Big Ten Conference Tourney Preview

WISCONSIN SEEMS HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE BIG 10 FIELD AS TOURNEY BEGINS IN CHICAGO

Our final major conference preview is kind of a blending of early week reports. Wisconsin has dominated the Big 10 the way Arizona dominated the Pac 12. But, there seems to be some depth to the Big 10 in a way that reflects the Big 12 (seven teams from the Big 10 are currently slated for Dance invitations according to Joe Lunardi). And the ACC? Well, there are always concerns that a popular ESPN conference will be overrated once the music starts in the Dance.

Let's see if our key categories help shed any light on what's going on here. This really could be Wisconsin and a bunch of pretenders. But, there's always hope that the Midwest will represent in the brackets. 

BRACKETOLOGY
Wisconsin is projected to be a #2 seed
Maryland is projected to be a #3 seed
Iowa is projected to be a #7 seed
Michigan State is projected to be a #7 seed
Ohio State is projected to be a #8 seed
Purdue is projected to be a #11 seed
Indiana is projected to be a #12 seed (currently one of "the last four in")

Joe Lunardi has Maryland as a #3 seed, even though stats and computers have them more like a #8. They did manage to win some close games. And, they did post some impressive results when winning. Some monster losses killed their rating. It's very tough to take Maryland seriously as a #3 seed if you watched them play on the road! You can see that, beneath Maryland, is a bunch of teams rated at #7 or worse. The Terps belong down there according to informed betting influences. Do any of those lower teams deserve to be lifted? They'll get a chance to prove that this week.

Here's this week's schedule in Chicago...

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Wednesday's First Round
(#13) Penn State vs. (#12) Nebraska
(#14) Rutgers vs. (#11) Minnesota

Thursday's Second Round
(#9) Michigan vs. (#8) Illinois
(#5) Iowa vs. Nebraska/Penn State winner
(#10) Northwestern vs. (#7) Indiana
(#6) Ohio State vs. Minnesota/Rutgers winner

Friday's Quarterfinals
(#1) Wisconsin vs. Illinois/Michigan winner
(#4) Purdue vs. Iowa/Nebraska/Penn State survivor
(#2) Maryland vs. Indiana/Northwestern winner
(#3) Michigan State vs. Ohio State/Minnesota/Rutgers survivor

Saturday afternoon's semifinals match the winners in the order above (1-4 and 2-3 if the favorites survive). The championship game will be played Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS

Wisconsin is great, then we have a "name in the hat" situation pretty much down to Indiana (and possibly further). That will give the Hoosiers a chance to move safely off the bubble and into a better seed. Beating Maryland will certainly impress Lunardi!

To give you a sense of how jumbled things are, we're going to run the conference margin averages with some of the Big 10 tournament seeding in parenthesis. You'll see why Maryland isn't respected by statheads...and why the league such a mess below Wisconsin.

CONFERENCE MARGIN AVERAGES
Wisconsin +12.2
Ohio State +5.4 (a #6 seed)
Iowa +5.3 (a #5 seed)
Michigan State +5.2 (a #3 seed)
Purdue +2.9 (a #4 seed)
Maryland +1.4 (a #2 seed!!)
Indiana +0.3
Illinois +0.2
Minnesota -1.9
Michigan -2.7
Penn State -3.9
Northwestern -5.5
Nebraska -6.8
Rutgers -12.2
So, the #2 seed should probably only be a #6 seed in terms of real neutral court ability, while the #6 seed might actually be second best!

JIM HURLEY and his full team of experts are looking to exploit some very big opportunities in this particular tournament. His Big 10 sources on site will be checking in with great information. Don't forget that this event has seen countless surprises over the years. Oddsmakers hate this tourney because there are some years where they can't even get the favorites right!

Possibilities for NETWORK on the Thursday schedule besides the Big 10 include...

*Day-Night Quadrupleheaders in the ACC, Big East, Big 12, SEC and Pac 12!
*Day-Night Quadrupleheaders in the Atlantic 10, Mountain West, Big West and CUSA!
*How about Cleveland/San Antonio in a clash of red hot NBA teams!

This is it. Thursday is the single biggest day of tournament action in the month of March! There are only 16 games each Thursday and Friday in the Dance. There will be 20 games involving "The Big Five" conferences alone, and then a bunch more in mid-majors. Click here for Thursday's early action.

You can purchase BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card all the way through MARCH MADNESS. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours Thursday. Remember to take care of business EARLY every day this week because of all the afternoon action. That's more important on Thursday March 12 than any other day!

Our tournament coverage continues Friday with big game previews as created by the brackets. We can't know yet where upsets are going to hit...so we'll pick the best matchups as they become clear. Friday might be Virginia/Louisville in the ACC or Baylor/Kansas in the Big 12. Saturday might bring us back to the Big 10, or cause a visit to the SEC. Sunday will showcase the most appealing championship game on the card.

The most thrilling week of wall-to-wall tournament basketball is here. Be sure you get all the BIG JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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