John Shurna and the Wildcats still have work to do to make Northwestern's first NCAA tournament. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE
Since the end of non-conference play/early conference play in college basketball, I've been following where teams in all conference stood in regards to their chances of making the field of 68. More so than any other conference, I follow Big Ten basketball, but I follow the other major conferences as well (and mid majors like the Missouri Valley, Mountain West, and West Coast). With roughly two weeks until Selection Sunday, and about a week until the Big Ten Tournament, its time to see where the Big Ten stands.
To see the current Bubble Watch for all major and mid-major conferences, click here.
For information on Big Ten teams who have a shot at being in the NCAA Tournament's Field of 68, make your way past the jump.
Indiana has beaten Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State at home. They also won at Purdue this season – and that’s just the conference wins. This Hoosiers team hardly resembles last season’s team. And Indiana will have to play in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. If not for a stretch between January 12th and February 1st, when the Hoosiers were 2-5 in those games, they would have a first round bye.
Locks: Michigan State (24-6) (13-4); Michigan (21-8) (11-5); Ohio State (23-6) (11-5); Wisconsin (22-8) (11-6); Indiana (23-7) (10-7).
Top 50 RPI: 9-5
Michigan State wrapped up the top seed for the Big Ten Tournament over the weekend, but looked nothing like the best team in the Big Ten, getting beat down by 15 in Bloomington. The lost at Indiana, in the way they lost, might have cost the Spartans a number one seed. Still, it may be a blessing in disguise, as they likely won’t be shipped out west, now. Michigan State hosts Ohio State on Sunday, at the Breslin Center, in their home finale.
Top 50 RPI: 9-6
After winning against Northwestern during the week, Michigan got drilled at home by Purdue, suffering their first, and only, home loss of the season. Still, Michigan has won four of their last five. Michigan likely won’t win the regular season title, but has a good chance at a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines have games left at Illinois and at Penn State.
Top 50 RPI: 7-5
Ohio State is limping their way into the post-season. The Buckeyes were once considered contenders for a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, now they have lost three of their last five, including two of their last three at home. Ohio State beat Illinois at home during the week, but lost at home to Wisconsin on Sunday. Ohio State’s depth is becoming a major issue. The Buckeyes are probably out of the Big Ten title race, and are hoping to hang on for a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State has games remaining at Northwestern and at Michigan State.
Top 50 RPI: 5-6
Wisconsin beat Minnesota at the Kohl Center on Tuesday night. The Badgers haven’t been their usual selves at home this season, but have been adequate on the road. Wisconsin has won three of their last four, after splitting their previous four games. Wisconsin finishes the season at home on Sunday against Illinois.
Top 50 RPI: 7-4
Indiana drilled Big Ten Champion Michigan State in Bloomington on Tuesday night, dominating them from start to finish. Indiana is 6-1 in their last seven games, winning by an average of 14.7 points per game. The Hoosiers are 4-6 in road and neutral court games. The Hoosiers finish the season with Purdue at Assembly Hall on Sunday.
Probably in: Purdue (19-10) (9-7).
Top 50 RPI: 6-7
Purdue has gotten hot lately, winning four of their last five games. Purdue beat Nebraska in West Lafayette and picked up a crucial road win against Michigan on Saturday. Purdue is in great shape for the NCAA Tournament and has a decent chance at a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue will move to a "lock" with a win over Penn State. The Boilers play Penn State and at Indiana this week.
Work to do: Northwestern (17-11) (7-9).
Top 50 RPI: 2-9
Northwestern split during the week, losing to Michigan at home, but winning at Penn State by one, thus avoiding disaster. The Wildcats are treading water right now, but have decent wins over LSU, Seton Hall, and Michigan State. The Wildcats will move to "probably in" with victories in their last two games. Northwestern concludes the season with games against Ohio State and at Iowa.
Which Big Ten bubble team has the best chance at being in the Field of 68?
Illinois (39 votes)
Iowa (34 votes)
Minnesota (10 votes)
Northwestern (158 votes)
241 total votes