Game 7: #1 Michigan vs. #9 Michigan St.
A rematch of the last game of the season for both teams. Last week, the Michigan St. Spartans hosted the second-ranked Wolverines and defeated them, 70-64. Though they still aren’t a lock to get in, their victory over Michigan (14-3) definitely helps their case. If the Spartans can knock off the Wolverines again, their chances of getting in should dramatically increase.
The Wolverines are looking to get one of the 1-seeds in the NCAA Tournament field. A loss here could really hurt their chances, as Gonzaga and Baylor are essentially locked in to get two of the top seeds.
There’s a lot to gain and lose for both teams in this game. I think it will be one of, if not the top games in this round.
I think Michigan just has too much firepower. The regular-season Big Ten champs pull away late and end the game with a double-digit win.
Game 8: #4 Purdue vs. #5 Ohio St.
Purdue (13-6) surprised a lot of people this year. They were picked to finish near the middle or bottom half of the conference. Instead, the Boilermakers finished their season winning five straight games, landing them the 4th seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Ohio St. is probably looking at Purdue thinking that is their spot. Ohio St. was in the top four all season until they stumbled at the end of the season.
These two teams have played twice this year, and the Boilermakers took both games. I think the Buckeyes will get some revenge on Purdue here. The third time’s the charm, right?
Prediction: Ohio St.
Game 9: #2 Illinois vs. #7 Rutgers
This is the game I feel will be the biggest mismatch of the round. Illinois (16-4) has been red hot for a while now. They have one 11 of their past 12 games, including four straight. They even defeated Michigan without their star player, Ayo Dosunmu, by 23 points in Michigan.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Illinois is the favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament. I think they roll through Rutgers without much of a problem, despite losing to them earlier in the season.
Game 10: #3 Iowa vs. #6 Wisconsin
Game three between the Iowa and Wisconsin basketball teams. Iowa has taken both of the first two matchups, but I think we can all agree that the final game in Iowa City had an iffy ending. With some very questionable calls keeping the Hawkeyes in the game, the Badgers just didn’t have enough in the tank to win.
After the game, head coach Greg Gard and several of the players showed some frustration with some of the calls after the loss. I think the Badgers will be looking forward to the chance to match up with the Hawkeyes again.
I think that game gave this team some motivation. It may be my Wisconsin basketball fandom, but I think the Badgers can pull this game out, restoring some faith in this Badgers team and shocking the Big Ten.