Conference tournament time is upon us and I am too fucking excited. The Big Ten is as deep as it’s ever been, so this tournament is about to be sick.
Minnesota and Northwestern kick us off at 6:30 PM Wednesday. Minnesota closed the season with a thrilling late comeback before ultimately losing in OT to Rutgers. Marcus Carr, the third-highest scorer in the conference this season, was held to just 7 points in that one. The Golden Gophers will need more from him to make a run this week. Northwestern had an interesting season, winning their first three conference games, then losing their next 13, before finishing the season on another three-game win streak. One of those three wins was over Minnesota on 2/25, 67-59. Whoever wins this one will have a date with Ohio State on Thursday.
Penn State & Nebraska play the late game Wednesday night. For the worst team in the conference, the Cornhuskers aren’t all that bad. They blew out my Scarlet Knights last week, and took Illinois to OT a few weeks ago. These teams actually split the season series, with Nebraska winning in State College 62-61 on 2/14 and the Nittany Lions returning the favor in Nebraska a week later, 86-83.
Maryland squandered a 29-13 first-half lead over Penn State to lose 66-61 in College Park on Sunday. That dropped them to the #8 seed where they will face red-hot Michigan State at 11:30 AM Thursday. MSU has looked shaky at times this season, but finished their season with a 5-2 run including wins over Ohio State, Illinois, and a win over Michigan on Sunday. If the Spartans manage to win this one, they’ll face the Wolverines for the third time in nine days on Friday. However, the Terrapins beat down on Michigan State in their only meeting on 2/28, 73-55.
Rutgers had an up-and-down season but finished on a strong note with their OT win at Minnesota on Saturday. They swept the season series with Indiana, winning the 1/24 contest in Bloomington 74-70, and then at the RAC a month later 74-63. The Hoosiers haven’t won since February 17th, losing their last five games to close the regular season.
The top 6 seeds’ matchups are all TBD as of right now. Ohio State and Wisconsin will take on the winners of the Wednesday games, and then the top four teams will take on Thursdays’ victors. All six of the top seeds are currently in the AP Top 25:
This is gonna be a fun week.