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The Big 10: A Basketball Conference. According to a guy way more intelligent than the two of us (Andy Katz), the Big 10 is expected to have eight teams in the dance this year, so safe to say this is the créme de la créme of the college basketball world. Let’s run through who everyone is, whether or not they matter, and who will probably win this thing.
Nebraska: Nebraska finished their season off with three wins, including two against Ohio State and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, beating gassed teams isn’t going to let us forget that they were bad (really bad) all year and that the buyout on Fred Hoiberg’s contract is an arm and a leg. It’s Groundhog’s Day in Lincoln; get used to eleven wins per year, Cornhuskers. Northwestern will probably beat them in the first round.
Minnesota: The Big 10 is like an ecosystem, and Minnesota is an antelope. The Gophers wouldn’t last two minutes in a cage with Lions like Illinois or Purdue, but Penn State should be a little worried come round one. The Gophers have solid wins, ugly losses, and not a ton of hype, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they beat Penn State in a first-round matchup.
Northwestern: Northwestern is like me in bed; everything is so ehhhh. We get it, Wildcats, you lose to superior teams by eight and you beat inferior teams by fourteen. They are an honest team, and they don’t play higher or lower than their competition. They may win in the first round, but Iowa will put a Kimbo-Slice type hurting on them once they get to the second round.
Penn State: Penn State is your junkie second-cousin that once every two years gets a job at Dunkin’ Donuts, receives applause for it, then ends up back on the street once the kitchen calendar flips. They have some head-scratching wins this year (Iowa, Michigan State, etc.) and just as many head-scratching losses (UMass, Nebraska, etc.). They should (?) beat Minnesota, but I’m not touching that game with a ten-foot pole. All I know is that of all the first-round teams, Penn State is the only roster capable enough of really shaking things up in the further rounds.
Maryland: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love honest teams. Apart from two upset victories this year, the Terps have done everything they were expected to do. They lost to good teams, they beat bad teams, and they sat arms-crossed in a limbo of mediocrity. They just lost to Michigan State, and guess what?? They are going to lose again.
Indiana: The Hoosiers don’t play all that well against good teams. Trayce Jackson-Davis is a beast, their defense is the best in the Big 10, but they aren’t deep enough to do any damage in the Big 10. They may beat Michigan, but that’s as far as they’ll go.
Michigan: Now we are in the meat and potatoes of the Big 10. Michigan basketball is a molotov cocktail. As it currently stands, they are a bubble team, but they could easily start a mosh-pit in the Big 10 tournament. Phil Martelli is a wild dude. Do I see them winning it? No, because they aren’t consistent enough to do so, but if the odds are decent and they beat Indiana, I’m throwing ten bucks on them beating Illinois.
Michigan State: I’ve liked this Michigan State team all year. They are a classic Tom Izzo squad, with a little bit of firepower in Gabe Brown and a lot of heart in their Seniors. I do not see them getting past Purdue if they win their first two games, but they are tough to beat. You know what’s not tough? Making $200 on a $10 bet. That’s pretty easy. Almost as easy as my friend Jack’s…nevermind. CLICK HERE to get started.
Ohio State: Ohio State is the girl at the bar that knows that she’s hot, but it takes it too far and walks around like a Kardashian. Yes, the Buckeyes have some great early-season wins on their resumé (Duke, Wisco, Seton Hall), but they fell off worse than Chance The Rapper. They WILL beat either Minnesota or Penn State, and they will keep it close to Purdue- they will not win, though.
Iowa: PERK YOUR EARS UP, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Here is where I’m putting my money. I think the Iowa Hawkeyes will win this tournament. The month of March is good for three things: Spring Break, my Birthday, and watching college basketball stars shine on the big stage. As good as Jaden Ivey is for Purdue or Kofi Cockburn for the Fighting I, Keegan Murray has been my favorite player to watch all year. Iowa has some bad losses, they’ve also lost to all of the top four teams, but something tells me that if anybody is going to pull off the impossible this tournament, it will be the team with the best player in college basketball (there I said it). If you’re riding with me, click HERE to put some money in your pocket first.
Rutgers: Rutgers is the most Bipolar team in the Big 10. Only a team from New Jersey could knock off five top 25 teams and Dennis The Menace the best conference in college basketball, while also having losses to UMass and Lafayette. The Scarlet Knights’ success is dependent on two key players: Paul Mulcahy and Clifford Omoruyi. If those two are third and fourth scoring options besides Geo Baker and Ron Harper JR, the Knights are a terrifying team. If Rutgers beats Iowa, they can beat anybody.
Purdue: Every Big 10 fan has heard about Purdue’s depth and Jaden Ivey all year. The Boilermakers are a great team, but they have plenty of losses in the Big 10. I could see them beating out Wisconsin with ease; however, both Rutgers and Iowa pose problems for this team. Purdue is a great team; there is just something about them I don’t trust.
Wisconsin: All signs point to Badger’s star Johnny Davis being available after a flagrant foul took place when they played Nebraska, and if I’m a Wisco fan, I’m thanking God for that. Davis is a top-three player in the Big 10 and a big reason why the Badgers have twenty-four wins on the year. This Wisconsin team is experienced, it’s deep, and they are great from the foul-line. I could see the Badgers making a deep run in the NCAA tournament, and I think we all want to see BarstoolBigCat happy.
Illinois: The number one seed. The co-champs! Call me a hater all you want; I think the Fighting I are overrated as hell. I know Kofi Cockburn is great, I know they run a top thirty offense in college basketball, and I know they’ve beaten both Rutgers and Iowa. I just don’t see it. They aren’t a very efficient defense. Both Rutgers and Maryland had their way with the Fighting I in the heart of Winter. They are a good team, but they’re not a great team. Somebody will knock them off, who that is or when that will happen? That’s for us to find out. If I’m wrong, click HERE to put some money in your pocket before putting (responsibly, of course) the house on Illinois.