The Big Ten tournament moves to Madison Square Garden for the first time in conference history this year. However, that is not done without some controversy.
To ensure their use of the World’s Most Famous Arena, the Big Ten had to move their tournament a week earlier than their typical schedules and the rest of the Power conferences. They will crown a champion a full week before Selection Sunday, in a move that many think may cost the conference some bids. Additionally, all teams will be a full week removed from action before their participation in any postseason, the longest break any team has had since the season started.
READ MORE: NCAA TOURNAMENT BUBBLE WATCH
This drama surrounding how the move may affect the Big Ten probably could not be at a worse year. Back in early January, it was pointed out in the Washington Post how weak of a year it was for the Big Ten. At the time only four teams from the conference was going dancing. Sub out Minnesota and put in Ohio State and not much has changed.
A year ago the conference had seven teams playing in March Madness.
Sitting on the bubble now is Penn State and Nebraska and both teams have to make a considerable run to make it to the NCAA Tournament. But if they make it to the quarterfinals and then lose, they have a long week ahead of them waiting to see what every other conference does.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT INFORMATION:
When is the Big Ten Tournament?
The Big Ten Tournament will be Wed. Feb 28 - March 4, the Big Ten championship is on March 4.
Where is the Big Ten Tournament?
The Big Ten tournament will primarily be at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York for the first time ever.
How to watch the Big Ten Tournament?
The Big Ten Tournament will be televised on the Big Ten Network and on CBS. The first round up to the quarterfinals will be on the league’s own network. CBS takes over the coverage starting with semifinal Saturday.
Who is the defending Big Ten Champion?
The Michigan Wolverines won the 2017 Big Ten championship. Their victory as the eight seed in the conference moved them from the bubble of the NCAA Tournament to the automatic berth from the Big Ten. It was the Wolverines first ever Big Ten Tournament championship.
2018 BIG TEN TOURNAMENT BRACKET:
First Round – Wednesday, Feb. 28
No. 12 Iowa 96, No. 13 Illinois 87
No. 14 Rutgers 65, No. 11 Minnesota 54
Second Round - Thursday, March 1
No. 8 Wisconsin 59, No. 9 Maryland 54
No. 5 Michigan 77, No. 12 Iowa 71 OT
No. 7 Penn State 65, No. 10 Northwestern 57
No. 14 Rutgers 76, No. 6 Indiana 69
Quarterfinals - Friday, March 2
No. 1 Michigan State 63, No. 8 Wisconsin 60
No. 5 Michigan 77, No. 4 Nebraska 58
No. 7 Penn State 69, No. 2 Ohio State 68
No. 3 Purdue 82, No. 14 Rutgers 75
Semi-finals – Saturday, March 3
No. 5 Michigan 75, No. 1 Michigan State 64
No. 3 Purdue 78, No. 7 Penn State 70
Big Ten Championship - Sunday, March 4
No. 5 Michigan 75, No. 3 Purdue 66
Drumroll please... 🥁— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 26, 2018
The matchups are set. Here is your 2018 Big Ten Tournament Bracket: pic.twitter.com/7rKfNOmrlO
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT PREVIEW:
This season is shaping up to be a heavyweight battle between the top two or three teams in the conference. Michigan State and Purdue have been the Big Ten favorites all season long. There is only wrinkle in their plan and that is No. 2 Ohio State. Led by Keita Bates-Diop, the Buckeyes are the only team in the conference to garner wins against those two schools. With their decent shooting numbers and their ability to box-out on the offensive and defensive glass, they are play the game well and do not have to rely on one aspect of their game.
But while these three teams are the favorites, nothing ever seems to go to plan in the Big Ten Tournament. This year’s potential surprise team is Penn State. They play stout defensively; the Nittany Lions can limit opponents inside the paint and lead the Big Ten in steals. They just need more than Tony Carr and Shep Garner to pull up from three. They’ve also proven themselves against the top teams in the conference. Sweeping Ohio State, a three-point lost at Purdue, and an eight-point loss in East Lancing, they are right there with the top in the Big Ten. Penn State as the No. 7 seed has a chance to make it to Sunday.
Maryland’s starting five has the opportunity to knock off one top team and could outshoot Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston in a potential No. 1 vs. No. 8 match-up. Not likely, but they can make it interesting and if so they could be the Wolverines from a season ago.
Also do not count out Michigan who checks in as the No. 5 seed, three spots better than a year ago.
PICK: No. 2 Ohio State