It's been a long time since Purdue has been in this situation - win 4 games in 4 days, or watch the NCAA Tourney from home. But with Purdue playing as well as they've played all year and putting themselves in the easier half of the bracket, who knows what will happen? Oh, that's right...I do. Unlike your second favorite GoBoilers.net contributor's picks from yesterday, I actually know how the Big Ten Tourney is going to pan out. So save yourself the time from watching the games and just read on...
#8 Illinois vs. #9 Minnesota - 12pm - BTN
I thought Kirk's recap of the Minnesota game was excellent, but he failed to mention one aspect of the game that was simply excruciating...listening to Eric Collins tell everyone 122 times that Purdue would be facing Minnesota in this game. Meanwhile, if you read our preview, you knew that it was very likely that Purdue would end up the 7 seed. Mr. Collins, you were wrong. But Mr. Kirk, you're right. Illinois wins this game in a blowout.
#5 Michigan vs. #12 Penn State - 2:30pm - BTN
Yeah yeah, I know Penn State's played them tough and beat them in Happy Valley. It's not going to happen. Michigan wins another blowout, leaving the early session fans upset that "we left work for this???"
#7 Purdue vs. #10 Nebraska - 6:30pm - ESPN2
This will be the only good game of the day, but "good" is only being used in the fact that it'll be a close one. After playing 3 great games in 7 days, Purdue is rusty with over 5 full days of rest and just barely squeaks this one out.
#6 Iowa vs. #11 Northwestern - 9pm - ESPN2
The crowd will be behind Northwestern and Iowa's been iffy on the road, but Iowa wins an ugly one.
#1 Indiana vs. #8 Illinois - 12pm - ESPN
This should be a good game as I expect Illinois to put up a good fight. However, Indiana is just too good right now to lose this one.
#4 Wisconsin vs. #5 Michigan - 2:30pm - ESPN
Finally around 4:30 pm on Friday, I will finally take the lead over Kirk. Sure Michigan has been struggling a bit. But Wisconsin is REALLY struggling. Michigan by 15.
#2 Ohio State vs. #7 Purdue - 6:30pm - BTN
Amazingly, Purdue CAN still make the NIT if they lose this one. The NIT got rid of the .500 rule a couple of years back, even though they've never picked a team with more losses than wins. Luckily for Purdue, they don't need to worry about being the first as DeShaun Thomas goes 4 for 23, AJ Hammons goes off against Ohio State's weak bigs, and the Boilers pull off the upset of the tournament. There, I've written my preview AND recap for this one.
#3 Michigan State vs. #6 Iowa - 9pm - BTN
Quick - name the last ranked team Iowa's beat this year. Time's up. If you answered none, you're correct. It'll be "none" after this game as well. Iowa's 6-seed is the result of a kind Big Ten schedule in which they avoided playing two games against Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Illinois. The Spartans win easily.
#1 Indiana vs. #5 Michigan - 1:40pm - CBS
It's payback time for Michigan. Tom Crean's ridiculous angry outburst after beating the Wolverines in the season finale has Michigan ready for this one. So Crean cuts down the nets after losing the conference clinching game, yet he berates an opposing coach after clinching it? One wonders if he'll hang a banner in the United Center after biting the dust against Michigan.
#7 Purdue vs. #3 Michigan State - 4:15pm - CBS
The Spartans get caught looking ahead towards the Wolverines in the finals and get smoked in the first half by a ridiculously hot DJ Byrd. Michigan State comes back and cuts it to one with 3 minutes left, but Terone Johnson hits a couple of huge floaters and brother Ronnie goes 4 for 4 from the line in the last 2 minutes to seal the game for Purdue.
#5 Michigan vs. #7 Purdue - 3:30pm - CBS
Saturday night blends into Sunday morning as Purdue fans pull an all-nighter trying to figure out what their tourney seed could be if they actually won this thing (spoiler alert - while they would be more accurately slotted as a 11 or 12, the committee doesn't DARE put them that high because it would royally mess up their play-in games at the 12-seed. Instead, Purdue would be an underrated 13-seed against Arizona, Oklahoma St, Kansas St, or Marquette. I still like those matchups - especially Arizona.). Unfortunately, Boilermaker fans and yours truly fail to remember that Purdue played one of its best games of the season and still lost at home to the Wolverines. Trey Burke's drive and dish kills Purdue for the third straight game and Michigan wins a close one despite the refs being mandated to help the Boilers win for the good of the Big Ten. Unfortunately, a gut-wrenching loss for Purdue leads to a first-round NIT exit at the hands of Middle Tennessee State.
Despite the loss on Sunday, we have quite a weekend in store for us. Enjoy!