Day One of the Big Ten Tournament went mostly as expected -- Minnesota dispatched Rutgers by double-digits and Penn State put a merciful end to Nebrasketball's miserable season. Nebraska was technically the higher seed in that game, but 1) a #13 seed beating a #12 seed isn't much of an upset and 2) Penn State had looked far friskier in recent weeks than Nebrasketball, so it sure didn't seem like much of an upset.
Day Two is when the Big Ten Tournament really starts en masse, though with four games and eight teams in action. For Illinois and Indiana, today's games are final opportunities to impress the selection committee before the tournament field is unveiled on Sunday -- although given the caliber of opposition they face, maybe it's more accurate to say that this is a final opportunity not to disappoint the selection committee. Beating an injury-ravaged Michigan team or plucky-but-RPI-deficient Northwestern team isn't going to do a whole lot to make Illinois or Indiana look better. That said, losses would definitely reflect very poorly on them, which is something they certainly want to avoid at this point.
For Iowa and Ohio State, today's games aren't about locking up an NCAA bid (that job is done), but rather about improving the seed they get when the bracket is released on Sunday. Both teams have been in the 7-10 territory in most mock brackets of late, but a few wins here might be able to boost them to a slightly nicer portion of the bracket. That said, like Illinois and Indiana, wins today likely won't do that -- beating Penn State or Minnesota isn't going to turn many heads or get the RPI juices flowing. But wins today are necessary to set up games tomorrow against Purdue and Michigan State, games that could offer more benefit to Iowa and Ohio State.
Here's the schedule of games:
#8 Illinois vs #9 Michigan (11:00 AM CT, BTN)
#5 Iowa vs #13 Penn State (1:30 PM CT, BTN)
#7 Indiana vs #10 Northwestern (5:30 PM CT, ESPN2)
#6 Ohio State vs #11 Minnesota (7:30 PM CT, ESPN2)
We'll have a separate game thread for the Iowa-Penn State game, of course, but feel free to chat about the remaining BTT games right here.
The usual rules apply.