There's just one more game left against Indiana before the men's basketball team goes to the Big Ten tournament. Seeding and who you get paired with can mean a lot toward how far you advance in any tournament, so let's take a look at how the seedings will probably shake out. First, a look at the Big Ten Tournament bracket. It was hard to fit it on the page, so if you can't make it out, go here to the Big Ten website.
Due to our dismal record, we'll probably be tied with Northwestern for last place in the conference. The tie breaking rules suggest we will earn the #10 seed since we split with the Wildcats and our next best win was Iowa compared to theirs, Minnesota. Now, if Northwestern upsets Purdue and we lose to Indiana this weekend that will ensure us the #11 seed.
If we're the #10 seed we'll play the #7 seed, and if we're the #11 seed we'll play the #6 seed. Now, here is what I project happening this weekend.
Indiana beats Penn State
Purdue beats Northwestern
Ohio State beats Michigan
Wisconsin beats Michigan State
Illinois beats Iowa
If all that happens, there will be a three way log jam for fifth through seventh in the Big Ten between Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan state. According to the tie breaking rules, Iowa will get the #5 seed based on their 2-1 record against Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan State has a record of 2-2 against Iowa and Michigan, so they will get the #6 seed, and Michigan will take the #7 seed with their 1-2 record against the other two. So if Penn State lands in the #10 seed they will most likely play Michigan in the first round. If Northwestern upsets Purdue, we will most likely play Michigan State in the first round.
Neither matchup is a good one for the Lions. Both teams beat Penn State by at least 20 points this year. And both teams seem to be playing better basketball toward the end of the season.
Obviously, the best scenario for Penn State would be to get matched up with Iowa somehow since the Lions are the only team other than Northwestern they have beaten. In order to have that happen, Penn State needs the following to happen
Get the #11 Seed
Penn State loses to Indiana
Northwestern beats Purdue
For Iowa to Get the #6 Seed
Iowa beats Illinois
Michigan or Michigan State win, but not both
This scenario would also pay off in the second round if the Lions happen to advance. With the #10 seed they would get Wisconsin in the second round, but with the #11 seed they would draw Indiana in the second round.
Anyway, it's just fun to look. We'll know where everyone is seeded on Saturday night, and we'll take a closer look at the tournament then.