Big Ten Conference Tournament Preview

March 9, 2021by Lobo Grande0
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Big Ten Conference Tournament Preview

Big Ten Conference Tournament Preview: Ayo Dosunmu vs. Micah Potter & Tyler Wahl - Indiana Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers

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Call me biased as a Big Ten fan, but I think this will be our most fun tournament this week. Hot take alert I know!

But how could it not be? You have 1 and 2 seeds littered all over the place. Tournament teams everywhere you look. It should be a wild ride in Indianapolis, and I personally can’t wait.

Let’s have a look at this stacked college basketball bracket.

The Bracket:

2021 Big Ten Conference Tournament Bracket Presented by SoFi

Who’s Winning This Thing?

Welp, your guess is as good as mine. Kidding, kind of. Here’s a look at the odds according to FanDuel:

Big Ten Conference: Big Ten Conference Tournament Winner 2020-2021 - Odds from FanDuel

The team that immediately jumps out at me is Illinois. They are coming in on a 4-game win streak that includes a domination over Michigan and a big win over Ohio State. They face the winner of Indiana and Rutgers, which will be a non-issue. After that, it’s either Iowa or Wisconsin most likely, teams they have already beat this season and I think can absolutely beat again. They’ve put together big wins against every heavy hitter in the conference, and I think they are the strongest team in the Big Ten top to bottom. At +350, sign me up.

I also need to highlight the fact that Purdue is the 4-seed, has a bye, and is +950. They need to win three games to win this thing, and while it’s unlikely in my opinion, the value is rock solid. Could be great for a hedge opportunity in the semi-finals or finals.

Teams That Can Stir the Pot

There are plenty of loaded teams upfront in the Big Ten. But the middle ground also features some teams that I wouldn’t sleep on. You may see one or two of these teams matchup against a 1-seed on Saturday or Sunday of the NCAA Tournament, so let’s take a look at which ones may have a shot at knocking one off and making a run.


Nobody hates writing positive things about Wisconsin more than I do, but here we are. The Badgers are always lurking this time of year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this year is no different. It’s all about defense with this Wisconsin team. 31st in the country in points allowed per game (64.0), the Badgers can stick around in any game because of their strong defense. They have a bunch of experienced players which is key this time of year. Am I putting a large wager on them to make a deep run in the Tournament? No, but I wouldn’t want my team drawing them in round 1 or 2.

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Michigan State

Kind of weird to be writing this about a team who isn’t even guaranteed a spot in the latest Bracketology. But it’s hard not to like Michigan State. With a few mid-majors going down already in their conference tournaments, the door is open for the Spartans, and I fully expect them to take advantage. They’ve just won big games this year. Knocking off conference powerhouses Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio State proves that Sparty is as dangerous as ever and can’t be taken lightly. They face a gritty Maryland team on Thursday morning. And if they can get by them, then they are rewarded with a rematch against Big Brother. Michigan would be coming for blood in that game after losing to Michigan State on Sunday, but the Spartans have proven they can hang and will look to do so again on Friday.

What’s on the Line?

I’ve already discussed Michigan State’s situation and how they have some things to play for, but what else do we have going on?

While there aren’t really any other teams on The Bubble in the Big Ten, there is a lot of seeding still to be played for. Michigan and Illinois are locked into 1-seeds in my opinion – no real debate about it to me. Iowa and Ohio State are most likely locked into 2-seeds, barring anything crazy happening in this tournament.

It’s the guys in the middle that make things more interesting. Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Rutgers are all jockeying for seeds from anywhere from 7-11 most likely. I really wish I was of the mentality that it doesn’t matter what seed you draw, if you are a good enough team you will make it happen. That piece of me died with the 2012 Indiana Hoosiers. (I will go to my grave saying that Syracuse is the only team that could beat them – not bitter though.)

Where you end up on the bracket could mean the difference between an early exit and a deep run. You don’t need me to tell you that, but I’m here as your friendly reminder. How these four teams do this week could change a lot for them come Selection Sunday. If one of them can knock off a big dog or two, the selection committee will have a fun curveball on their hands.

Make sure to check out all of our other Conference Tournament Previews. Get excited for this big week of college basketball, and as always, make sure you’re checking in with our TomBox betting algorithm to see what the data says before making your picks.

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