Big Ten Tournament Tiebreakers: Part II

Let's win the BTT so this guy doesn't get any screen time, ok? (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

On Saturday, I went team by team covering current records, potential seeding and tiebreaking advantages. Now that there are two games left in the season for each time, things have become clearer with each game.

I’m going to be clear with that every team needs to do to maximize their seeding – I’ll also be clear what can happen in the worst-case scenario.

To see the current Big Ten bracket, with scheduled start times, click here.

Actual scenarios are after the jump. Records listed are conference records, only.

Illinois

Record: 6-10

Highest Potential Seed: 7th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Iowa (February 26th); Nebraska (won-January 7th; lost-February 18th, by 1-0 record against Michigan State); Northwestern (won-January 4th; lost-February 5th, by 1-0 record against Ohio State).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Minnesota (won-December 27th; lost-January 28th, by 0-1 record against Indiana); Penn State (January 19th).

Remaining Games: Michigan, @ Wisconsin.

Notes: Illinois beat Iowa to remain, barely, in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament bid.

First Round Bye: Illinois is four games behind Wisconsin with two to go. They are eliminated from a first round bye and will play on the first day.

Best Case: Illinois wins out, Iowa loses one or both, and Northwestern loses one or two.

Illinois beat Iowa in their only meeting, so the Illini hold the tiebreaker. Illinois split with Northwestern, with each team winning on the road. Both teams beat Michigan State. Illinois is 0-1 against Michigan, but if they win out, they would be 1-1; Northwestern was 0-2 against Michigan. Illinois split with Ohio State, while Northwestern is 0-1 against Ohio State (but would be 0-2 if they hypothetically lose out). Illinois is 0-1 against Wisconsin, but if they win out, they would be 1-1; Northwestern lost their only meeting to Wisconsin.

Worst Case: Illinois finishes tied with Nebraska and Penn State.

Illinois went 1-1 against Nebraska and 0-1 against Penn State. Nebraska went 1-1 against both Illinois and Penn State. Penn State went 1-0 against Illinois and 1-1 against Nebraska. Based on the tiebreaking rules, Illinois would finish third out of the three, taking last place.

Indiana

Record: 9-7

Highest Potential Seed: 3rd

Lowest Potential Seed: 7th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Northwestern (February 15th); Purdue (February 4th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Iowa (won-January 29th; lost-February 19th, by 1-1 record against Michigan); Michigan (won-January 5th; lost February 1st, by 0-1 record against Michigan State); Ohio State (won-December 31st; lost January 15th, by 0-1 record against Wisconsin); Wisconsin (January 26th).

Remaining Games: Michigan State, Purdue.

Notes: Indiana picked up a road win against Minnesota on Sunday. The win assures Indiana of no worse than a seeded advantage in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

First Round Bye: Indiana needs some help. The easiest scenario is the Hoosiers need to win out and need Wisconsin to lose out.

Best Case: Indiana finishes tied with Michigan and Ohio State.

All teams are 1-1 against each other. If there was a three-way tie, that would mean Ohio State and Michigan lost their last two games, meaning Ohio State would lose to Michigan State. Based on tiebreakers, Ohio State would be third of the three teams. Indiana would lose to Michigan on tiebreakers based on Wisconsin finishing in front of Purdue (Wisconsin beat Indiana; Michigan beat Wisconsin).

Worst Case: Indiana finishes tied with Iowa and Michigan finishes in front of Ohio State.

Indiana and Iowa split the season series. If Indiana finished tied with Iowa, Indiana would lose their last two games, one to Michigan State, while Iowa would win out. Indiana and Iowa would have the same winning percentage against Michigan State. Indiana would lose on the tiebreaker with Iowa based on Indiana being 1-1 against Michigan, while Iowa was 1-0 against Michigan. Because Iowa and Northwestern play the final game, Indiana could not finish lower than Northwestern (Indiana also won the season series).

Iowa

Record: 7-9

Highest Potential Seed: 5th

Lowest Potential Seed: 9th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Minnesota (January 4th and February 1st).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Illinois (February 26th); Indiana (won-February 19th; lost-January 29th, by 0-1 record against Ohio State); Northwestern (February 9th); Purdue (December 28th and January 17th).

Remaining Games: @ Nebraska, Northwestern.

Notes: What little NCAA Tournament chances the Hawkeyes had went down the drain when they lost on Sunday in Champaign-Urbana to Illinois.

First Round Bye: Iowa is three games behind Wisconsin with two to go. They are eliminated from a first round bye and will play on the first day.

Best Case: Iowa wins out, Indiana loses out, and Michigan or Wisconsin finish ahead of Ohio State.

Iowa and Indiana split their season series. Iowa lost their only meeting to Michigan State. Assuming Indiana loses out, they would be swept by the Spartans. Iowa lost their only meeting to Ohio State, while Indiana split with the Buckeyes. By contrast, Iowa swept Wisconsin and beat Michigan in their only meeting, while the Hoosiers split with Michigan and lost their only meeting to Wisconsin.

Worst Case: Iowa finishes tied with Minnesota.

Purdue went 2-0 against Minnesota and would win the tiebreaker with the Gophers.

Michigan

Record: 11-5

Highest Potential Seed: 2nd

Lowest Potential Seed: 4th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (won-February 1st; lost January 5th, by 1-1 record against Michigan State); Ohio State (won-February 18th; lost-January 29th, by 1-1 record against Michigan State); Purdue (won-January 24th; lost February 25th, by 1-1 record against Michigan State); Wisconsin (January 8th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Michigan State (won-January 17th; lost February, by 1-1 record against Ohio State)

Remaining Games: @ Illinois, @ Penn State.

Notes: Michigan’s loss to Purdue at home, on Senior Day no less, hurt. The loss knocked the Wolverines out of a chance for the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

First Round Bye: Michigan is assured of a first round bye based on tiebreakers.

Best Case: Michigan needs to finish ahead of Ohio State or, if they finish tied, Wisconsin needs to finish ahead of Purdue, but behind Michigan.

Worst Case: Michigan finishes tied with Indiana or Purdue.

Because Indiana and Purdue play the last game, Indiana and Purdue have seven losses each, and Michigan can end up with a max of seven losses, the Wolverines can only end up tied with one of the two teams. If Michigan finishes tied with Indiana or Purdue – Michigan would finish no worse than fourth (Purdue would lose to Indiana, since Indiana would have to win both games; Wisconsin would, in the worst case, tie Purdue, who the Badgers beat in the only meeting this season) (Purdue would beat Indiana, since Purdue would have to win both games; Michigan wins the tiebreaker if Ohio State finishes in front of Wisconsin based on a season split, and Michigan also wins the tiebreaker if Wisconsin finishes in front of Ohio State based on winning the only season meeting against the Badgers).

Michigan State

Record: 13-3

Seed: 1st

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Michigan 1-1 (won-February 5th; lost-January 17th, by 1-0 record against Ohio State); Ohio State (February 11th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: None.

Remaining Games: @ Indiana, Ohio State.

Notes: Michigan State has clinched the number one seed for the Big Ten Tournament. Even if there happened to be a three-way tie for first, the Spartans would be the top team. Michigan State would beat Ohio State based on their performance against Wisconsin – 2-0 versus 1-1 for the Buckeyes. The Spartans would beat Michigan based on their performance against Purdue – 2-0 versus 1-1 for the Wolverines. MSU, OSU, and UM have identical records against Indiana – or would – in a worst case scenario for MSU.

Minnesota

Record: 5-11

Highest Potential Seed: 9th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Nebraska (February 5th); Penn State (January 15th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Illinois (won-January 28th; lost-December 27th, by 0-2 record against Michigan State); Iowa (January 4th and February 1st); Northwestern (won-January 22nd; lost-February 18th, by 0-2 record against Michigan State).

Remaining Games: @ Wisconsin, Nebraska.

Notes: Minnesota’s NCAA Tournament chances are virtually gone, thanks to a home loss on Sunday to Indiana.

First Round Bye: Minnesota is five games behind Wisconsin with two to go. They are eliminated from a first round bye and will play on the first day.

Best Case: Minnesota wins out, tying Northwestern and Iowa or tying just Northwestern, along with Illinois finishing behind the Gophers.

Minnesota went 0-2 against Iowa and 1-1 against Northwestern. Iowa is 2-0 against Minnesota and 0-1 against Northwestern (with one game remaining). Northwestern is 1-1 against Minnesota and 1-0 against Iowa (with one game remaining). Regardless of the result in the Iowa/Northwestern game, if the three teams tie, Minnesota would finish third among the three based on common record. If the Gophers tie just Northwestern, they would lose via the tiebreaking record against Michigan State – Minnesota went 0-2 while Northwestern was 1-0.

Worst Case: Minnesota loses out and Penn State wins twice.

Nebraska

Record: 4-12

Highest Potential Seed: 10th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Penn State (won-January 11th; lost February 11th, by 1-0 record against Indiana).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Illinois (won-February 18th; lost-January 7th, by 0-1 record against Michigan State); Minnesota (February 5th).

Remaining Games: Iowa, @ Minnesota.

Notes: Nebraska lost on Saturday in East Lansing, getting drilled by Michigan State to the tune of a 28-point loss.

First Round Bye: Nebraska is six games behind Wisconsin with two to go. They are eliminated from a first round bye and will play on the first day.

Best Case: Nebraska wins out, Illinois loses out, and Minnesota and Penn State finish behind the Huskers.

Nebraska went 1-1 against Illinois. Nebraska went 0-2 against Michigan State, while Illinois won their only meeting against the Spartans. Nebraska would lose the tiebreaker, finishing behind the Illini.

Worst Case: Nebraska loses out and Purdue finishes ahead of Indiana OR Nebraska wins once and Penn State beats Michigan OR Nebraska wins out and Penn State wins out.

Northwestern

Record: 7-9

Highest Potential Seed: 7th

Lowest Potential Seed: 9th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Illinois (won-February 5th; lost-January 4th, by 1-0 record against Nebraska); Iowa (February 9th); Minnesota (won-February 18th; lost-January 22nd, by 1-0 record against Michigan State).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Indiana (February 15th); Purdue (January 28th and February 12th).

Remaining Games: Ohio State, @ Iowa.

Notes: Northwestern remained alive in the NCAA Tournament discussion with a nail-biter in Happy Valley, knocking off Penn State.

First Round Bye: Northwestern is three games behind Wisconsin with two to go. They are eliminated from a first round bye and will play on the first day.

Best Case: Northwestern finishes tied with Indiana or Purdue.

Purdue went 1-1 against Michigan and 0-1 against Ohio State. Michigan was 1-1 against Purdue and 1-1 against Ohio State. Ohio State went 1-1 against Michigan and 1-0 against Purdue. In that case, Purdue would finish third out of the three teams.

Worst Case: Purdue finishes tied with Iowa or Northwestern.

Regardless of whether Purdue finishes tied with Iowa or Northwestern, the Boilermakers would finish in front of either the Hawkeyes or the Wildcats. Purdue went 2-0 against Iowa and 2-0 against Northwestern.

Ohio State

Record: 11-5

Highest Potential Seed: 2nd

Lowest Potential Seed: 5th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (won-January 15th; lost-December 31st, (by 1-0 record against Wisconsin); Purdue (February 7th); Wisconsin (won-February 4th; lost-February 26th, by 1-1 record against Michigan).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Michigan (won-January 29th; lost February 18th, by 0-1 record against Michigan State)

Remaining Games: @ Northwestern, @ Michigan State

Notes: Ohio State lost at home to Wisconsin, ending their chances at the top seed in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes can still have a shared championship, though.

First Round Bye: An Indiana loss or an Ohio State win will assure the Buckeyes of a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

Best Case: Ohio State finishes ahead of Michigan or, if they finish tied, Purdue finishes ahead of Wisconsin, but behind Ohio State.

Worst Case: Ohio State finishes tied with Indiana.

For that to happen, the Buckeyes would have to lose their last two games and Indiana would have to win their last two. Assuming Michigan won at least once and Wisconsin twice, Indiana and Ohio State would tie for fourth. Based on tiebreakers, Indiana would win, based on a hypothetical win over Michigan State this week (as compared with Ohio State’s hypothetical 0-2 mark). The Buckeyes would then finish fifth, while Indiana would finish fourth.

Penn State

Record: 4-12

Highest Potential Seed: 9th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Illinois (January 19th); Nebraska (won-February 11th; lost-January 11th, by 1-0 record against Indiana).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Minnesota (January 15th).

Remaining Games: @ Purdue, Michigan.

Notes: Penn State lost a heartbreaker at home to Northwestern on Sunday.

First Round Bye: Penn State is six games behind Wisconsin with two to go. They are eliminated from a first round bye and will play on the first day.

Best Case: Penn State wins out, Illinois loses out, and Minnesota and Nebraska finish behind the Nittany Lions.

Penn State won the only meeting with Illinois during the season.

Worst Case: Penn State loses out and Indiana finishes ahead of Purdue OR Penn State beats Purdue, Nebraska wins one, and Indiana finishes ahead of Purdue.

Purdue

Record: 9-7

Highest Potential Seed: 4th

Lowest Potential Seed: 6th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Iowa (December 28th and January 17th); Northwestern (January 28th and February 12th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Indiana (February 4th); Michigan (won-February 25th; lost-January 24th, by 0-2 record against Michigan State); Ohio State (February 7th); Wisconsin (January 12th).

Remaining Games: Penn State, @ Indiana.

Notes: Purdue picked up a huge win in Ann Arbor on Saturday, defeating the Wolverines by double digits.

First Round Bye: Purdue needs some help. The easiest scenario is the Boilermakers need to win out and need Wisconsin to lose out.

Best Case: Purdue finishes tied with Michigan and Ohio State.

Purdue went 1-1 against Michigan and 0-1 against Ohio State. Michigan was 1-1 against Purdue and 1-1 against Ohio State. Ohio State went 1-1 against Michigan and 1-0 against Purdue. In that case, Purdue would finish third out of the three teams.

Worst Case: Purdue finishes tied with Iowa or Northwestern.

Regardless of whether Purdue finishes tied with Iowa or Northwestern, the Boilermakers would finish in front of either the Hawkeyes or the Wildcats. Purdue went 2-0 against Iowa and 2-0 against Northwestern.

Wisconsin

Record: 10-6

Highest Potential Seed: 2nd

Lowest Potential Seed: 5th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (January 26th); Purdue (January 12th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Michigan (January 8th); Ohio State (won-February 26th; lost-February 4th, by 0-1 record against Michigan).

Remaining Games: Minnesota, Illinois.

Notes: Wisconsin stays above the Indiana schools with a win in Columbus on Sunday, splitting the season series.

First Round Bye: A Wisconsin win will assure the Badgers of a first round bye. In the event Wisconsin loses both of their remaining games, an Indiana or Purdue loss during the week and the other losing over the weekend will assure Wisconsin of not having to play on Thursday.

Best Case: (1) Wisconsin wins out, (2a) Ohio State loses out OR (2b) Ohio State loses once with Indiana finishing in front of Purdue; (3) and Michigan loses out.

Wisconsin lost their only meeting to Michigan so they would lose on a tiebreaker. Wisconsin split with Ohio State, the Buckeyes can win the tiebreaker if they beat Michigan State. Otherwise, the tiebreaker will move to Indiana and Purdue, depending on finish.

Worst Case: Wisconsin finishes tied with Indiana or Purdue, but behind the other team.

Wisconsin cannot finish in a three-way tie with Indiana and Wisconsin. The Badgers can finish tied with the loser of Indiana/Purdue, if Wisconsin loses out and the loser of Indiana/Purdue wins their weeknight game. Wisconsin won the season series against both Indiana and Purdue. Regardless of who they would be tied with, Wisconsin would finish ahead of that team, no worse than 5th.

Current Big Ten Standings (as of 2/28)

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