The Big Ten Tournament tips-off on Wednesday with Northwestern and Minnesota at 7:00 PM ET, and Nebraska and Indiana following them. This year, the Big Ten is loaded with six teams in the AP Top 25, and 10 teams having a shot at the March Madness Tournament, according to ESPN‘s Joe Lunardi. Wisconsin holds the one seed this year by winning tie-breakers with Michigan State and Maryland for the spot. Last year, Michigan State knocked off Michigan 65-60 to win the conference tournament.
Dates: March 11-15
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Coverage: Big Ten Network March 11-13; CBS March 14-15
All 14 schools make it in the Big Ten tournament with the top eight receiving a bye, and the top four receiving a double bye. Wisconsin holds the one seed winning tie-breakers over Michigan State and Maryland.
Michigan State Spartans +200
Maryland Terrapins +500
Wisconsin Badgers +700
Who are the Other Guys
Penn State Nittany Lions +1600
Rutgers Scarlet Knights +2000
Purdue Boilermakers +2500
Indiana Hoosiers +4000
Minnesota Golden Gophers +4000
Northwestern Wildcats +100000
Nebraska Cornhuskers +1000000
Historically speaking, there really isn’t any reason to look passed the Who’s Good category in the Big Ten for futures. There have only been four times in the history of the tournament where a team seeded fourth or lower has won the whole thing (Michigan did it in 2017 as an eight seed, and in 2018 as a five seed).
Michigan State +200 feels like the smart play to make for the weekend. The Spartans have turned it on over the last month, as Tom Izzo has this team ready for March yet again. If you’re looking for more value I would look at Maryland, or at one of the dark horses (sorry Wisconsin). The Badgers have been beating up on the bottom half of the Big Ten over the last month, and could struggle against potential opponents like Michigan, Iowa, or Illinois (1-2 record vs those opponents).
From the dark horse region, I do like Ohio State at +1200. They are ranked number eight in Kenpom, as of writing this. However, they would have to win four games in four days including matchups against Michigan State, and potentially Maryland before getting to the championship. The Buckeyes do have the talent to make the kind of run.
Early Round Action
Lines for the following day aren’t posted until 6:00 PM ET, but I do like a few spots if we get the right numbers from Las Vegas.
Minnesota -8 or better vs Northwestern
Nebraska +5 or better vs Indiana
Michigan -4.5 or better vs Rutgers
Minnesota +3.5 or better vs Iowa**
**If Minnesota beats Northwestern**