This past weekend, the NCAA unveiled its annual preliminary look at possible “Big Dance” seedings. Not surprisingly, the loaded Big Ten was well represented with a pair of No. 2 seeds and four entries in the top 16. All four will be on the floor Tuesday night in high-profile matchups.
Projected No. 3 seed Purdue (ranked ninth overall) visits Maryland (Big Ten Network, 6:30 p.m. ET). Note that early start time, 30 minutes prior to other early Tuesday tips. Maryland has a chance to close hard and crash the top-16 seeds next month. The Terrapins entered the new week in Ken Pomeroy’s top 20 (kenpom.com), and in the top 25 according to Jeff Sagarin’s rankings at USA Today, and the “NET” rankings that have replaced RPI in the committee’s selection process. This matchup is certain to have postseason intensity. Red-hot Purdue has won eight straight games, going 7-1 against the spread. Maryland owns a home win over Wisconsin.
Projected No. 2 seed Michigan State (ranked eighth overall) visits projected No. 4 seed Wisconsin (ranked 16th overall, ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET). Could be one of the most important matchups this season across the whole league, particularly if Wisconsin can throw a monkey wrench into conference and Dance seedings with a home win. Sparty lost its last two road games at Illinois(!) and at Purdue. Wisconsin has won and covered six of its last seven.
Projected No. 2 seed Michigan (ranked sixth overall) catches an easier opponent, but must play on the road at Penn State (Big Ten Network, 8:30 p.m. ET). The Nittany Lions won’t reach the postseason after a 1-11 start in league play. But they did take Purdue to overtime on this court in their previous home game. Michigan has covered eight of its last 11.
Bettors will be dealing with high-profile matchups involving Big Ten teams in the foreseeable future. Right now, eight teams from the Big Ten are expected to play in the NCAAs. Along with aforementioned Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Maryland; Iowa will probably be seeded in the top 32, with Ohio State and Minnesota in control of their destiny.
You regulars know that VSiN builds estimated “market” Power Ratings to add additional context to your betting and viewing enjoyment. These are based on the most recent settled point spreads, allotting three points for home-court advantage. Feel free to tweak these on the fly once this week’s spreads settle.
Big Ten: Michigan 86, Michigan State 86, Purdue 85, Wisconsin 82, Maryland 81, Iowa 81, Ohio State 80, Nebraska 80, Indiana 78, Minnesota 76, Penn State 76, Northwestern 73, Illinois 73, Rutgers 71.
Nebraska continues to get inexplicable market respect despite failing to cover seven in a row, and nine of its last 10. Similarly, Indiana has failed to cover seven of eight and nine of 11.
If you hope to win big riding down the road to March Madness, watch Tuesday’s “four on the floor” to get up to speed with the Big Ten.