We knew for a while that Iowa needed help to get a top-4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and a double-bye (i.e., no games on Wednesday or Thursday). SPOILER ALERT: Iowa didn't get that help. Any one of three results in Saturday and Sunday's games would have put Iowa into the #4 seed -- Indiana beating Michigan State, Illinois beating Purdue, or Ohio State beating Wisconsin. Instead, Michigan State, Purdue, and Wisconsin won. So it goes.
If Iowa hadn't melted down in the second half against Michigan State, or laid an egg against Northwestern in Evanston, or flopped against Minnesota at home, they wouldn't have been in a position of needing help to get a top-4 seed. But there's nothing we can do about those losses now -- we can just appreciate the fact that Iowa is on a six-game winning streak and playing some of their absolute best basketball of the season right now -- which is a pretty good time of year to be playing your best, I'd say.
As a result, while Iowa finished in a 12-6 tie (with Michigan State and Purdue) for 3rd place in the Big Ten standings, tiebreakers (Iowa lost head-to-head tiebreakers with both the Spartans and the Boilermakers) kick them into the 5th seed at the Big Ten Tournament. This year's expansion of the Big Ten to 14 teams means that the conference tournament will start on Wednesday, with the #11 seed playing the #14 seed and the #12 seed playing the #13 seed. The winners of those games then advance to Thursday's action with the teams seeded 5th through 10th.
Here's the full bracket:
Iowa will play the winner of the #12 Nebraska versus #13 Penn State game on Thursday at approximately 1:30 PM CT. BTN has the TV coverage of that game. If Iowa wins, they'll play #4 Purdue on Friday at approximately 1:30 PM. ESPN2 has TV coverage of that game.
Here's the full schedule:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11
#12 Nebraska vs #13 Penn State (3:30 PM CT; ESPN2)
#11 Minnesota vs #14 Rutgers (6:00 PM CT; BTN)
THURSDAY, MARCH 12
#8 Illinois vs #9 Michigan (11:00 AM CT; BTN)
#5 Iowa vs #12 Nebraska or #13 Penn State (1:30 PM CT; BTN)
#7 Indiana vs #10 Northwestern (5:30 PM CT; ESPN2)
#6 Ohio State vs #11 Minnesota or #14 Rutgers (8:00 PM CT; ESPN2)
FRIDAY, MARCH 13
Game A) #1 Wisconsin vs #8 Illinois or #9 Michigan (11:00 AM CT; ESPN)
Game B) #4 Purdue vs #5 Iowa or #12 Nebraska or #13 Penn State (1:30 PM CT; ESPN)
Game C) #2 Maryland vs #7 Indiana or #10 Northwestern (5:30 PM CT; BTN)
Game D) #3 Michigan State vs #6 Ohio State or #11 Minnesota or #14 Rutgers (8:00 PM CT; BTN)
SATURDAY, MARCH 14
Game E) Winner of Game A vs Winner of Game B (12:00 PM CT; CBS)
Game F) Winner of Game C vs Winner of Game D (2:30 PM CT; CBS)
SUNDAY, MARCH 15
Winner of Game E vs Winner of Game F (2:30 PM CT; CBS)