The Line with Caroline- A look at the Big Ten Tournament

The Big Ten Tournament will tip off 11:00 am central today. The United Center will be rocking as the Big Ten will invade Chicago as the toughest league in the NCAA will be fighting for their spots in the tourney.  Here is my look at the all of the matchups and predictions.

First Round

Thursday 11:00AM CT BTN
8 Illinois
9 Minnesota

Neither team has been playing particularly well lately and with Minnesota you have to ask yourself, ‘how were they ever ranked number eight in the country?’.  Ironically enough, they are ranked number nine in the Big Ten conference tourney.

The Illini are 6-6 in their last twelve games; Brandon Paul is going to have to do a better job leading this team than at any other time this season. With the game in Chicago, the Illini will prevail by 7 against a Minnesota team who has gone 5-7 over their last 12 games.

25 minutes after Illinois/Minnesota on BTN

5 Michigan
12 Penn State

This is a re-match game that is huge for the Wolverines. Michigan lost to Penn State by six a little over two weeks ago. This time Trey Burke won’t let the Lions stay in the game. The Wolverines will win by 14.

Thursday 5:30PM CT BTN

7 Purdue
10 Nebraska

Purdue has quality wins against Indiana then #1 Indiana, Minnesota and a double OT win against Iowa. This team is young, but will win their first game against Nebraska. Terone Johnson, who is dominating at scoring, rebounds and assists this year, will score 20 points and 10 boards against the Huskers. Boilermakers by 9.

25 minutes after Purdue/Nebraska BTN

6 Iowa
11 Northwestern

My Hawkeyes have surprised even me. I predicted them to finish 11th in the Big Ten. Imagine my surprise to a 6 seed in the Big Ten Tourney. Fran McCaffery is a perfect fit at Iowa.  Iowa has lost six Big Ten games by four points or less for the first time since 1984. This team is on a mission. Hawks by 13.

Second Round

Friday 11:00AM ESPN
#1 Indiana
#8 Illinois

The Hoosiers are ready to play. Player of the year candidate Victor Oladipo will show why this team is for real. Indiana will roll over Illinois and their lack of defense. Hoosiers by 15.

25 minutes after Illinois/Indiana ESPN

#4 Wisconsin
#5 Michigan

This is a great matchup. The Badgers won the tiebreaker for the four seed over Michigan. But the Wolverines are hungry. Although 5-5 in their last ten games, Trey Burke (19.2 ppg and 6.8 assists per game) will roll over Wisconsin. Wolverines by 12.

5:30 PM CT BTN

#2 Ohio State
#7 Purdue

The Buckeyes have been pretty consistent.  Their only losses in the last ten games have been to Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin (all ranked teams).  DeShaun Thomas will lead this team to an easy win over Purdue.  Buckeyes by 18.

25 Minutes after Ohio State/Purdue

#3 Michigan State
#6 Iowa

In their only meeting this year, Iowa lost a close one by three to Sparty.  Although State is a “March Team” the Hawkeyes are hungry for some March Madness.  Iowa has lost six Big Ten games by four points or less, this is saying a lot for this young team.  This is Iowa’s first 20 win season since 2006 (their last Big Ten Championship).  Although, Izzo’s team is hot the Hawks are ready for an upset.  Hawks by 4. (no bias here!)

Third round

Saturday 12:40 PM CT CBS

#1 Indiana

#5 Michigan

In their third meeting of the year, the Hoosiers will prove that they are for real and sweep the Indiana/Michigan series 3-0.  Oladipo and Cody Zellar will march over the Wolverines in this instant classic.  Hoosiers by seven.

 25 minutes after Indiana/Michigan

#2 Ohio State
#6 Iowa

The Buckeyes will prove too much for this young Iowa team.  This team has won its last five including wins against Indiana and Michigan State.  Buckeyes by 8. (it hurts to write this)

Championship game

Sunday 2:30PM CT CBS

#1 Indiana
#2 Ohio State

The Hoosiers are the team to beat.  Even though they have lost to Ohio State and Minnesota recently.  Their win against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Sunday proved they are hungry for the big dance.  Hoosiers by 6.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @MiHawkeye for more sports talk and other shenanigans.