The Big Ten has been competitive and fairly chaotic all year long and that is unlikely to change when March Madness takes a firm hold over the NCAA. This year has been one of the best the Big Ten has seen in at least a decade. The 2020 Big Ten Conference Tournament is almost guaranteed to be must-watch basketball from the first day to the last day.
The conference standings were tight and at least eight teams have a real chance at winning the tournament in the Big Ten this year. This year the Big Ten could also see themselves have anywhere from eight to ten teams in the NCAA Tournament. The surprise of the year is the lack of a powerhouse Michigan State team and no real clear favorite to win the conference tournament.
Let’s take a look at the bracket at the upcoming madness that will be the 2020 Big Ten Conference Tournament. The potential matchups could be really fun to watch.
— Big Ten Men’s Hoops (@B1GMBBall) March 9, 2020
The great thing about this tournament is that any seed through the first nine or ten have a solid shot at winning the whole thing. The first day will feature two really good games with Michigan and Rutgers battling it out and Ohio State takes on Purdue. These four teams had their ups and downs this year and will need to play their best basketball of the year to make it deep into the tournament.
Ohio State and Michigan both were soaring high before conference play and got fairly beat up to start conference play. They both rebounded well, but face tough matchups. Rutgers and Purdue both need more statement wins and could get them on Thursday. Iowa and Penn State should handle their matchups.
The quarterfinals are when the best Big Ten teams get involved and the games get even better. Wisconsin is the top seed and will have their hands full with either Michigan or Rutgers. Iowa and Illinois could be an absolute knockout drag-out fight that goes down to the wire. Luka Garza may be enough to top the Fighting Illini, but its gonna be hard to stop Ayo Dosunmu and company. Michigan State should beat the winner of Ohio State and Purdue. Penn State could strike an upset against an up and down Maryland team.
The Semifinals are hard to predict and upsets are likely. The top seed Wisconsin should make it to this stage and a matchup against Iowa would be a lot of fun to watch. Luka Garza is a force on the court and it wouldn’t be surprising if he forces his way into the championship game. Michigan State seems to have peaked at the right time and stopping them may be nearly impossible. Cassius Winston has overcome every bit of adversity imaginable and is ready for the title game. Maryland or Penn State would have to be firing on all cylinders to stop Tom Izzo and the Spartans.
Championship Game Prediction
This is a hard prediction to make and there could be any two teams fighting it out for the championship at the end. Michigan State seems fairly in control of their half of the bracket and should be able to fight their way to the front of the line. The top half of the bracket seems to be where the most confusion and competition lies. A lot of the time these things shape up to who’s hot and who has the best player. Iowa has the best player in Garza and the Hawkeyes will go as far as he carries them.
Michigan State and Iowa would be a tense battle for the Big Ten title. The Spartans just look like the better team combined with an extra day of rest on the front end of the tournament. Stopping Cassius Winston and company when they are locked in isn’t an easy thing to do. Iowa has the ability to hang in there, but fatigue and talent depth would become an issue near the end of the game. The Spartans can redeem their season and win the 2020 Big Ten Conference Tournament, regaining that preseason hype heading into the NCAA Tournament.
2020 Big Ten Conference Tournament MVP
If Michigan State wins the Big Ten Championship it will be because of Cassius Winston. The senior point guard is the obvious choice to win the MVP if the Spartans win it all. He has already compiled a massive set of accomplishments and would love to add one more to his portfolio before calling it a career. The team is deep and talented, but they can only go as far as their senior leader can take them. It will be a bittersweet moment for the Spartan point guard. This will be the last game he plays where he doesn’t know if it’ll all be over with a loss. The NCAA Tournament will be up next and any single game could be his last in the NCAA.