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Big Ten Tournament Preview

I'm getting tons of google hits from people looking for the bracket to the Big Ten Tournament. You know me, I'm a man of the people. So here is a preview of the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament set to tip off in Chicago on Thursday.

Game 1

The Players: #8 Michigan vs. #9 Minnesota

Regular Season: Michigan won 2-0

Game 1 Recap: The Wolverines pulled out a tight 82-80 win at home behind G Dion Harris who scored a season high 27 points. Michigan trailed much of the game before Harris turned it on with six points in the closing minutes.

Game 2 Recap: Michigan cranked up the defense of the Golden Gophers holding them 32% FG shooting in their 62-51 win. Over half of Minnesota's points came off the bench from G/F Jamal Abu-Shamala who poured in 27 on the night. He was on fire behind the arc hitting 5-of-8.

Winner Plays: #1 seed Ohio State on Friday.

BSD Prediction: There is a huge drop off from the #8 seed to the #9 seed this year. Michigan wins 68-60

Game 2

The Players: #7 Michigan State vs. #10 Northwestern

Regular Season: Michigan State won 1-0

Game Recap: The Spartans dominated every facet of the game in their only meeting this year holding the Wildcats to 36% FG shooting and only 25% from behind the arc. The most telling statistic that illustrates how much Sparty dominated this game was rebounds. MSU pulled down 35 to only 10 for Northwestern. On the offensive glass the Wildcats were outphysicaled 14-4.

Winner Plays: #2 seed Wisconsin on Friday

BSD Prediction: Michigan State started off the season slow but really came on toward the end and almost upset Wisconsin last weekend. This is a dangerous team that could do some damage in this tournament and beyond. Sparty wins 82-55.

Game 3

The Players: #6 Illinois vs. #11 Penn State

Regular Season: Illinois won 1-0.

Game Recap: Playing without starting point guard Ben Luber and an injured Jamelle Cornley, the Lions were completely overmatched in this one. Illinois jumped out to a 9-2 lead and never looked back. They picked apart the Lion zone with the precision of a surgeon and outrebounded Penn State 32-17.

Winner Plays: #3 Indiana on Friday

BSD Prediction: Penn State was riding high after breaking their losing streak against Iowa, but Indiana brought them back down to earth. Illinois put on a clinic of how to beat the zone defense in the first meeting between these two. Penn State is going to have to close up the holes if they are going to stand a chance. I'm not optimistic. Illinois is still pissed about the Nittany Lions ending their home winning streak last year. Illinois wins 75-64.

Game 5 (on Friday)

The Players: #4 Iowa vs. #5 Purdue

Regular Season: Iowa won 1-0

Game Recap: The Hawkeyes easily handled the Boilermakers in route to a 78-59 victory. Purdue's leading scorer, Carl Landry, was held to just 9 points before fouling out of the game. Iowa dominated inside by outscoring Purdue in the paint 32-16. Five players scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes.

Winner Plays: Winner of Game 4 between Ohio State and Game 1 winner.

BSD Predicts: The first meeting between these two was played in Iowa where they Hawkeyes have a decided advantage. Now they play on neutral hardwood. Purdue avenges their regular season loss in this one winning 65-64.