners it is not necessarily the rest of the teams ranked the highest in the NET that get in. Let’s dive in, shall we?
NET Quad 1 Wins: 1-30 (Home), 1-50 (Neutral), 1-75 (Away)
NET Quad 2 Wins: 31-75 (Home), 51-100 (Neutral), 76-135 (Away)
Bad Losses: 76 or more (Home), 101 or more (Neutral), 136 or more (Away)
1. Let’s take a look at each team’s current tournament
profile, seeding, their most recent and upcoming game.
- Overall record: 14-5 Big Ten: 6-2
- vs NET Quad 1: 3-5 vs NET Quad 2: 4-0 Bad Losses: None
- Seed Projection: 4 NET ranking: #10
- Upcoming games: @ Minnesota 1/26 and vs Northwestern 1/29
Michigan State split their two tier 1 win opportunities with a home win over Wisconsin and a close loss at Indiana last night. They will try to get back on track in a road game and another tier 1 win opportunity at Minnesota on Sunday. It would take a slip up from a few teams ahead of them as well. Top tier teams slipping up doesn’t seem all that hard to come by this season with the parody so far across the nation.
- Overall: 15-4 Big Ten: 5-3
- vs NET Quad 1: 2-4 vs NET Quad 2: 6-0 Bad Losses:None
- Seed Projection: 5 NET ranking #14
- Upcoming games: @ Indiana 1/26 and vs Iowa 1/30
Maryland went 2-0 this past week. First they beat Purdue at home in a low scoring game that they controlled most of the way. Then, they survived Northwestern on the road after being down 14 at the half. The Terrapins will head into Assembly Hall to play an Indiana team that just knocked off 1st place Michigan State. A win there would be huge for Maryland’s profile and might push them up a seed line.
- Overall: 14-5 Big Ten: 5-3
- vs NET Quad 1: 4-3 NET Quad 2: 4-1 Bad Losses: @Nebraska
- Seed Projection: 5 NET Ranking: #21
- Upcoming games: vs Wisconsin 1/27 and @ Maryland 1/30
The Hawkeyes are rolling right now with two big home wins against Michigan and Rutgers this past week. They have perhaps the league’s best offense with their star big man Luka Garza leading the way. Iowa has a huge opportunity for a tier 1 win against Wisconsin at home on Monday. A win there would have them feeling pretty good about a top 4 seed in the tournament.
- Overall: 14-5 Big Ten: 5-3
- vs NET Quad 1: 3-4 vs NET Quad 2: 2-0 Bad Losses: St. Bonaventure(N)
- Seed Projection: 6 NET Ranking #19
- Upcoming games: vs Nebraska 1/25 and vs Purdue 1/28
A tough as nails and talented Rutgers team has been one of the surprises of the Big Ten this season. The Scarlet Knights split their previous two games with a win over Minnesota at home and a close loss at Iowa. Rutgers has a great profile so far and perhaps the best team defense in the Big Ten. They head into this week hoping to take care of Nebraska and Purdue in back to back home games. If Rutgers comes out of this week with 2 wins, we might be discussing their chances of a top 4 seed in March.
- Overall: 14-5 Big Ten: 6-2
- vs NET Quad 1: 3-3 vs NET Quad 2: 2-1 Bad Losses: Miami (Home)
- Seed Projection: 6 NET Ranking #32
- Upcoming games: @ Michigan 1/25 and vs Minnesota 1/30
Illinois picked up a home win over Northwestern and a huge road win over Purdue to continue what has been one of their best starts in over a decade. The Illini have a solid NCAA profile and have their eyes on a Big Ten championship, currently tied for 1st place. Brad Underwood has done a terrific job building this team since taking the helm at the start of the 2017-18 season. The Illini have another big week ahead and start with a road game against Michigan.
- Overall: 14-5 Big Ten: 4-4
- vs NET Quad 1: 5-4 vs NET Quad 2: 4-0 Bad Losses: Ole Miss (N)
- Seed Projection: 7 NET Ranking #29
- Upcoming games: vs Indiana 1/29 and at Nebraska 2/1
Penn State has been another team that has made the conference so deep this year. They had a great non-conference and after stumbling out of the gate of Big Ten play, they got back on track with two huge wins this week over Ohio State at home and on the road against Michigan. It won’t get any easier as they have a home game against Indiana on Wednesday.
- Overall: 15-4 Big Ten: 5-3
- vs NET Quad 1: 4-3 vs NET Quad 2: 2-1 Bad Losses: None
- Seed Projection: 7 NET Ranking #42
- Upcoming games: vs Maryland 1/26 and @ Penn State 1/29
Indiana is coming off a great week, beating Nebraska on the road and then upsetting Michigan State at home last night. The Michigan State win added a very strong tier 1 win to their profile. The Hoosiers will look to continue this momentum this week. They face another huge challenge at home this Sunday against Maryland. A win over the Terrapins will have the Hoosiers eyeing a lot more than simply making the tournament.
- Overall: 12-7 Big Ten: 5-3
- vs NET Quad 1: 4-4 vs NET Quad 2: 2-2 Bad Losses: (N) New Mexico
- Seed Projection: 7 NET Ranking #22
- Recent and upcoming: @ Purdue 1/24 and @Iowa 1/27
The Badgers split the past two games with a road loss to Michigan State and a home win over Nebraska. They are still tied for 3rd in a tough and deep league. Wisconsin has really improved from the start of the season and have more offensive options than I initially thought going into this season. Players like Kobe King and Aleem Ford have really stepped up to make this Badgers unit a tough out on any night. Wisconsin will hit the road tonight against a Purdue team that was just dominated by 1st place Illinois at home.
- Overall: 12-7 Big Ten: 2-6
- vs NET Quad 1: 3-6 vs NET Quad 2: 2-1 Bad Losses: None
- Seed Projection: 9 NET Ranking #23
- Upcoming games: @ Northwestern 1/26 and vs Indiana 2/1
Ohio State has now lost 7 of their last 8 conference games. Look no further than their current NET ranking to show how lopsided the first half of their season was compared to the second half so far. This has to be one of most disappointing conference starts in recent memory. Fortunately, they have built quite the profile in non-conference play. They are still projected as in the tournament but their stock may not last another week like this. The Buckeyes need to right the ship with a couple of wins this week, starting at Northwestern on Sunday.
- Overall: 11-7 Big Ten: 2-5
- vs NET Quad 1: 3-7 vs NET Quad 2: 2-0 Bad Losses: None
- Seed Projection: 9 NET Ranking #36
- Upcoming games: vs Illinois 1/25 and @ Nebraska 1/28
Michigan is another team that came on strong in non-conference but has stumbled mightily in conference play, losing 5 of their last 6 conference games. Like Ohio State, their resume is still strong enough but not for long at the rate they are currently going. The Wolverines desperately need to find ways to win while waiting for Isaiah Livers to return from injury. They can start with a big win tomorrow against 1st place Illinois at home.
- Overall: 11-8 Big Ten: 5-4
- vs NET Quad 1: 3-6 vs NET Quad 2: 2-2 Bad Losses: None
- Seed Projection: 12 (Last Four In) NET Ranking #39
- Upcoming games: vs Michigan State 1/26 and @ Illinois 1/30
Minnesota split two road games this week. Any Big Ten team will gladly take that record on the road this season. The Gophers were projected as one of the last four in the tournament. They’ll have to fight every week to stay on the right side of the bubble the rest of the season. Minnesota will have a great opportunity to boost their profile against Michigan State at home this Sunday.
- Overall: 10-9 Big Ten: 3-5
- vs NET Quad 1: 2-7 vs NET Quad 2: 2-1 Bad Losses: Nebraska (Away)
- Seed Projection: None NET Ranking #46
- Upcoming games: vs Wisconsin 1/24, @ Rutgers 1/28, @ Northwestern 2/1
The Boilermakers had a tough week, dropping a road game against Maryland and a home game against Illinois. Purdue really needed both of them to get themselves on the right side of the bubble. It will take the Boilers holding serve at home and stealing a few road wins in order to keep themselves in the conversation for tournament consideration this year. At this point, it’s unclear they have the consistency on the offensive end to pull off a turnaround. They need a home win tonight against Wisconsin badly.
On the matter of Northwestern and Nebraska, I will exclude them for now due to their lack of profile strength in regards to the NCAA tournament, Northwestern has a NET ranking of #144 and Nebraska #165.
2. Chance for Big Ten to get 10 teams in?
Right now, the Big Ten is projected with 11 teams in but in order for that to hold steady, the league will have to continue to cannibalize itself. It seems home court advantage is more prominent than ever in this year’s Big Ten. Out of 56 Big Ten games played so far, only 10 of them have been road wins.
There are 12 teams with a reasonable chance at reaching 20 wins in the regular season. While obviously all 12 won’t reach 20 wins, you could still make a case right now for each team to make a run, given their pieces and steady improvement. 20 wins is not the rule, but it feels like it is in this year’s Big Ten. The league is as close to even across the board as I have ever seen it so far this season. Even 19 wins for certain teams would probably be enough to get in the tournament.
3. Three questions for you and I
Will the Big Ten get a team on the 1 seed line come selection Sunday?
My answer: No, Michigan State seems like the best chance but I don’t think they are a strong enough team right now to pile up enough wins for a 1 seed come the end of the season.
Which Big Ten teams do you see doing enough to make the tournament as of today?
My answer: Michigan State, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers, Penn State, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois
Which Big Ten team of the 11 listed on a current seed line do you believe will make the biggest seed improvement from now until Selection Sunday?
My answer: Rutgers. I can’t speak highly enough of the the team Steve Pikiell has put together and their commitment on the defensive end. I think Rutgers will continue to make noise in the Big Ten this season.