Conference Tourney Mini-Previews: Big Ten

Posted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2008

Next Up:  Big Ten Tournament.  Who can predict this tournament?  Every team has a flaw or three.  Of the top four seeds, Wisconsin runs a program system, MSU can’t win away from E. Lansing, Indiana is on the brink of implosion and Purdue plays a bunch of freshmen.  If we’re feeling sleepy next weekend, we’ll just turn over to one of these games for a certain sedative. 

Where:  Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
  Thursday – Sunday

Big 10 Tourney Bracket

The Favorite(s).  Wisconsin is the favorite because the Badgers went 16-2 and proved itself very proficient at beating other Big Ten teams.  The one team it couldn’t defeat in two attempts?  Purdue.  Guess who should be waiting on UW in the finals, assuming it can get past the MSU/OSU winner?  That’s right, Purdue.   

The Darkhorse.  Indiana.  Huge IF here.  Indiana is the darkhorse candidate, playing in a Hoosier-friendly environment, IF they can get over the funk they’ve been lost in since Dan Dakich took over as head coach.   Losing at Penn St. and getting obliterated by Michigan St. on consecutive weekends doesn’t portend well, but their talent cannot be denied. 

Bubble Buster Game.  Ohio St. is the only bubble team in the league this year, so they could use another win against Michigan St. on Friday.  Thad Matta has traditionally been a good tournament coach, and MSU simply cannot win games outside of Michigan, so we expect OSU to get this one.   

Cinderella.  Tough to say here, but how about Tubby’s Minnesota Gophers?  They get the easiest first round game, followed by a second round game with Team Turmoil.  A green Purdue team would stand in the way for a trip to the finals.  We’re not saying this will happen, but this is the best possibility.  It’s not our fault there are only about 2.5 decent teams in this league this year.

Games We Want to See.  Um, is none an acceptable answer?  If they came to pass, we’d watch an Indiana-Purdue rematch as well as a Michigan St. final against either of those teams.  We probably wouldn’t look forward to it, though.  And anything involving Wisconsin…  well, let’s just say that’s what Tivo is for. 

Champion.  We envision Wisconsin v. Purdue in the finals on Sunday, and we know that the Badgers can’t seem to get past the Boilermakers, so we like Purdue to cut down the nets with Robbie Hummels as the MVP. 

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