One reporter’s stab at picking the entire Big Ten tournament:
Game 1 – (8) Indiana vs. (9) Illinois
Most people are going to pick Indiana here because of a presumed homecourt advantage in Indianapolis. But the Illini are simply playing better right now, especially at the defensive end of the court. They may force 20-plus turnovers in this one. Illinois.
Game 2 – (5) Ohio State vs. (12) Purdue
The Boilermakers are in a funk, having lost their last six games of the regular season and there’s no real reason to think they’ll suddenly snap out of it. Ohio State.
Game 3 – (7) Minnesota vs. (10) Penn State
The Golden Gophers need a win (or two) this weekend more than any other team in the tournament to try to get off the NCAA tournament bubble. They should be highly motivated. But my guy tells me the Nittany Lions also are motivated to keep from losing to Minnesota three times this season. Penn State.
Game 4 – (6) Iowa vs. (11) Northwestern
This is exactly what the Hawkeyes need to get their confidence back – an opponent they’ve crushed twice this season that now has been reduced to playing basically a six-man rotation. Iowa.
Game 5 – (9) Illinois vs. (1) Michigan
This will be much closer than the game between these two teams a week ago, but the Wolverines are so crisp offensively that it’s hard to see the Illini knocking them off. Michigan.
Game 6 – (4) Nebraska vs. (5) Ohio State
The Cornhuskers aren’t nearly as good a team away from home and the Buckeyes guard the perimeter as well as any team around. Ohio State.
Game 7 – (2) Wisconsin vs. (7) Penn State
Penn State is capable of doing big things on any given day but not this day. The Badgers are just too much for them. Wisconsin.
Game 8 – (3) Michigan State vs. (6) Iowa
Both teams will be highly motivated and this may be the most entertaining and heated game of the tournament. A lot will depend on how the game is called. If the officials allow the Spartans play the rough-house style they did in the second half of last week’s game between these two, the outcome will be the same. I have faith in Tom Izzo’s ability to cow officials. Michigan State.
Game 9 – (1) Michigan vs. (5) Ohio State
Whoever beats Michigan is going to need to get in the face of Nik Stauskas and Caris Levert and limit their opportunities, and the Buckeyes might be just the team to do that and perpetrate one of the few upsets of the tournament. Ohio State.
Game 10 – (2) Wisconsin vs. (3) Michigan State
Another very entertaining game. If the Bo Ryan’s bunch can just match the Spartans on the boards and if Frank Kaminsky can outplay Adreian Payne, I like the Badgers chances. Wisconsin.
Game 11 – (5) Ohio State vs. (2) Wisconsin
No. No. 5 seed ever has won the Big Ten tournament and it won’t happen this time either. Wisconsin.