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Big Ten Tournament Second Round Preview

The second day of the Big Ten nearly suffered a huge shake-up due to the scary plane incident that Michigan went through yesterday. Luckily all in the Michigan basketball world are safe and the Big Ten Tournament will be able to continue as scheduled.

#8 Michigan vs. #9 Illinois – Noon ET (BTN)

Michigan is probably already in the NCAA Tournament, but Illinois is in desperation mode. Michigan will be wearing a mish-mash of a uniform as not all of their equipment arrived from Ann Arbor due to the plane incident and they also are running low on sleep. Look for Illinois to take advantage of the unfortunate travel issues that caused a lot of stress to Michigan. Illinois can play their way into the dance with a few wins and Malcolm Hill is too good of a player to leave his time in Champaign without a single NCAA Tournament appearance. Prediction – Illinois by a small margin

#5 Michigan State vs. #13 Penn State – 2:30 ET (BTN)

Penn State looked great against Nebraska yesterday afternoon but once the calendar turns to March, it’s Izzo’s world and everyone else is just living in it. Michigan State fans should have a rather stress-free game in this quarterfinal as Penn State doesn’t have anyone who can stop Nick Ward and Miles Bridges. Prediction – Michigan State by 20

#7 Iowa vs. #10 Indiana – 6:30 ET (ESPN)

Who would have ever thought at the beginning of the season that Indiana would be the 10 seed in their conference tournament. Both of these teams need to win at least 2 Big Ten Tournament games to play their way into the NCAA Tournament discussion. I expect this to be the best game of the day with both teams coming out firing. Thomas Bryant is the key for me in this one and I think he ultimately plays Indiana through to face Wisconsin. Prediction – Indiana at the buzzer

#6 Northwestern vs. #14 Rutgers – 9 ET (ESPN)

Rutgers came into DC and dominated Ohio State yesterday. I’ve said it all season that Rutgers is not an easy out in and they proved that immediately in this tournament. Northwestern should be safely in the big dance for the first time in school history, but they definitely don’t want to leave anything to chance. Bryant McIntosh against Corey Sanders will be a fun matchup of two completely different but very talented guards. But Northwestern is too good for Rutgers and too strong defensively for Sanders and company to exploit. Prediction – Northwestern by 8-10

Scott Zolotorow