This afternoon, Fox College Hoops’ Mike Decourcy revealed his Friday bracket projection update with 10 Big Ten teams getting into the NCAA tournament. The league as a whole has stayed extremely competitive but we have seen a slight tier development occur. Maryland has separated themselves at the top with a 2 game advantage at 13-4 while the next level of the league has 4 teams at 11-6. Those teams include Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Minnesota had Maryland dead to rights on Wednesday night with a 16 point lead going into the 2nd half. Minnesota was able to hold off Maryland up until 8 minutes left in the game. Maryland slowly but surely made their move. Then with 4 seconds left Darryl Morsell drained a 30 foot shot near the top of the arc to take the lead by 1 and give Maryland perhaps their best comeback win of the season. Had Minnesota held on it would have made an already crucial game against Michigan State at home on Saturday all the more important. However if Maryland falls to Michigan State on Saturday, it makes the following trip to New Jersey against Rutgers a titanic matchup. The Scarlet Knights have lost once in 18 home games this season.
It is simple for Maryland with 3 games left. They win 2 of them and they will be sole Big Ten regular season champions for the first time since they joined the league in 2014. Finishing that way and with a championship game appearance in the Big Ten Tournament may be enough to put the Terrapins on the 1 seed line.
Here is how the Big Ten is projected by seed.
Big Ten 2/14 Fox College Hoops Bracketology by Seed
No. 2- Maryland
No. 4- Penn State
No. 4- Michigan State
No. 5- Ohio State
No. 6- Iowa
No. 6- Wisconsin
No. 7- Illinois
No. 7- Michigan
No. 9- Indiana
No. 11- Rutgers
The story lines this season have thrown the Big Ten into perhaps its most chaotic regular season ever. One story line to look for in the final 9 days that may not be talked about enough is Wisconsin’s. The Badgers are on a 5 game winning streak and have the most favorable final 3 games of any of the four teams sitting tied for 2nd place right now. Wisconsin would have to start by defeating Minnesota and Northwestern at home. Then they would need a win at Assembly Hall against the Hoosiers. If any team has shown the ability to complete that task over the last decade it would be the Badgers. Should Maryland drop 2 of their last 3 games and the Badgers take care of business it would be quite the story for a Big Ten championship. Perhaps one that would move the Badgers to a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament as well.