Inside the Hall’s Big Ten Tournament preview

  • 03/13/2013 12:03 pm in

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In lieu of our traditional What to Expect series, Inside the Hall will be previewing the Big Ten Tournament as a whole. The event tips off on Thursday afternoon:

2013 Big Ten Tournament bracket
Location: Chicago (United Center)
Dates: March 14-17
Teams with a bye: Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Television: BTN, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS

Most friendly path to Sunday: Ohio State. This comes down to taking a look at the top four seeds and their Friday matchups. The league champion, Indiana, will meet either Minnesota or Illinois. Both appear to be NCAA Tournament teams. Wisconsin will get the winner of Michigan and Penn State. The Wolverines were once ranked No. 1 in the country. Michigan State will play the winner of Iowa and Northwestern. The Hawkeyes desperately need to beat the Spartans to get into the conversation for a tournament bid. That leaves Ohio State, who will play the winner of Purdue and Nebraska. That’s a much more favorable draw than the league champion, Indiana, received.

Most entertaining first day matchup: Illinois-Minnesota. You can make an argument for Michigan-Penn State because the Nittany Lions knocked off the Wolverines in their last meeting, but the nod goes to the Fighting Illini and Golden Gophers. The reason is simple: No other conference tournament in the country will offer a day one matchup featuring a pair of NCAA Tournament teams that were once ranked in the top ten. When at their best, both of these teams are capable of beating anyone. Illinois owns wins over Gonzaga, Indiana and Ohio State. Minnesota has beaten Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Team with the most to prove: Michigan. The Wolverines are squarely in the tournament, but after going 5-5 over their final 10 league games, have plenty to play for in Chicago. A slip up against Penn State could drop them to a No. 4 seed, but a four-day run and tournament championship solidifies them as a No. 2. More importantly, Michigan needs to build some confidence away from the friendly confines of the Crisler Center. The Wolverines won three neutral court games early in the season, but feasted on the bottom half of the Big Ten for four league road wins.

Players to keep an eye on:

· Aaron Craft, Ohio State: Craft has been dynamite offensively down the stretch and has emerged as a legitimate second scoring option behind Deshaun Thomas. Over Ohio State’s last four games, Craft is averaging 13.2 points and is 19-of-33 from the field. If that level of production continues, the Buckeyes will be a tough out for anybody.
· Victor Oladipo, Indiana: After finishing as the runner-up to Trey Burke for Big Ten player of the year, there could be even more motivation for Oladipo to try to lead the Hoosiers to their first conference tournament championship.
· Michigan’s freshmen: When the Wolverines are playing their best, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas are finishing open looks, holding their own defensively and taking some of the pressure off of Burke. That hasn’t always happened since Michigan climbed to No. 1.

Bids on the line: Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin are NCAA Tournament locks. Illinois and Minnesota are likely in, but the winner of Thursday’s game will feel a bit more comfortable about its standing. Iowa is on the outside of most projections at this point, but a 9-9 Big Ten record and 22 wins could give the committee something to think about. The .500 league record has already been achieved, but the Hawkeyes arrive in Chicago with 20 wins. To get to 22, they’ll need to win two games. That means beating Northwestern, which seems like a given, and Michigan State. An Iowa win over Michigan State could push the Big Ten to eight NCAA Tournament bids.

Filed to:

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Here we go again playing a Minnesota team (if they beat Illinois) this year with something to prove. I hope we throttle them if that ends up being our opponent. We owe them still for the buzzer beater from a few years back.

  • I have to admit, while it may be a tougher draw, I love IU’s all revenge game bracket. First Illinois/Minnesota, then maybe Wisconsin? Wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • HoosierCruz

    Minn is going to be in foreign territory when they start getting called for over-the-back fouls, body checks, arm slapping on a neutral court. Although, it would be better for the B1G to have more teams in the tournament, so they may just get to play their style one more time before the big dance.

  • Mooks

    Its definitely the toughest road, but I’d rather have a rollercoaster ride of a tournament rather than some easy #2 or #3 seed path. I WANT TO BEAT BO RYAN SO BAD!!!

  • Mooks

    Minnesota and Illinois is a toss up. Can go either way.

  • Eastwood88_2

    No chance we lose if they call fouls on treavor

  • Earl Scheib

    I believe it’s time for some good ‘ole fashioned Hoosier ass kickin’ my friends.

  • inLinE6

    It’s the time that we should beat any team at any time and anywhere.

  • inLinE6

    It’s the time that we should beat any team at any time and anywhere.

  • OldIUGymnast

    I would argue that the BIG tournament doesn’t matter to IU and we would be better off with an early exit…. But that is my logical brain talking. Emotionally, I want them to play wire to wire and win the thing.

  • pcantidote

    I lost interest in this tournament when it became clear that our first game wasn’t gonna be vs Purdouche. Wanted the three game sweep.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Come on, guys, give the Gophers a break. After all, they are in hockey country.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Come on, guys, give the Gophers a break. After all, they are in hockey country.

  • You forget that we’re still talking about B1G refs here. I don’t see any change until we get to the Big Dance.

  • plane1972

    Oddly, Purdue is fairly low on my revenge list right now. I’d rather put a beatdown on Butler, Illinois and Wisconsin, at this point. If we’d handled those three games, Minnesota and Ohio State would not have been so salty to me.

  • SCHoosier

    Going into conference play..and knowing how tough the league would be this year..I bet a buddy that whoever won the regular season would not also win the tournament. Kinda sorry I made that bet now):

  • onceafink

    I just hope we play with passion for as many games as possible. This team can’t play like they did in most of the Mich. game, or we’ll lose for sure. Yes, they put it although at the end, but I want to see some fire from them!

  • calbert40

    I agree. I don’t really care who we play on Friday (I think it will be Illinois, btw), but I want a piece of Bo Ryan and Wisky! If UM beats them, I’m gonna be ticked! C’mon Badgers. We have some unfinished business to attend to!

  • calbert40

    I agree. I don’t really care who we play on Friday (I think it will be Illinois, btw), but I want a piece of Bo Ryan and Wisky! If UM beats them, I’m gonna be ticked! C’mon Badgers. We have some unfinished business to attend to!

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I just can’t muster up much give-a-crap about this thing. I’ve never been a fan. I think it’s best to maybe win one game and then lose to get the rest.

    But on the day, I’m sure I won’t think that way. Who knows, maybe it’s a good practice exercise for the real tourney.

  • HoosierTrav

    I want Illinois so bad. Then I want Wisconsin. Then I want. Then I want OSU. I would very much like to avenge these losses in this order. After reading how terrible the Michigan fans are on the ESPN message boards, I wouldn’t mind beating them 3 times. They have moved to just a notch below the UK fans in my mind. God are they delusional about their programs.

  • plane1972

    Fairly sure, by what we heard with the Senior Day speeches, that this team wants to be the first to win that tournament and it would be fitting for them. Personally, I agree with you because I think it is very hard to go on a 10-game winning streak (11 if you count Michigan win) to end the season when you consider the quality of competition continues to ramp up. Survive and advance!

  • John

    I hope if we do end up playing Wisconsin at some point in the tournament, that we learned something from our loss to them in Bloomington.
    Kind of ironic that IU will play one of the two teams that gave us our only road losses.

  • I think you play every game to win it, as passionately and seriously as you can. I think the only way to guarantee going deep in the NCAA tournament is if you are consistently motivated by only one thing: victory. Get in the mindset that this or that game doesn’t really matter, and I think you’re setting yourself up for failure. I say: let’s just win out and leave nothing to chance.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    …I figured it’s time for me to start playing ball…

  • defendtherock

    I need to ‘borrow’ a username and password from someone so I can watch the game on espn.com Friday. I have a satellite, and they don’t offer viewing live events online unless you have a select cable network. Can somebody hook a brother up?

  • Hoosier Pete

    I think this team needs/wants to win this tournament. An early loss is not good. And according to Rick Bozich, who was on the recent I-Hall pod cast, teams that do better in their conference tournament do better in the NCAAs. He did a lot of statistical work on it. So, no, I don’t think the Hoosiers can overlook this tournament and take a loss for the sake of rest. They should build on the momentum from the regular season and take care of business one game at a time. I personally would love to see them play Illinois to avenge that game, Michigan to beat them a third time, and then Ohio State. That would be a killer matchup in the finals.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I doubt WI can beat MI again, unfortunately. It helps IU for two reasons if they do: 1) IU wants revenge against them, and 2) it’s hard to beat a team like MI 3 times in a season!

    MI didn’t get to play WI at home and WI still needed a half-court buzzer beater to send it to OT.

  • Snookafly

    Strap, God wants you on the floor.

  • Gregory, and then Ohio State for the championship. Vengeance is IU’s!

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Part of the reason Bo Ryan won COY is because he had an easier schedule: IU once, Michigan once.

  • mihoosier2

    U of M ranked #6 nationally but seeded #5 in the BTT is an amazing stat. I’ve said all year that team is “fools gold.”

  • dtfreed

    It seems the 1st round of games are upside down. The lessor seeds should be at the top and work down to the better/higher seeds. So the #1 plays the winner of the 11-6 and so on.

  • dtfreed

    It seems the 1st round of games are upside down. The lessor seeds should be at the top and work down to the better/higher seeds. So the #1 plays the winner of the 11-6 and so on.

  • plane1972

    After reading the article in the Star today about Purdue and Butler fans whining about IU’s resurgence, Purdue is back at the top of my list. Butler is not far behind.

  • plane1972

    After reading the article in the Star today about Purdue and Butler fans whining about IU’s resurgence, Purdue is back at the top of my list. Butler is not far behind.

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    I hate conference tourneys, nothing more than a money grab, but if IU avenges three losses against Illanoy, Honey badger, OSU how can they not be the overall #1 seed?

  • Anyone know if the B1G will use the same tournament format as the SEC when the B1G goes to 14 teams?

  • pcantidote

    Welcome back. Purdue fans are the most pathetic red headed step children on earth. I call them the little Napoleons because they have a clinical complex about being the little number 2 in the state, if they are even number 2.