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What’s On The Line For The Big Ten This Weekend?

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A full breakdown of Big Ten and NCAA Tournament implications for each of this week’s games.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan State vs Ohio State David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It’s March, and each team has one regular season game left to play. The regular season title is still very much up in the air, with three teams having a chance to win it outright and a fourth with a chance to tie. Next week is the Big Ten Tournament, and then comes the NCAA Tournament. Most of the seven games this weekend will effect how all those things set up for the Big Ten.

Let’s count this weekend’s games down from least to most intriguing.

7. Minnesota @ Nebraska

  • Big Ten title implications: None
  • NCAA Tournament implications: None
  • BTT seeding implications: With a win, Nebraska will avoid the 14 seed. Minnesota is locked into the 12 seed.

6. Penn State @ Northwestern

  • Big Ten title implications: None
  • NCAA Tournament implications: Penn State likely drops a seed line with a loss.
  • BTT seeding implications: Northwestern holds the tiebreaker over Nebraska and will only be the 14 seed with a loss here and a Nebraska win. Penn State is locked into the 5 seed.

5. Iowa @ Illinois

  • Big Ten title implications: Illinois clinches a share with a win and a loss by MSU, Wisconsin, and Maryland. (Good luck, Illini fans.)
  • NCAA Tournament implications: A road win probably helps Iowa’s cause more than another home win help’s Illinois’ cause.
  • BTT seeding implications: Both teams can be as high as the 4 seed with a win or as low as the 7 sed with a loss. (Illinois fares really badly in tiebreakers since they did poorly against the top of the league in head-to-head play.)

4. Rutgers @ Purdue

  • Big Ten title implications: None
  • NCAA Tournament implications: Rutgers is likely on the right side of the bubble right now, and Purdue is likely on the wrong side. A win would guarantee the Scarlet Knights make the field, even if there are a number of bids thieves and they flame out in the first round of the BTT. Purdue must have this game, and then they probably need one more in the BTT.
  • BTT seeding implications: Purdue locks up the 9 seed with a win and could fall to the 10 or 11 seed with a loss, depending on the result of IU/Wisconsin. ADD RUTGERS

3. Michigan @ Maryland

  • Big Ten title implications: Maryland clinches at least a share of the title with a win.
  • NCAA Tournament implications: Maryland likely loses all chance at a 2 seed with a loss. Michigan is somewhere in the 5-7 seed range, and that probably bump up to 5-6 with a win.
  • BTT seeding implications: Maryland can only be the 1 seed if MSU and Wisconsin both lose. Michigan is locked into the 8/9 game.

2. Ohio State @ Michigan State

  • Big Ten title implications: Michigan State clinches at least a share of the title with a win.
  • NCAA Tournament implications: Michigan State could get in the conversation for a 2 seed with a win, but they’d probably need to make a deep run in Indianapolis to go with it. Ohio State likely jumps from a 5 to a 4 with a win.
  • BTT seeding implications: In the event of the 3-way tie for first, Michigan State is the 2 seed, but in a 4-way tie, they’d be the 1 seed. Ohio State is locked into the 7.

1. Wisconsin @ Indiana

  • Big Ten title implications: Wisconsin clinches at least a share of a title with a win. I ranked this game as the most interesting because of all the title contenders, the Badgers are the only ones who have to play on the road.
  • NCAA Tournament implications: IU almost certainly punched their ticket with the Minnesota win, so both these teams are playing for a seed line.
  • BTT seeding implications: Wisconsin is the 1 seed with a win unless it’s a two-way tie with MSU. They could fall as low as the 3, but that would take a series of improbable events. IU is all but locked into the 11 seed because they didn’t win a single game against any of the other teams that could finish 10-10. However, if they beat Wisconsin and Rutgers beats Purdue, they move up to the 10 because that moves both the Knights and the Boilers off the 10-10 mark.

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All told, it figures to be a great weekend of action with virtually every game having some significant Big Ten and NCAA Tournament implications. Get your popcorn ready.