This is a weekly column for BTPowerhouse that will cover a variety of Big Ten topics that might not deserve a detailed breakdown, but deserve mention. It will be similar to a news roundup with more thoughts and analysis.
So, let’s jump into our Morning Power Bar.
1. ESPN updates its bracketology.
With the season quickly approaching, Joe Lunardi spent some time updating his bracketology projections for next March. The Big Ten landed nine teams in the field and had one more closing missing. Here’s the full list:
Big Ten In 9/15 ESPN Bracketology By Seed:
- No. 2 - Michigan
- No. 2 - Purdue
- No. 3 - Illinois
- No. 4 - Ohio State
- No. 6 - Maryland
- No. 6 - Michigan State
- No. 10 - Indiana
- No. 11 - Iowa (Last Four In)
- No. 11 - Rutgers (Last Four In)
- Next Four Out - Wisconsin
Obviously, that’s quite a performance for the Big Ten. Having nine teams make the cut is remarkably by itself, but having four top four seeds is pretty impressive as well. We will have to wait and see how these projections hold up.
2. Spartan players will be getting stipends.
The NIL announcements seem to continue daily and Michigan State had a huge one earlier this month. United Wholesale Mortgage announced every member of the basketball team would be receiving a $500 stipend moving forward.
United Wholesale Mortgage announces it will provide a $500 stipend per month for all MSU football and men’s basketball players, totaling $6,000 per player— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) September 8, 2021
That should be quite a selling point for Tom Izzo and his staff. And don’t expect that to be the end of things, either. This is going to become common across college athletics.
3. Conference expansion continues.
While not as noteworthy as the Oklahoma and Texas move to the SEC, the Big 12 made some of its own news recently. The conference announced it would be adding BYU, Cincinnati, and Houston to its ranks. The move will take place in 2023, which means there will be an overlap with Oklahoma and Texas.
BYU, Cincinnati, Houston & UCF’s 1st season in Big 12 will be 2023, per @ActionNetworkHQ— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 10, 2021
They'll play 2 years w/Oklahoma & Texas still there pic.twitter.com/8UqDvuu5G1
This probably ends this round of conference expansion for the Power Five, but it could mean big things for college basketball. Houston has become a powerhouse in recent years, including a Final Four appearance last April, and BYU and Cincinnati have been consistent as well. In the race for the best conference in college basketball, adding these three should help the Big 12 significantly.
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