In six of the last seven NCAA tournaments, there has been at least one Big Ten team in the Final Four, including last year’s iteration that featured both Wisconsin and Michigan State.
Interestingly enough, though, of those seven total Final Four participants, only one of them (Wisconsin last year) won the Big Ten tournament the same year.
It’s a testament to the immense depth of the conference, and 2016 is no different. Indiana, after a shaky start to the season, won the regular season by two games but has plenty of competition. Michigan State have won 10 of 11 and boast Denzel Valentine, who many believe to be the country’s best player. Purdue and Iowa are both inside Ken Pomeroy’s Top 20, and Maryland has the same amount of Top-100 NBA prospects (four) as Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina. Oh yeah, then there’s Wisconsin, who went 11-2 down the stretch.
So many different teams can win this tournament, and somoene who falls in the quarterfinals could easily make the Final Four in a couple weeks. This is, again, a conference to keep a very close eye on.
Play begins Wednesday, and we’ll keep you updated with results right here:
2016 Big Ten Tournament Bracket & Scores
Note: All times ET
Wednesday, March 9
Game 1: Illinois 85, Minnesota 52
Game 2: Nebraska 89, Rutgers 72
Thursday, March 10
Game 3: Michigan 72, Northwestern 70 (OT)
Game 4: Illinois 68, Iowa 66
Game 5: Ohio State 79, Penn State 75
Game 6: Nebraska 70, Wisconsin 58
Friday, March 11
Game 7: Michigan 72, Indiana 69
Game 8: Purdue 89, Illinois 58
Game 9: Michigan State 81, Ohio State 54
Game 10: Maryland 97, Nebraska 86
Saturday, March 12
Game 11: Purdue 76, Michigan 59
Game 12: Michigan State 64, Maryland 61
Sunday, March 13
Championship: Purdue vs. Maryland, 3 p.m., CBS Sports