How many Big Ten teams are in the NCAA tournament?
Among the conferences in the Big Dance, the Big Ten is the one wearing the nicest shoes. With all of its teams registering from No. 1 to No. 10, they’re the ones to beat.
The field for is set and so is the bracket which is why we’re taking a look at the teams which have qualified for the Big Dance, but more specifically, those from the Big 10. Join us as we break down who is who in the elite conference.
How many Big Ten teams are in the tournament and who are they?
If you’re a college basketball fan, then there is no doubt that you’ve heard of the Big Ten. As the oldest Division 1 collegiate athletic conference in the country, it’s synonymous with title winners. Needless to say, the norm is that if you’d like to win a title, you’ve probably got to go through one of the Big Ten’s teams which for the purpose of clarity are as follows: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Pennsylvania State, Rutgers, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin which makes 14 teams in total. As for how many of them made this year’s tournament and who they are, we’ve got eight attending the big dance. Let’s get into them!
As the champions of both the conference regular season tournament and tournament championships, Purdue need no introduction. With the 7-foot-4 star, Zach Edey in the middle, this team won’t be anyone’s first choice of opponent. On the other hand, the draw couldn’t have been meaner. By all indications, it’s highly likely that the Boilermakers will face Memphis, a team that’s fresh off of beating fellow No. 1 seed Houston in the AAC finals. Should they manage to pass that test, they could face Duke who are taking no prisoners at the moment. In truth, Purdue will have to be adaptable if nothing else as they could well face many teams including Marquette and Kentucky, depending on how far they go. Of course, so too will their opponents.
Despite all that we said about Purdue above, Indiana is a team that swept them during the regular season. While it’s true that they did lose an ‘easy’ game in the BTT, this is a team that can definitely make a deep run in the tournament. With team talisman, Trayce Jackson-Davis now a first-team All-American and freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino playing the supporting role to perfection, they are currently in the top 10 when it comes to field goal percentage. If there is a catch, it’s their board game, which is to say they are not good at rebounding. Quite frankly, their destiny this year could well depend on improving that fact.
The Wildcats turned heads this season with a string of impressive performances. Some may argue that they had a slump toward the end of the season, but here we are none the less. Behind their leader and senior, Boo Buie, they have improved consistently and especially in defense, having held opponents to 62.5 points per game. If there is one doubt about them, it’s their offense and whether or not they can go toe-to-toe with the kind of opposition they are set to face.
On the surface this team is impressive. The Terps beat Purdue, Northwestern, and Indiana on their way to establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the conference. On the other hand, they lost to Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin which definitely leaves doubts about their consistency. Ultimately, if there is one criticism that can be made of Maryland, it’s that they rely heavily on their ball-handler to eliminate his defender in order to set the floor. With that in mind, the simple key to beating them is to stop that from happening.
Truth be told, this is one of the best teams out there when it comes to offense. Not only are they prolific when it comes to scoring, but they are extremely experienced in not turning over the ball as well. Yet, as is normally the case in life, you can’t be good at both sides of the coin. Iowa are among the worst in college basketball when it comes to points allowed and quite frankly, it doesn’t seem to be something that they’ve improved on. For any opponent facing them, it will come down to scoring the opportunities that you’re given.
With all due respect, the ‘Illini’ are somewhat out of their depth here. Though they might do well against Arkansas in their first game, the reality is that if they make it past that contest, they will have to face No. 1 seed and defending national champion Kansas, which barring a massive upset, will be the end of the road for them. That being said, it’s March Madness so keep an eye on these guys.
The Lions are a mixed bag. On the one side, they had an impressive runb in the BTT, which saw them make it all the way to the finals where they narrowly lost to Purdue. Yet, it’s got to be said that you never know which version of them will show up. At any rate, they’re definitely better than their first-round opponent, Texas A&M, so there is a good chance they can get deeper into the tournament. Again, who knows.
If we’re honest, MSU come into the tournament lucky to have the bracket they do. While it’s true that they can play decent ball, their performance against Ohio State raises serious concerns about their consistency. If not for the apparent leg up that they’ve been given by the committee, it’s highly likely this party would be over before it started. None the less, this is a team with a heavy history. Keep an eye on them.
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