2011 Men’s Big Ten Tournament Preview

I think these two will meet again in the finals

Why do I try and predict anything? If you saw my women’s tourney preview it looked good on paper. Then they played the games, and my bracket was busted early. Of course that never stops me from trying to predict anything. If anything I find it funny how often I am wrong. I did do fairly well during the regular season this year picking the mens games so maybe this won’t be so bad. I will go through what I think will happen day by day in the tourney. Picking the games this way could lead to bad things in a hurry. Here goes nothing.

Thursday Games

#8 Northwestern over #9 Minnesota – Minnesota was a really good team early in the season. Then they lost point guard Al Nolen, and the season seemed to crumble. These teams split the season series with both teams winning at home. I would like to pick Minny here, but they have just killed me picking them the last half of the season so I am going with the Wildcats. See how scientific we are here?

#7 Michigan State over #10 Iowa – For some reason I really want to pick the Hawkeyes here. Maybe it was the beating they put on Purdue Saturday. The Spartans are a hard team to figure out. When will they play like they are capable of? Will that ever happen? I think they will at least win this game to make things a little harder on the NCAA committee come Sunday.

#6 Penn State over #11 Indiana – Coach Clapper finds his team as the 11th seed in the tournament. Here is another game where I think that the underdog has a good shot. IU has been playing really tough basketball lately. They have played everyone hard, but come up short in the end. I think the same will happen tonight. This IU team really reminds me of the 2005-2006 Purdue team that played their guts out with very few wins to show for it. Their season ends tonight though.

Friday Games

#1 Ohio State over #8 Northwestern – I think Ohio State runs away with this one. Of course I thought the same last year on Friday, and look what we got. Ohio State has just been on fire lately, and it is the perfect time for them to hit their stride. The Wildcats can now think about the NIT. Bold prediction: Tim Doyle will finally admit that they aren’t the 5th best team in the conference. Maybe I shouldn’t predict a blowout because Northwestern only lost by one earlier this season in the two teams only matchup. I think that this Ohio State squad is even better than the one that hadn’t yet lost a game this season.

#4 Michigan over #5 Illinois – Yet again I want to pick the lower seed here. I will not because I just don’t know what Illinois team will show up. If it is the team that tore it up in Mackey for the first half then Michigan doesn’t have a chance. If it is the team that lost at Inidana then Michigan runs away with it. With their late season consistency I will take Michigan. The two teams only met once this season with Illinois winning at home. I think the Wolverines will even that record up Friday.

#2 Purdue over #7 Michigan State – E;Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson have done a lot of things in their careers that nobody has done before they have a chance here to beat Michigan State three times in the same season. If you told me that at the beginning of the season I  don’t know if that would be harder to believe or the fact that they are a #7 seed in the tourney fighting to make the NCAA tournament. Purdue will come out ready to play after last Saturday, and take home the win.

#3 Wisconsin over #6 Penn State – Wisconsin is just too good of a team right now to lose in the second round. I don’t think that Penn State has the fire power to take them out. The two teams did split the season series, but I think that Penn State comes up short.

Saturday Games

#1 Ohio State over #4 Michigan – If my predictions hold true then the first game Saturday will be a rematch of the best game of the tournament last year. With only a couple seconds left Michigan scored what appeared to be the game winning bucket. Then Evan Turner added to his lore by nailing a half court shot that helped propel Ohio State to the tournament title. That shows you how close things are in the Big Ten. Without that shot things would have been completely different. This is a better Michigan team than the one that played Ohio State last season. That being said even after losing the Big Ten Player of the Year this Ohio State team is better. This will be a good game, but Ohio State marches on.

#2 Purdue over #3 Wisconsin – This is an example of where my heart overrides my gut. For some reason in my head I think that Purdue drops this one.My heart though will take the Boilers to the next round. These two teams split the season series with Purdue nearly pulling off the win in Madison. I really thought they had that game, but the last minute was a disaster for them. This game will come down to the role players for Purdue. JJ and Smooge can get their own points, but Purdue needs at least two guys to step up and have big games. LewJack has been good lately in big games, but he will need help.

Championship Sunday

#1 Ohio State over #2 Purdue – I just think that Ohio State is playing too good right now to lose in this tournament. Of course Purdue was playing very well before Iowa as well so we have seen how quickly things can change. Purdue will need the perfect game to win this tournament.

I realized that I did not pick one upset seed wise this entire tourney. I just don’t know where to pick it. I think a few could happen, but right now I think this thing will go off according to plan. I will be at one or two days of the tourney, and if I get my tickets for a good enough price the first two days I may even attend the championship game Sunday. Of course that is if Purdue is in the game. This could be a really good tourney with some teams needed wins to get in the big dance, and some teams just trying to improve seeds. Hopefully Purdue does not kill their seed like they did last season with a terrible game. Of course I think that they will improve their seed with a strong showing. One of the best times of the year is now here. It is tourney time! Here is my completed bracket

Is this thing any good?


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