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Bracket Banter: Big Ten Review


Purdue: I’m essentially to the point where I’m ready to sharpie Purdue in as a 1 seed. Honestly, they’d have to lose at least 3 games of their next 6 to fall out of the 1 line, and I don’t think that’d be enough. I also don’t believe that Purdue loses that much. To end the season, they have five Q1 games, with 3 on the road and one Q2 game. The only team I’m truly confident about picking past round 1/2 in March from the Big Ten is the Boilermakers. All of their metrics point toward a 1 seed, and their floor is a 2 seed, but it would take an epic collapse to get there.

Should be in:

Rutgers: Rutgers has just kind of been playing solid basketball post-Purdue victory, and while they haven’t jumped up in the rankings or seed list much, they have built a solid resume. I have them on my 7 line currently, but they could end up pushing toward the high 5-line if they could put together several wins in a row. To end the season, they have three Q1 games, two Q2 games, and two Q3 games. Their floor is likely the 8/9 game, but if they somehow lost out, they could have a tenacious selection Sunday. They’re 8-7 in Q1/2 and have a Q3 loss, which is a solid resume, Their metrics are inside the top 35-40, and if they keep coasting as they have been recent, they should be in. I think they end up in the 6-7 line range.

Indiana: Indiana’s resume is similar to Rutgers in that they’re 8-7 in Q1/2, but the Hoosiers have managed to avoid a Q3/4 loss. From a metrics standpoint, IU is inside the top 30 and now has a win over Purdue to give them a marquee win for the year. To end the year, IU has five Q1 games in a row, and then they finish the year with two Q2 home games. I like them to figure it out and end up pushing toward a 4 seed which I believe is their ceiling. I think they end up on the 5 line come March.

Illinois: Yet another team floating on the 5-7 line, the problem with Illinois is they’re 7-7 in Q1/2, and their metrics are slightly worse than other teams around them. Right now, they have 1 loss to a team, not in the tournament, and they have a TON of opportunity left. They have five Q1 games left, one Q4 game, and 2 Q2 games. If they can win the 3 non-Q1 games and get 2-3 wins in the Q1 games, they should move up. I think they end up around where I have them now, maybe moving up to the 6 line.

Should be in, but work to do:

Maryland: The Terp's season has been an up-and-down year; they sprinted out of the gates and got to 8-0 before the meat of their schedule started. Once it did, they immediately dropped 3 games, 2 vs. top 2 seeds, kind of bouncing around the rest of the year. They’re playing Penn State close as I type this, so that result won’t be in the article when it's posted. That being said, Maryland has three Q1s, three Q2s, and a Q4 game to end the year. I think that to make the tournament; they need at least 1 more good win, so beating one of Ohio State or Penn State on the road to end the year will be important. Currently, all 8 of their losses are Q1, and they have a 6-8 Q1/2 record. Their metrics are roughly around #30, which will be good enough to get them in. I like the Terps to move up a seed line or two if they can avoid adding any bad losses. Maryland’s a solid 7 seed, and I believe they could end up getting close to the 5 line because that group is close. They’re roughly 8 team points away from the #1 6 seed (SMC) and 12 points away from the #4 5 seed (Indiana) for me right now.

Iowa: Another team with a rollercoaster of a season, Iowa’s been all over the place this year. Their metrics are slightly lower than Maryland’s, and they have that epic Q4 loss to EIU. Outside of that, they have a record of 10-8 in Q1/2 and no other losses in Q3/4. Coming up for the Hawkeyes, they have three Q1 games, two Q2 games, and 3 Q3 games left to play. To get into the tournament, 3-4 gets them into the bracket IMO, 4-3 keeps them away from the close bubble, 5-2 gets them in the 7-9 range, and 6-1/7-0 likely gets them moving up from their 6 seed position. Looking at their schedule, Outside of the trip to Bloomington, at Northwestern is the most difficult game left, and I see a real shot for them to go 6-1. I like them between a 5-8 seed.


Northwestern: I’m starting to pull for Northwestern to figure it out; just like seeing unexpected teams make at-large bids, it adds excitement. With that being said, the Wildcats have a great resume to this point and could move up to the “work to do” category with their next win. The problem for them, however, is they have a BRUTAL schedule the rest of the way. They play 6 tournament teams and one bubble team to close the year, and that bubble team is Penn State. It should be a fun finish to the year, and the 8-7 Q1/2 record will weigh well down the stretch. Win 3 of their last 7th to be safely in; 2 wins will probably get them close to the cut line. From a metrics standpoint, the Wildcats are in the mid-40s and have a poor SOS. It’s likely going to be a stressful next month for the Northwestern faithful.

Michigan State: The Spartans are due to move up in the bracket, but they have a losing Q1 record of 6-7. They have a Q2/3 record of 5-2 with a loss in each and 4-0 in Q4. Recently, they have started letting losses pile up, and now they’re trending toward the bubble. Their metrics are all over the place and put them in the mid-40s right now. A strong SOS of #3 could really help this team when comparisons start being made in March. Their remaining games: four Q1, one Q4, and two Q2. I believe that if they can win the three non-Q1 games they're in, I’d also advise them to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor. My gut tells me that the spartans won’t be left out because of their 6 Q1 wins, and it’s more just difficult to seed them right now. win tomorrow over Ohio State, and they’ll start to move up the bracket some.

Wisconsin: Currently, Wisconsin is the #42 team in my bracket, meaning they’re not playing in Dayton, but they're close, and they remain on the 11 line. A MASSIVE problem for the Badgers is that their metrics aren’t anywhere near the top 50, and the average is in the upper 60s. The Badgers have a losing Q1/2 record of 8-9 but no bad losses outside of the top two quadrants. The Badgers are in Nebraska today, but then they have three Q1 games, two Q2 games, and a Q3 game left on the schedule. To make the bracket, they need to win 4 of 7. I think their ceiling is a 9 seed if they win out, but my thought is they end up a low 10 seed or a high 11. They also have an offense problem, and I think we’ll see a quick exit if they make the bracket.

Close to Eliminated:

Penn State: 2-7 Q1, 3-4 Q2 equals a resume that needs a ton of help. Yes, they’re 9-0 in Q3/4, but their best win is Indiana, and they have lost 4 in a row. They do have five Q1 opportunities after today’s game in College Park, balanced by one Q3 game left, They can only lose one more, and it cannot be to Minnesota. The good news is that three of their remaining Q1 games are at home; let’s see if they can figure it out. Their metrics are actually better than that of Wisconsin, so it could be a fun case study only if they can get some wins.

Ohio State: What an epic collapse from the Buckeyes. Their result metrics are abysmal, and their predictive metrics are starting to decline. They have a Q4 loss and are a total of 5-12 in Q1/2. They likely need to win 5 of 7 down the stretch to get in, and their schedule isn’t going to make that easy. Win a couple more games before even getting hopeful that you have a chance, Buckeyes. The good news? Once basketball is over, football is getting closer!

Michigan: Again, The good news? Once basketball is over, football is getting closer! A record Their resume is almost identical to OSU’s, they’re 6-9 in Q1/2 and have a Q4 loss, Their metrics are slightly worse than the Buckeyes, but they’re trending in a decent direction, having won their last 3. IF they can find a way to beat IU and Wisconsin in these next two, things could get VERY interesting for the Wolverines. Five Q1 games and two Q2 games remain.

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