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B1G Basketball: Postseason Prognosis Vol. 4 (Final)

The postseason hopes for Big Ten teams come down to five days in Chicago this week, as all 14 teams descend upon the United Center with hopes for a conference championship and automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. This will be the final argument for bubble teams like Indiana and Illinois, as well as the only chance for the bottom 6 teams in the conference.

Will the Big Ten end up with 7 or 8 bids? Or will the conference stand pat with the 6 it appears to have locked up? Let’s take a final look heading into the tournament to determine where these teams land with the potential outcomes in Chicago.

(We will repeat this prognosis each week for the rest of the season to give you the best assessment possible of your favorite team’s chances)

 

1. Wisconsin (16-2, 28-3)     RPI: 4    KenPom: 4
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Illinois/Michigan)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #2 seed in NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects #2 seed in NCAA

Wisconsin made a mighty statement winning at Ohio State Sunday, and this team is seriously in play for a 1 seed. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in quarterfinals – #2 seed in NCAA
Lose in semifinals – #2 seed in NCAA
Lose in finals – #2 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #1 seed in NCAA (my prediction)

 

2. Maryland (14-4, 26-5)     RPI: 9    KenPom: 32
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Northwestern/Indiana)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #3 seed in NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects #3 seed in NCAA

Maryland finished conference play with 7 straight wins, although many of the games stayed close which makes it unclear how high the ceiling is. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in quarterfinals – #4 seed in NCAA
Lose in semifinals – #3 seed in NCAA (my prediction)
Lose in finals – #3 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #2 seed in NCAA

 

3. Michigan State (12-6, 21-10)     RPI: 28    KenPom: 22
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Ohio State/Rutgers/Minnesota)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #7 seed in NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects #7 seed in NCAA

Michigan State perhaps finished off Indiana’s tournament hopes with a win in Assembly Hall this past weekend, but more impressive wins will be needed to boost the NCAA tournament seed. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in quarterfinals – #7 seed in NCAA
Lose in semifinals – #6 seed in NCAA
Lose in finals – #5 seed in NCAA (my prediction)
Win tournament – #4 seed in NCAA

 

4. Purdue (12-6, 20-11)     RPI: 56     KenPom: 48
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Iowa/Penn State/Nebraska)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #11 seed in NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects #11 seed in NCAA

Purdue locked into a double bye when Wisconsin defeated Ohio State on Sunday, and that likely means a safe matchup against Iowa in the quarterfinals. Purdue would not risk being knocked out in that likely circumstance. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in quarterfinals – #11 seed in NCAA – last four in (my prediction)
Lose in semifinals – #10 seed in NCAA
Lose in finals – #9 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #7 seed in NCAA

 

5. Iowa (12-6, 21-10)     RPI: 39     KenPom: 18
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Penn State/Nebraska, then vs. Purdue if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #6 seed in NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects #7 seed in NCAA

Iowa finished by winning 8 out of the last 10 games, the exact opposite of the collapse that put them in Dayton and barely in the tournament a season ago. No doubts this time. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in second round – #8 seed in NCAA
Lose in quarterfinals – #7 seed in NCAA
Lose in semifinals – #6 seed in NCAA (my prediction)
Lose in finals – #5 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #5 seed in NCAA

 

6. Ohio State (11-7, 22-9)     RPI: 40     KenPom: 19
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Minnesota/Rutgers, then vs. Michigan State if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #8 seed in NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects #8 seed in NCAA

Ohio State has some potential and one great player, but when the rest of the team doesn’t show up and play well, the results can be a disaster like against Wisconsin. Thus, it’s hard to gauge how many tournament games this team will win. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in second round – #9 seed in NCAA
Lose in quarterfinals – #8 seed in NCAA (my prediction)
Lose in semifinals – #7 seed in NCAA
Lose in finals – #7 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #5 seed in NCAA

 

7. Indiana (9-9, 19-12)     RPI: 59     KenPom: 55
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Northwestern, then vs. Maryland if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #11 seed in NCAA (last four in), Joe Lunardi projects #12 seed in NCAA (last four in)

Indiana is headed the wrong direction, and now work must be done to avoid what seems like the inevitable collapse to the NIT. Thankfully, the 7 seed provides a chance to beat Maryland instead of seemingly unbeatable Wisconsin. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in second round – #3 seed in NIT (my prediction)
Lose in quarterfinals – #1 seed in NIT
Lose in semifinals – #11 seed in NCAA
Lose in finals – #11 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #9 seed in NCAA

 

8. Illinois (9-9, 19-12)     RPI: 62     KenPom: 53
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Michigan, then vs. Wisconsin if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects #12 seed in NCAA (last four in), Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

Illinois had a chance at an important road win against fellow bubble team Purdue, and without that, the Illini now face the daunting prospect of trying to beat Wisconsin to get in. Good luck. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in second round – #2 seed in NIT
Lose in quarterfinals – #1 seed in NIT (my prediction)
Lose in semifinals – #11 seed in NCAA
Lose in finals – #11 seed in NCAA
Win tournament – #9 seed in NCAA

 

9. Michigan (8-10, 15-15)     RPI: 87     KenPom: 89
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Illinois, then vs. Wisconsin if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects no NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

Michigan also drew the short straw in the Big Ten bracket, having to knock off a desperate Illinois team before taking on Wisconsin. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in second round – no postseason (my prediction)
Lose in quarterfinals – no postseason
Lose in semifinals – #5 seed in NIT
Lose in finals – #4 seed in NIT
Win tournament – #12 seed in NCAA

 

10. Northwestern (6-12, 15-16)     RPI: 114    KenPom: 111
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Indiana, then vs. Maryland if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects no NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

Northwestern has played well down the stretch, picking up some important wins for confidence heading into the Big Ten tournament. The Wildcats could slay Indiana once and for all, and then Maryland would await in a winnable but tough game. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in second round – no postseason
Lose in quarterfinals – no postseason (my prediction)
Lose in semifinals – no postseason
Lose in finals – #7 seed in NIT
Win tournament – #12 seed in NCAA

 

11. Minnesota (6-12, 17-14)     RPI: 96     KenPom: 61
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Rutgers, then vs. Ohio State if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects no NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

Minnesota dropped a home game to Penn State this weekend, and that forced the Gophers to play on the first day of the Big Ten tournament. With an NIT berth likely locked up, how motivated will Minnesota be? Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in first round – #5 seed in NIT
Lose in second round – #3 seed in NIT (my prediction)
Lose in quarterfinals – #2 seed in NIT
Lose in semifinals – #2 seed in NIT
Lose in finals – #1 seed in NIT
Win tournament – #11 seed in NCAA

 

12. Nebraska (5-13, 13-17)     RPI: 136    KenPom: 130
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Penn State, then vs. Iowa if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects no NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

This article series has been highly critical of Nebraska down the stretch, just like Tim Miles himself. However, Nebraska may have a chance if the same effort from Sunday night appears against Penn State. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in first round – no postseason (my prediction)
Lose in second round – no postseason
Lose in quarterfinals – no postseason
Lose in semifinals – no postseason
Lose in finals – no postseason
Win tournament – #13 seed in NCAA

 

13. Penn State (4-14, 16-15)     RPI: 121    KenPom: 94
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Nebraska, then vs. Iowa if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects no NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

Penn State must play on day one of the tournament, but Nebraska is an easy draw and then Iowa is also a team PSU has proven it can beat after taking the Hawkeyes to overtime a week ago. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in first round – no postseason
Lose in second round – no postseason (my prediction)
Lose in quarterfinals – no postseason
Lose in semifinals – #7 seed in NIT
Lose in finals – #6 seed in NIT
Win tournament – #12 seed in NCAA

 

14. Rutgers (2-16, 10-21)     RPI: 168    KenPom: 214
This Week: B1G Tournament (vs. Minnesota, then vs. Ohio State if a win)
Predicted Postseason: Jerry Palm projects no NCAA, Joe Lunardi projects no NCAA

Rutgers could potentially take a run at inconsistent Minnesota in the first round, but it’s hard to imagine Rutgers playing close to any of the other teams on the docket, let alone knock off a team like Wisconsin once again. Here’s the options, and my prediction:
Lose in first round – no postseason (my prediction)
Lose in second round – no postseason
Lose in quarterfinals – no postseason
Lose in semifinals – no postseason
Lose in finals – no postseason
Win tournament – #15 seed in NCAA

Dave is a FWAA member and a Columnist focusing on Big Ten football for talking10. Before joining talking in 2014, he was a Featured Columnist for three years at Bleacher Report and previously wrote for seven years on SouthernCollegeSports.com. He was born in Hawkeye Country and went to college in Columbus, so there's plenty of B1G running through his blood. Dave is a patent and trademark attorney in his day job. If you have any questions in those areas or about his latest articles, please contact him on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy.

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