Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big Ten Tournament


#8 Iowa vs. #9 Michigan
Winner plays #1 Wisconsin

#4 Michigan State vs. #5 Ohio State

#7 Penn State vs. #10 Illinois
Winner plays #2 Purdue

#6 Minnesota vs. #11 Northwestern
Winner plays #3 Indiana

Favorite - Wisconsin. The Badgers have had a great season - they went 24-4, with their only losses being to Duke, Marquette, and Purdue twice. They have a formidable front line and, as always, play very solid defense. They struggle finding a consistent scorer on offense at times, but they have enough good players and an effective system so they can get by. Wisconsin runs into problems when they face teams like Duke (lost by 24) and Marquette that are guard heavy, but as the Big Ten doesn't really have any teams like that, Wisconsin has a great chance to win this tournament and possibly earn a one seed.

Sleeper - Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have had a pretty successful season, 18-12, in their first year under Tubby Smith. The combination of a solid front line in Dan Coleman and Spencer Tollackson and the leadership of senior guard Lawrence McKenzie, the Gophers have enough firepower to make a run. They also caught a break in the bracket - Northwestern in the first round, and if they advance they get the imploding Indiana Hoosiers in the second round.

Most Intriguing Match-up - Michigan State vs. Ohio State. They just played on Sunday, where the Buckeyes knocked off the struggling Spartans to keep their Tournament hopes alive. Ohio State probably needs to get this one to get in, especially with San Diego winning the WCC and South Alabama losing in the semis of the Sun Belt.

My Pick - Wisconsin, mostly by default. I get less and less impressed with Michigan State every time i see them play, Indiana is collapsing as we speak, and I don't think Purdue, with their inexperience, can beat Wisconsin three times in a season, especially when the third game will be the Big Ten Championship game.

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