The Bucketheads are back and more ready than ever as the college basketball season is starting to get into the nitty gritty (right?) and this is truly when the fun begins as conference play is getting fairly close to starting. In the Big ten, it already has as teams are now playing there two December conference games.
Ohio State is currently 7-2 with three non conference games remaining against Kentucky, Tennessee-Martin and New Orleans. Then it will be the grind that is conference basketball, even though the Buckeyes have a fairly easy start to the conference schedule.
So since we are starting to get somewhat of a clearer picture into who is hot and who is not in the college basketball (and as I am writing this Rutgers just beat Purdue so who knows anything anymore), we decided to pick who we think from the conference will be heading to the NCAA tournament from the Big Ten because, why not?
Last week, we picked who we thought the most surprising team in the conference was thus far, for better or for worse. Connor picked Wisconsin in a positive way ad Justin picked Michigan in a negative way.
In what had to have been the closest poll this season, Connor won with 15 votes, while Justin got 14 votes and “other” got 13 votes. Since no one ever listens, we will never learn who the others were.
After 30 weeks:
(There has been one tie)
Connor takes the lead by seven weeks after a small run by Justin went by the wayside. However, there is still time to come back since we have no idea when this ends.
Nevertheless, lets hope into today’s question.
Today’s Question/Prompt: How many NCAA Tournament bids will the Big Ten receive?
Record: 7-2 (2-0)
Illinois stumbled a little bit out the gate, but they’ve settled it down and have won their last five games, including two against Big Ten opponents. Kofi Cockburn is a player of the year candidate and Alfonso Plummer is scoring nearly 16 PPG and 43% from deep. They’re a lock.
Record: 8-1 (1-1)
Purdue is the most complete team in the country. Two All-American caliber centers, a plethora of shooters on the outside, and a handful of freshman and sophomores that guarantees continuity for years to come. Lock!
Record: 7-2 (1-0)
The Buckeyes haven’t blown anyone away yet, but they’ve proven to be a solid and improving team. When you add in the resume safety blanket of having beaten Duke already, this team would really have to stumble this year to not make the tournament. They’re a lock...I think.
Record: 7-2 (1-1)
Amongst all the haze of a new coach, the Hoosiers have come out firing this season. They haven’t really won any difficult games so far, but we can’t knock them for winning the games they’re supposed to win. Trayce Jackson-Davis is nearly unstoppable. I think they’ll be in.
Record: 6-3 (1-0)
Yeah, there was a sense of panic surrounding Michigan basketball after they lost to Seton Hall and got whomped on by Arizona. I don’t think Michigan will win the conference, but there is far too much talent on this team for them not to figure it out. Did you see what they did to Nebraska? I think they’re in as well.
Record: 7-2 (0-2)
Confidence: Pretty sure
As I write this, the Hawkeyes are playing No. 17 Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum, but the result of that game won’t change my mind. Keegan Murray has emerged as a certified stud, and Iowa has just enough talent around him to keep up. I’m less confident in this one than the above four, but I think they’ll make it.
Record: 5-4 (0-1)
Confidence: Taking a leap of faith
I picked Maryland to finish third in the B1G this season, because their talent is top-three level talent in this conference. Between Eric Ayala, Donta Scott, Qudus Wahab, and Fatts Russell, they’ve got some guys. Obviously, the head coach quitting eight games into the season was not part of the plan. I still think they’re a tournament team.
Record: 8-2 (2-0)
Confidence: Pretty sure
They have a few good wins already on their resume in Butler, Loyola-Chicago, and Louisville. When you pair that with a 10-10 record in conference play (at worst), I think that’s enough to get them in the field. They’re boring, but I think they’ll be in.
Record: 8-1 (1-0)
Confidence: Pretty sure
I picked Wisconsin to finish 12th in the B1G before the season began, and I could not be more wrong. They’re a tournament team, and Jonathan Davis is a star. Enjoy him while you can, Badger fans, because he’s gone after this season!
Connor did a good job breaking down the nine teams that we agree on, so there is really no reason for me to go into much more depth on those since we agree they are tournament teams. I agree on the confidence points to except for Maryland, as I would put them as pretty sure. Talent beats all and they have talent. They will figure it out at least enough to make the 68 team dance.
The only difference I have with teams making the dance is the team I am going out on a limb on and that is Northwestern. I really have liked the way they started the season and like Ohio State, they have done it without one of their top players this season.
Chase Audige is one of the Wildcats top players and he has only played one game thus far. Once he is back and fully a go for Northwestern, they will only get better.
Northwestern has not beaten any fantastic, with their best wins coming against a not so great Georgia team and a slightly imploding Maryland team, but they are 6-2 and have a good chance to move that 10-2 to finish out non conference play. They are currently 36th in KenPom and should be able to move up over next month, not that it truly matters but it is fun.
We will truly learn how good Northwestern is in early January, as they play Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan and Illinois to start the new year. That is an unreal schedule and one that can completely take them out of the tournament or be the next step to punching their ticket.
So we will just have to wait and see.
How many tournament bids will the Big Ten get?
This poll is closed
Fewer than 9
More than 10