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tBBC Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview


Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


It’s March and that means its tournament time for NCAA basketball. Things get started this afternoon when the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament gets underway in Indianapolis, Indiana. With three teams guaranteed for the NCAA tournament, one other almost certainly in, and five teams on the bubble there is certainly a lot to play for as teams look to improve their NCAA seed, boost their tournament resume, or hope for a miracle run to the conference title and the automatic bid it carries. We take a quick look at all of the teams in the tournament and what they are playing for and then tBBC staff makes their picks as to how the tournament will play out.

A week ago Ohio State (23-6, 15-3) looked like they had the regular season conference championship and the tournament’s number 1 seed well in hand. They were on top of the conference standings having swept second place Maryland, were on an 11 game winning streak, and had an offense that looked unstoppable. Then things fell apart as the Buckeyes lost two heart breakers in a row, in overtime at Minnesota and in triple overtime at Michigan State. The loses cost OSU the regular season title, dropped them to the #2 seed in the conference tournament, and dropped them to at least a three seed and possibly a four seed in the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes will have almost a week between the loss to MSU and their first game in the tournament, plenty of time to analyze what went wrong and get hungry for revenge. In addition to playing for pride and showing that they are the top team in the Big Ten, as they looked for most of the season, OSU is looking to fight back to a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and hopefully some geographic preference in which region they get.

Maryland (27-3, 16-2) took advantage of Ohio State’s disappointing final week to win their second straight Big Ten regular season title. This was the Terrapins second season in the conference and so far their only two losses in conference play came at the hands of OSU, both this season. Maryland enters the tournament fifth in the country and looking almost assuredly to be a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. A Big Ten tournament title and a slip up by Baylor could move the Terrapins into the 1 seed conversation but Maryland really has little to play for in the tournament as anything but a blowout loss in their first tournament game will likely keep them in the two seed spot.

Michigan State (22-7, 13-5) finished third in the conference and are ranked 19th in the country. They are a lock for the NCAA’s and nice late season wins over Minnesota and Ohio State have them looking like a fifth seed in the NCAA tournament. The Spartans have a lot to play for in Indy as a Big Ten Tournament title would give them a chance at a four seed in the NCAA’s which means home court advantage for the first two rounds.

Indiana (20-10, 12-6) finished fourth in the conference. After a rough start to conference play, the Hoosiers finished the regular season by winning 7 of their last 8. IU is mostly likely in the NCAA tournament but at least one win in the Big Ten tournament would guarantee that.

Rachel Banham became the Big Ten’s new leader in career scoring this season but Minnesota (19-10, 11-7) is currently on the bubble due to a weak strength of schedule and an RPI rank of 76. The Golden Gophers have been inconsistent this season due to a struggling defense and a lack of reliable help for Banham on the offensive end. Minnesota absolutely must win their first Big Ten game to remain in the discussion for the NCAA and likely needs to make it to the tournament title game in order to get into the Big Dance.

Purdue (19-10, 10-8) finished sixth in the conference. After getting off to a strong start in conference play, winning their first five, the Boilermakers struggled for most of the conference season, losing 8 of their next 10 games before closing the season on a three game winning streak. Despite a worse record the Minnesota, Purdue has a better spot on the NCAA bubble due to a stronger strength of schedule and a RPI rank of 58. The Boilermakes must win their first Big Ten game in order to stay in the NCAA tournament and probably need a strong showing or a win over MSU to keep their spot.

Nebraska (18-11, 9-9) and Michigan (17-12, 9-9) finished tied for seventh but Nebraska won the tiebreaker due to winning the only regular season meeting between the two teams. The teams have been mirror images down the stretch with the Cornhuskers losing 5 of their last 7 while the Wolverines have won 5 of their last 7. Michigan has a slight chance to enter the NCAA tournament discussion with a run to the conference title game but both teams pretty much need the autobid in order to get in.

Iowa (18-12, 8-10) and Rutgers (17-13, 8-10) finished tied for 9th with the tiebreaker going to Iowa. Neither team has looked solid down the stretch and while a run to the Big Ten semifinals or finals could allow Rutgers to sneak into the Big Dance, they are both most likely autobid only teams.

11the seeded Penn State (11-18, 6-12), 12th seeded Northwestern (15-15, 4-14), 13th seeded Wisconsin (7-21, 3-15), and 14th seeded Illinois (9-20, 2-16) must win the tournament or their seasons are over. The Wildcats are the most shocking team on that list after being ranked in the top 20 at the start of conference play and pulling off an upset of Ohio State, the wheels came off for Northwestern.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the teams in the tournament, our writers here at tBBC weigh in with their picks and analysis. Let’s see who does the best, chime in with your pick in the comments section.

Michael: (Michael skipped straight to the semifinals)

Ohio St over Mich St in first semifinal. Buckeyes get payback after losing a heartbreaking 3 OT game vs Sparty.

Maryland over Indiana in other semifinal. Lady Turtles just way too much for Indiana.

Maryland over Ohio St in the title game. In a classic close hard fought game. The Lady Turtles win the title


Northwestern over Wisconsin

Penn State over Illinois –someone’s gotta win–

Second round

Iowa over TTUN

Minnesooooohta over Northwestern

Nebraska over Rutgers

Purdont over Penn State


Maryland over Iowa

Minnesota over Indiana

THE over Nebraska

Sparty over Purcant


Maryland over Minnesoooohta

THE over Them


THE over the turtle.

Brandon: (Spoiler Alert…I know nothing about women’s basketball)

1st Round

Wisconsin vs Northwestern – Wisconsin

Illinois vs Penn State – Penn State

2nd Round

Iowa vs Michigan – Iowa

Wisconsin vs Minnesota – Minnesota

Rutgers vs Nebraska – Rutgers

Penn State vs Purdue – Purdue

3rd Round

Iowa vs Maryland – Maryland

Minnesota vs Indiana – Minnesota

Rutgers vs Ohio State – Ohio State

Purdue vs Michigan State – Michigan State

4th Round

Maryland vs Minnesota – Maryland

Ohio State vs Michigan State – Ohio State

5th Round

Maryland vs Ohio State – Ohio State

Joe: (I’m in Brandon’s boat, but I’ll throw my bracket into the wind and see if it sticks.)

1st Round

Wisconsin vs Northwestern – Wisconsin

Illinois vs Penn State – Penn State

2nd Round

Iowa vs Michigan – Michigan

Wisconsin vs Minnesota – Wisconsin

Rutgers vs Nebraska – Rutgers

Penn State vs Purdue – Purdue

3rd Round

Michigan vs Maryland – Maryland

Wisconsin vs Indiana – Wisconsin

Rutgers vs Ohio State – Ohio State

Purdue vs Michigan State – Michigan State

4th Round

Maryland vs Wisconsin – Maryland

Ohio State vs Michigan State – Michigan State

5th Round

Maryland vs Michigan State – Michigan State


Northwestern > Wisconsin: They beat them once, by 18, they’ll do it again

Penn State > Illinois: Not a good time for Illini to be slumping. PSU will slump them out of the Tourney

2nd Round

Iowa > Michigan: Iowa is warming up at the right time, in contrast to their men’s team.

Minnesota > Northwestern: Minnesota won two close regular season games vs N’Western. Here, they get the hat trick.

Nebraska > Rutgers: Neither team had a decided advantage; yet, I’ll go with Nebraska

Purdue > Penn State: Purdue has already beaten PSU and is on a 3 game winning streak. Boiler Up!

3rd Round

Maryland > Iowa: Terps previous meeting was a 20 point win. Maryland’s only 2 loses this calendar year have been to Ohio State. It will stay that way.

Indiana > Minnesota: Indiana and Minnesota have split season series, but Indiana is hotter team right now.

Ohio State > Nebraska: OSU coming off two tough OT losses. It won’t matter.

Michigan State > Purdue: Like the men’s team, MSU women are peaking at right time.


Maryland > Indiana: Maryland cruises in semi-finals.

Ohio State > Michigan State: Buckeyes improve their ball handling and avenge the 3-OT loss


Ohio State > Maryland: I know it may be tough for teams of this caliber to sweep a season series, but hell, we’ve come this far.


Wisconsin over Northwestern – I have no idea why – but will go with the usual Badger over – yep! N’Western rhetoric…

Penn State > Illinois: Illinois is slumping … not good for them.

2nd Round

Iowa > Michigan: Iowa looks good right now.

Minnesota > Wisconsin: Minnesota will take down the Badgers because they can.

Nebraska > Rutgers: I have to say Nebraska … because … is Rutgers good at anything right now?

Purdue > Penn State: The Boilermakers know Basketball.

3rd Round

Iowa > Maryland: This looks to be a good game. I have go with Iowa – just because … well, I have that feeling?

Indiana > Minnesota: Indiana even on the split will have all their ducks in a row.

Ohio State > Nebraska: OSU – sorry Cornhuskers. The Buckeyes will shine after their recent OT losses.

Michigan State > Purdue: *SU will deliver just as the Men’s will.


Maryland > Iowa: Maryland has it all under control.

Ohio State > Michigan State: Buckeyes improve their ball handling and avenge the 3-OT loss


Ohio State > Maryland: Gotta go Scarlet & Gray!


Nobody cares round but PSU gets hot

Northwestern > Wisconsin

Penn State > Illinois

Penn State continues to be the early rounds story

Iowa > Michigan

Northwestern > Minnesota

Nebraska > Rutgers

Penn State > Purdont
This round is the money round. Everyone wins that should except Sparty

Maryland > Iowa

Indiana > Northwestern

Ohio State > Nebraska

Penn State > Michigan State
On a collision course for number 3

Maryland > Indiana

Ohio State > Penn State
The Buckeyes need the win to get back into #2 seed conversation.

Ohio State > Maryland



Northwestern over Wisconsin: Both teams have looked awful down the stretch but the Kitties beat the Badgers in Madison two weeks ago, that has to mean something, right?

Penn State over Illinois: PSU won the only meeting between these teams this season, I’m not sure the Illini could beat a high school right now.


Michigan over Iowa: This should be a close one but the Wolverines have looked a bit less bad down the stretch.

Minnesota over Northwestern: The Gophers beat the Wildcats twice the season but they were both close games. The extra rest gives Minnesota the edge.

Rutgers over Nebraska: The teams split the regular season meetings with the home team winning each game. The Cornhuskers haven’t won away from home since January and Indy isn’t in Nebraska.

Purdue over Penn State: The Boilermakers have a little momentum while the Nitany Lions are still stumbling.


Maryland over Michigan: The turtles easily handle the weasels.

Minnesota over Indiana: The Hoosiers beat the Gophers a couple weeks ago but Minnesota has Rachel Banham, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, and she doesn’t want her career to end; a senior like that is normally good for one set of late game heroics in March.

Ohio State over Rutgers: You don’t think OSU is going to be pissed after how the regular season ended?

Michigan State over Purdue: This is a tough one, Indy is essentially a home court for the Boilermakers which tends to mean they are good for one more win than you expect while Sparty is normally good for exactly one win. I’ll go with MSU in a close one.


Maryland over Minnesota: Banham won’t be enough to top the Terrapins.

Ohio State over Michigan State: The Buckeyes will want revenge.


Maryland over Ohio State: This will be a repeat thriller like last year’s title game and unfortunately the turtles will once again pull out a narrow victory; it is really hard to win three games in a season against a team as good as Maryland.

The post Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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