It's tourney time and while Penn State got snubbed for a bid, seven other Big Ten teams will compete for the national championship starting this Thursday. Here's a quick breakdown:
(3) Michigan State - The Spartans are in the very top-heavy Midwest region along with overall #1-seed Louisville and second-seeded Duke. They get the Horizon League champions Valparaiso in the first round of the tournament this year. The Crusaders are most well-known for their now-coach Bryce Drew's buzzer-beater to beat Ole Miss in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. If Sparty can get by the Valpo squad, they will take on the winner of Memphis and Middle Tennessee State/St. Mary's.
(2) Ohio State and (5) Wisconsin - The two teams who met for the Big Ten championship yesterday both get placed in the West region which is led by #1 Gonzaga. The Buckeyes, who took home the conference crown, get a first round matchup with Iona while Wisconsin gets the always upset-likely 12-5 matchup against Ole Miss, who upset Florida to get the SEC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
I wouldn't care if they just cancelled the Wisky game and let current bad boy of college basketball Marshall Henderson and Bo Ryan cagefight for the right to go onto the second round.
(4) Michigan and (11) Minnesota - Michigan, who has been ranked in the top-10 for most of the season, gets a four-seed in the South after an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament at the hands of Wisconsin. They draw 13th-seeded San Diego State in the first round.
Just below them, Minnesota avoided a First Four matchup and received a generous spot facing #6 UCLA in the first round. The Pac-12 was not great at all this year once again and despite the Bruins winning the regular-season title, they did not have a real stand-out win all season long. They lost to Oregon in the conference championship on Saturday night which might have cost them a higher seed. Many talking heads like Tubby Smith and company's chances to pull a first-round upset and maybe more.
(1) Indiana and (7) Illinois - The Big Ten's only top seed goes to regular season champion Indiana who will face the winner of Long Island and James Madison. A more-deserving #1-seed in my eyes, Miami, is the second-seed in this region.
That Miami team could face Illinois in the second round of the tournament provided that the Illini make it past Colorado in the first round. All I can say is thank goodness that this is a basketball matchup and not a football one.
So, for this morning's question: Who makes the deepest run into the tournament? Does the Big Ten put any teams in the Final Four after being the best league during the regular season? And does the eventual national champion come from one of these seven teams or somewhere else?
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