Big Ten Conference Tournament to Shake Up Top Seed in March Madness
The 2022 Big Ten Conference Tournament features a slew of powerhouse teams competing for the annual conference title, no more qualified than the eighth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers.
The Big Ten is expected to be the most represented conference in the NCAA Tournament. Per the latest edition of Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. This congestion and level of quality also mean that the conference tournament is one of the hardest ones to predict in all of America.
Games will run from Wednesday, March 9, through championship Sunday, March 13.
The Big Ten Rises to the Top
Purdue’s 25-6 record was the best in the Big Ten, although they only head into the conference tournament as a third seed. The top two spots were reserved for the Illinois Fighting Illini and Wisconsin Badgers. Illinois lost both matchups with Purdue this season, while Wisconsin won both.
Rutgers, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Indiana comprise the remaining “challengers” with realistic chances of winning the tournament. Iowa had been the hottest team of this bunch. Winning five straight games against conference opponents before a two-point home loss to Iowa last Sunday.
Maryland, Penn State, Northwestern, Nebraska, and Minnesota are in the bottom tier of the Big Ten. All posting losing records in conference play and overall this year. The 2017 Michigan Wolverines are the lowest seed ever to win the Big Ten Tournament. Overcoming their eighth seed and winning the conference title; these teams will be seeded 10-14.
The Big Ten Betting Favorites
Purdue has a commanding lead in the eyes of the oddsmakers, checking in at +220 odds at the time of publication. They are led by one of the nation’s most promising prospects, sophomore guard Jaden Ivey. Who is averaging 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game this season. Ivey has consistently delivered in big moments and is the driving reason for his squad being ranked so highly.
7-foot-4 big man Zach Edey is his co-star, averaging 14.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. Edey is not as much of an interior defender or menace on the boards as his height would suggest that he is.He has quick feet and a soft touch and is a matchup nightmare for opponents.
Illinois Illini have a Great Chance after Regular Season Championship
Regular-season champion Illinois has the second-best odds to win the Big Ten Conference Tournament at +370. The Illini were expected to fall off somewhat after the departure of now-Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu. Yet, their 22-8 record indicates that they are still one of the premier teams in college basketball.
The Illini are led by a menacing 7-foot center named Kofi Cockburn. He is averaging 21.0 points and 10.6 rebounds. Three Illinois guards are also averaging double-digit scoring, and two of them shot over 41% from beyond the arc during the regular season.
Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio State fill out the remainder of the top-five in betting odds. Boasting +400, +750, and +1000 odds, respectively. The significant drop-off even from three (Iowa) to four (Wisconsin) shows that the oddsmakers have a clear-cut top-three. They are not expecting any sort of early-round upsets to play a part in determining the eventual champion.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.