NCAA Tournament: West Regional Breakdown

Top Four Seeds

  1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  2. Iowa Hawkeyes
  3. Kansas Jayhawks
  4. Virginia Cavaliers

“Gonzaga hasn’t been tested in weeks.” That’s the take everyone loves to bring up when they talk about the Gonzaga Bulldogs.  The difference between this team and the ones of the past is Jalen Suggs.  The Zags have not had an NBA level talent like him on the roster in the last ten years.  Suggs, along with Kispert, Timme and the rest of the roster are primed for domination and I think they have the matchups to make a long run very possible.  This team was able to beat Kansas, Iowa, Virginia and West Virginia before beginning their dominant run in the West Coast Conference.  This team has only gotten better and will show it on a run to the final four. 

The 2nd seeded Iowa Hawkeyes have their sights set on a run led by Luka Garza, the biggest issue for Iowa will be on the defensive front and that will be exposed in the second round when they have the potential of meeting up with Chris Duarte and the Oregon Ducks.  Oregon will not have an answer for Garza but Oregon brings a real challenge at every other position.  Can Fran McCafferey get his guys ready for upper level offensive units?  He hasn’t proven to do it yet.

The Kansas Jayhawks may have the biggest question mark of the entire bracket.  They are dealing with a recent Covid stoppage that affected their chances to win the Big12 tournament.  The Jayhawks appeared to have found their groove towards the end of  the conference campaign, winning against powerhouse Baylor.   They followed it up with a lackluster performance against UTEP in a randomly scheduled game.  Kansas has the talent to make easy work of Eastern Washington but then they run into the USC Trojans barring an upset and that will be a problem for the Jayhawks.  The length of the Trojans will be trouble for Kansas, they will have to find a way to stop dominant big man Evan Mobley and that is a question that they will not have an answer for.  

Virginia is dealing with a similar issue that Kansas is dealing with.  Coming off of a COVID pause and a season that did not turn out the way they had hoped, the Cavaliers enter a matchup with one of the hottest teams in the country the Ohio Bobcats.  The Bobcats ran through the MAC tournament stomping Buffalo in the final.  The Bobcats have one of the best players in the country in Jason Preston.  Preston has the ability to break down any defense including the vaunted Virginia packline defense.  

First Round Upsets

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos over Creighton Bluejays

The Gauchos come from a conference that doesn’t get much hype unless you are a late night degenerate gambler much like myself.  They however are playing some of the best basketball in the country and could bring some problems to the Creighton Bluejays.  The Gauchos are 56th in the nation in effective shooting percentage as well as one of the most consistent offensive units in basketball.  They are meeting a similar offensive unit led by Marcus Zagarowski.  The Bluejays are similar to the Gauchos with one of the most effective shooting percentages in college hoops. 

The Bluejays were exposed by Georgetown in the Big East final, they have a problem on the boards and a problem at the free throw line. Creighton gives up nine offensive boards per game ranking 242nd in the nation and they are 329th in free throw percentage.  Both of these factors will give you problems in the tournament.

Ohio Bobcats over Virginia Cavaliers

I already explained this.  Jason Preston will be a problem for every team in the tournament if he is healthy.  This is not the same Cavalier team that won the tournament in 2019.

Teams that can make a run- USC Trojans

The Trojans come out of the not so vaunted Pac 12 so some of their ability is getting overlooked.  Everyone has heard of Evan Mobley, likely a top five pick in the NBA draft.  He alone is good enough to get them at least one victory in the NCAA tournament.  If you look at the draw that USC got they should have a few favorable matchups.  They likely will match up with the Kansas Jayhawks that will have problems dealing with the length that USC brings to the table.  The Trojans have the ability to shut down any offense and Kansas will have trouble doing anything.  

If they get by Kansas a potential matchup with Iowa is a juicy spot for all college basketball lovers.  Luka Garza vs Evan Mobley is a matchup that can headline any basketball slate. Mobley and company are an achilles heel for the Hawkeyes.  USC has problems at the free throw line which could end up costing them but Tahj Eddy and Ethan Anderson both shoot over 39% from deep which will open up the middle for the unstoppable force Evan Mobley.  

West Regional Bracket Winner- Gonzaga Bulldogs

NCAA Tournament- South Regional Breakdown

Top Seeds-

  1. Baylor
  2. Ohio State
  3. Arkansas
  4. Purdue

The South Regional is led by the Baylor Bears.  After their long covid pause there seems to be a bit of hesitation in their abilities to get back to the team they were at the beginning of the season.  The loss to Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State along with their struggle to put away lowly Kansas State leaves a lot of question marks on a team that could easily make a run to the championship.  

The Ohio State Buckeyes seemed to come from nowhere to the Big Ten Championship game.  They have prolific scorers in guard Duane Washington and forward EJ Liddell.  It is their role players that can step up at any moment and make an impact on the game.  CJ Walker, Seth Towns and Justin Sueing are all players that can make plays when asked upon.  The Buckeyes have victories over Illinois, Iowa and Michigan this season.  They have been tested all season and have players they can lean on down the stretch of a close game.  

Arkansas was and still is one of the hottest teams in all of college basketball.  Until running into LSU on Saturday they were winners of 13 straight games.  They have an absolutely elite offense led by Moses Moody and Desi Sills.  Their matchup with Colgate should be a cake walk for the Razorbacks (don’t listen to anyone that says different), but they could have gotten a rough matchup if Texas Tech finds its way past Utah State.  Arkansas arguably has the best offense in the entire bracket, but they will have matchups with teams that will slow them down and that is going to be trouble for Eric Musselman and company.

Purdue worked their way into a #4 seed on the back of their star Trevion Williams.  Williams has revitalized the post game in college basketball.  The Boilmakers has a solid resume, finishing 13-6 in the vaunted Big 10, there loan bad loss being against  a depleted Miami team early in the season.  Purdue is a dark horse in this bracket, but they will be tested in the first round by a feisty North Texas team. 

Potential First Round Upsets 

13. North Texas over 4. Purdue

Purdue could be a sleeper to come out of this bracket but I think they will have their hands full with North Texas.  The Mean Green are a stout defensive unit, they give up 60 ppg this season and hold opposing teams to an effective shooting percentage of 45.7%, ranking 20th in the nation.  North Texas has been challenged this year playing West Virginia, Arkansas and Loyola-Chicago this year.  

Purdue has Trevion Williams, he will be a problem for North Texas, but these two team play similar styles.  Purdue can’t look past the Conference USA champions, I think they will and they will pay for it. 

11. Utah State over 6. Texas Tech

Utah State was a surprise to make the tournament. Most thought the Mountain West would be a one bid league, but the Aggies deserve to be there and they will show that in their first round matchup against Texas Tech.  Utah State is a very solid rebounding team that has a stud in the middle named Neemias Queta.  Queta and Justin Bean are tough as they come on the boards and their grind it out style will be a tough matchup for the Red Raiders.  This Utah State team has two victories over San Diego State this season, a team that brings a similar toughness that Texas Tech brings to the table.  Mac McClung and company have more overall talent but they can have trouble putting together consistent offensive success.  Watch out for the Aggies.

Sleeper team to make a run- North Carolina Tarheels

North Carolina enters the 2021 tournament with very little expected of them.  A late surge in the season locked them into a spot, but they do feature the talent to make a solid run.  Their first round matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers doesn’t look as intimidating as it once did early in the season as the Badgers seem to not be able to win a big game despite all the veteran leadership.  They would then likley get a matchup with the Baylor Bears. Baylor’s three point shooting and defense seems like a surefire victory but the Bears will lack the size to handle the Tarheels in the interior. 

Carolina’s biggest problem has been lack of consistent guard play and outside shooting, RJ Davis and Leaky Black have found a groove of late that could mean trouble for opposing teams in the South Regional.  There is NBA level talent on the Tarheel roster, along with a coach that has been there before.  They will be tested right off the bat but they can pass that test without needing to study much.  (Hope you got the joke there)

Pick to win the South- Ohio State Buckeyes over Baylor Bears

NCAAB Play of the day: Robert Morris Colonials at Detroit Titans

The Robert Morris Colonials head to the Detroit Titans Friday night in a Horizon League matchup featuring two of the weakest defenses in all of college basketball.  Detroit and Robert Morris both rank worse than 280th in defensive efficiency in the nation.  Robert Morris in particular has given up at least 79 points in seven of their last eight games.  The Titans have scored over 80 points in three of their last four.

Robert Morris can’t guard the perimeter, they give up threes at 38% per game on the season.  The Titans are a great outside shooting team, as a team they shoot 38% from deep.  Detroit guard Antoine Davis leads the offensive attack, averaging 22 ppg, he has scored 23 points in five straight games..  Along with Davis Detroit features guards Noah Waterman and Bul Kuol, both are double digit scorers. Detroit doesn’t move quickly but they are all about efficiency on the offensive end.  

The Colonials give up 77 ppg on the season. Their offense has begun to catch up with their defense scoring 81 and 88 in their last two games. Guard AJ Bramah leads the offensive attack averaging 21 ppg and 10 rpg, they only feature one other double digit scorer but the offensive works well around Bramah and their recent offensive output makes them a real problem for the Titans defense.  

The Colonials and the Titans are both terrible on the defensive end.  They both can shoot the ball well from deep and it should be an easy flow for both offenses.  Detroit is a 9.5 point favorite that should be able to cover the spread, their offense should be able to get to 80 and Robert Morris is red hot on the offensive end.  This number is too low for how bad these defenses are. 

 Play of the day: Over 143.5

Five role players that will make or break their teams.

Stars in college basketball will get the headlines. In college basketball the game is more about a team concept.  Rarely do you have a team that is star drive go win the whole thing. Virginia was loaded with key players that were all assets to their eventual championship.  I want to highlight the players people don’t talk about enough that could be the reason their team makes it deep into March Madness.  

*These players will be from power conference teams.

Quincy McKnight, Seton Hall

Most common college basketball fans know that Seton Hall is Myles Powells team.  When Powell is not on his game it is the senior point gaurd Qunicy McKnight that picks up the slack. McKnight is veteran that isn’t afaid of prime time competetion.  His ability to run the offense and create off the dribble will open up the floor for Myles Powell and Sandro (Not trying to spell last name). 

In the NCAA tournament McKnight will have to force the defense to pay attention to him, his 84% free throw shooting will also be a huge advantage for the Pirates.  He will be the guy forced to take the ball against top defensive teams that will not allow the ball into Powell’s hands.  

Marcus Garrett, Kansas

Who doesn’t know Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike.  The unsung hero of KU is Junior Guard Marcus Garrett.  Garrett is a solid two way player that has shown up in the big moments of the season. Garrett showed his potential this weekend taking over the game agaisnt Oklahoma after Kansas got off to a slow start.  Garrett’s defense has alwasy been his trademark but it was his ability to shoot the three that shocked most fans, knocking down nine of them.  

If Garrett can provide the outside shot to go along with his defense he will be the difference maker for Kansas in the tourney.

Chris Clarke, Texas Tech

The popular sleeper team in college basketball is Texas Tech.  They have flashy scorers in Jahmi’us Ramsey, Davide Moretti and Kyler Edwards steal the headlines. It’s the Virgnia Tech transfer Chris Clarke that provides the grit work for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech has the skilled players to compete with anyone.  What they lack is the power on the inside to compete with the big boys of college basketball. Clarke’s toughness is a necessity for last year’s runner up to the national title. His perfromances against K-State, Louisville and Kentucky all carried the team to victories or near victories (Kentucky).  

Toughness and experience are what seems to be lacking from Texas Tech.  His ability to help run the offense and help thems stay up tempo will be important downt he stretch. 

Daryl Morsell, Maryland Terrapins

Maryland has issues. Their ridiculous talent can overshadow their ineffeciencies. Daryl Morsell is a player that has become a key player in their big matchups.  Wins over Illinois and Rutgers showed off the potential stat stuffing ability of Morsell. Morsell is currently shooting 36% from three, which is a huge improvement over last season 28%.  The Terrapins have issues shooting the ball, if Morsell can provide the threat from distance it will make their ridiulously athletic point guard Anthony Cowan even tougher to defend.  

Morsell is the third leading scorer on Maryland behind the aforementioned Cowan and NBA prospect Jalen Smith.   Morsell will be the player that gets the open looks and if he hits this team has final four written all over them.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was a highly rated recruit, the freshman forward has lived up to the rating.  Averaging 10 points and nearly 9 boards a game is nice but his ability to play the five in an uptempo Villanova offense has allowed them to play at a faster rate.  

Robinson-Earl is matchup nightmare for traditional bigs and has the ability to post up opposing players that match his size.  Colin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey are the guys that catch the headlines but Robinson Earl is the guy that allows them to before by cleaning up the glass.  If you question the freshman at all check his game logs against higher level competition. His play will determine where this team goes.

CBB pick ATS Jan. 21

Florida Gators at LSU Tigers -2.5

Florida’s had a disappointing start 2019-2020 campaign.  Their loss to Missouri on January 11th was not only bad, it was downright embarrassing.  Florida has bounced back with two straight victories and covers versus Ole Miss and Auburn.  The Florida defense has been outstanding all season and they were able to shut down Auburn the entire game holding the undefeated Auburn Tigers to just 47 points.  

LSU is currently on a six game win streak, currently being undefeated in the SEC.  The Tigers will face their stiffest competition within the league. 

Florida’s offense has not been great most of the season but they have seemed to find it in SEC play averaging 80 points per game in their five games.  Florida will be able to cause problems for the LSU offense with Kerry Blackshear and 6-10 freshman Omar Payne both controlling the paint. Florida has found their mojo as they have begun to play well as all the new pieces are beginning to fit together.  Mike White has found the right mix that works. The Gators were a top ten team to begin the season and they will begin their climb back up the NCAA rankings.  

Pick: FloridaGators +2.5 

Texas Tech Red Raiders at TCU Horned Frogs +3

Texas Tech has the best player on the court in guard Jahim’us Ramsey.  Ramsey will have trouble tonight versus Jamie Dixon’s TCU defense. Known for their tight man to man coverage should be a problem for Ramsey but the Red Raiders have more to offer on the offensive end than just their freshman guard.  Kyler Edwards, Davide Moretti and Chris Clarke are all offensive options that can be a problem for the Horned Frogs. 

The Red Raiders have been streaky all season but have wins over Louisville, Iowa State and Kansas State were all wins that show the potential they have to take over the Big12.  Texas Tech will have the advantage on the offensive end, the key will be to keep TCU off of the boards. TCU is just 4-7 ATS the spread at home in 2019-2020, Texas Tech is also 5-0-1 in their last six versus the Horned Frogs.

Texas Tech is in need of another signature win and their ability to utilize multiple players on the offensive end should be enough to cover.

Picks: Texas Tech Red Raiders -3

Three things we learned about Duke last night.

Alex O’Connell has improved.

AOC could always shoot. That was what he was useful for in his first two seasons.  Last night AOC was not connecting at a high percentage but was still able to make an impact.  With four rebounds, three steals and two assists AOC was able to put together an impressive stat line that was more than just coming in and chucking shots all over the floor.  

The most notable play from last night was in the first half when he stormed towards the rim and finished a thunderous (for O’Connell) put back dunk.  That was a play that you would have never seen from AOC over the last few seasons.  The junior  has taken the next step in development and will be a key piece off the bench for Duke this season. 

Cassius Stanley is a spark plug.

Duke obviously lost its offensive spark plugs in Zion and RJ Barrett.  At a time in the second half when the Blue Devils were showing their youth and lack off firepower, Cassius Stanley was the guy that ignited the rally. Two thunderous dunks off of Kansas turnovers inspired the team.  

With just 2:29 left in the game it was Stanley hat was able to drive to the hoop and lay it in while being fouled.  After he sunk the free throw Duke took a one-point lead, one they would never relinquish.  Stanley had 11 of his 13 points in the second half, showing where the ball may be going in a time of need for Duke.  

This defense is very good. 

Tre Jones is widely considered the best on ball defender in all of college basketball.  His intensity showed in his teammates.  Kansas turned the ball over at an alarming rate, finishing the game with 28 turnovers.  While Duke cannot rely on a lack of ball security at that rate, they can rely on the effort from all five positions.

Kansas had a clear advantage with their size on the interior.  The Duke team defensive plan was to double the bigs as soon as possible. They did it to perfection.  The bigs doubled and while the guards were able to rotate and take away the outlet passes. The fact that Kansas got zero points from back to the basket posts and just four points on passes out of the double teams is a huge reason for them pulling out the victory.

The right choice for Michigan

The legacy of the Fab Five lives on in college basketball history.  Any time there is a vaunted recruiting class they are compared to the greatness of the 1991 Michigan rookie class.  Three notable future NBA players Jalen Rose, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard highlighted a group that was able to reach two national championship games. Despite not winning either their impact on the game and their style of play was a look into the future of college basketball.

The Fab Five’s greatness was tarnished after leaving Michigan, allegations of paying players forced the university to take down banners that were earned from the sweat and hard work of 19-year-olds.  Whether or not you find the allegations right or wrong in the landscape of college basketball, I will never agree with a university ultimately punishing is student athletes by trying to take away the history they built in their time there. 

Michigan basketball has quietly been one of the most consistent programs in college hoops, since 2013 they have been in the national title game twice, reaching the sweet sixteen twice and the elite eight twice.  Only in 2015 did Michigan not make the NCAA tournament.  Add in one Big10 regular season title and two tournament title and you can see why the loss of longtime coach John Beilein was a punch in the gut to the program.  The loss of Beilein accompanied by the loss of last season top three scorers, Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Mathews and Jordan Poole, all have announced they’ll being entering the draft and signing with agents temporarily left Michigan with a lot of questions heading into next season.  But with the quick acquisition of Howard as Head Coach things are looking positive for the future of the program.

Howard will have a tough test in his first season.  Returning team leaders Zavier Simpson, Jr., Guard and Jon Teske, Jr., Center will be the cornerstones of the rebuilding process.  While Howard brings a lot of name recognition and NBA star endorsements he is still going to be starting from behind in recruiting.  While eventually this will be a projected strength Howard has spent all of his coaching career within the NBA ranks and will most likely have to rely on his staff for current recruiting efforts.  Still based on the recent success of NBA stars to college coaches the turnaround of talent in the program shouldn’t be a multi-year problem. 

I believe that Juwan Howard will be a great college coach but most importantly Michigan made a choice that is great for the school and allows the alumni to remember a great time in their sports history.  Jalen Rose recently spoke about the hiring of Howard squashing the beef between the Fab Five and the university.  With Rose on board and Howard at the helm the next step will be to bring back Chris Webber and finally end this unfortunate saga.

Kudos to Michigan on getting a great coaching and reigniting a legacy that shouldn’t have been forgotten.

The Right Choice for Michigan

The legacy of the Fab Five lives on in college basketball history.  Any time there is a vaunted recruiting class they are compared to the greatness of the 1991 Michigan rookie class.  Three notable future NBA players Jalen Rose, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard highlighted a group that was able to reach two national championship games. Despite not winning either their impact on the game and their style of play was a look into the future of college basketball.

The Fab Five’s greatness was tarnished after leaving Michigan, allegations of paying players forced the university to take down banners that were earned from the sweat and hard work of 19-year-olds.  Whether or not you find the allegations right or wrong in the landscape of college basketball, I will never agree with a university ultimately punishing is student athletes by trying to take away the history they built in their time there. 

Michigan basketball has quietly been one of the most consistent programs in college hoops, since 2013 they have been in the national title game twice, reaching the sweet sixteen twice and the elite eight twice.  Only in 2015 did Michigan not make the NCAA tournament.  Add in one Big10 regular season title and two tournament title and you can see why the loss of longtime coach John Beilein was a punch in the gut to the program.  The loss of Beilein accompanied by the loss of last season top three scorers, Ignas Brazdeikis, Charles Mathews and Jordan Poole, all have announced they’ll being entering the draft and signing with agents temporarily left Michigan with a lot of questions heading into next season.  But with the quick acquisition of Howard as Head Coach things are looking positive for the future of the program.

Howard will have a tough test in his first season.  Returning team leaders Zavier Simpson, Jr., Guard and Jon Teske, Jr., Center will be the cornerstones of the rebuilding process.  While Howard brings a lot of name recognition and NBA star endorsements he is still going to be starting from behind in recruiting.  While eventually this will be a projected strength Howard has spent all of his coaching career within the NBA ranks and will most likely have to rely on his staff for current recruiting efforts.  Still based on the recent success of NBA stars to college coaches the turnaround of talent in the program shouldn’t be a multi-year problem. 

I believe that Juwan Howard will be a great college coach but most importantly Michigan made a choice that is great for the school and allows the alumni to remember a great time in their sports history.  Jalen Rose recently spoke about the hiring of Howard squashing the beef between the Fab Five and the university.  With Rose on board and Howard at the helm the next step will be to bring back Chris Webber and finally end this unfortunate saga.

Kudos to Michigan on getting a great coaching and reigniting a legacy that shouldn’t have been forgotten.

Midwest Region Breakdown

  1. North Carolina
  2. Kentucky
  3. Houston
  4. Kansas

Sleeper team to win: Houston Cougars

Houston enters the Midwest region as the #3 seed but seems to be overlooked in a region full of bluebloods Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky. Houston losing to Cincinnati in the American Conference Championship game is the last thought we have of the Cougars, but this team is legit.  Winning their conference regular season championship while also having non-conference victories over Utah State, LSU and Oregon (with Bol Bol).  Houston has a legit star in Corey Davis Jr. and a veteran coach in Kelvin Sampson.  They are also very deep, playing 9 players over 20 minutes per game.   A potential third round matchup with the offensive minded Iowa State and Kentucky will make their road difficult but being a upperclassman lead team will put them in great shape to make a run.

Potential first round upset: New Mexico State over Auburn

Auburn is riding high after their dominate victory over Tennessee in the SEC Championship game.  They now have to face a New Mexico State team that has quietly been playing some of the best basketball in the country. New Mexico State has not lost since January 3rd and ran through their conference tournament dominating Grand Canyon in the final 89-57. 

Auburn has great talent but they rely a lot on the three ball, they will also be traveling to Salt Lake City which will force them to deal with the elevation change. New Mexico State has experience playing in that atmosphere.  Bruce Pearl’s team cannot look past the Aggies, if they do they will be ripe for the upset.

Who will win: Kentucky

A fully healthy Kentucky team has shown what they can do on the national scene. The Wildcats have a strong leader in Reid Travis and have seen great development from Ashton Hagans and Tyler Herro. The potential matchup with North Carolina would be an epic battle between two teams that can easily see themselves winning it all.  The advantage I see for the Wildcats is their depth.  This bracket is the most competitive and will feature some great matchups.

Second Round Picks:

North Carolina

Utah State

New Mexico State

Kansas

Iowa State

Houston

Seton Hall

Kentuck

Big Ten Tournament Preview and Predictions

Michigan State walked away with the regular season title after a dominate second half performance against rival Michigan Saturday night.  Sunday the final regular season games took place finalizing the seeds for what could be the funniest tournament of all the power fives.  The ACC is top heavy, the Big12 is a three-team race, anyone can beat anyone in this tournament.  Let’s break it down.

Sleeper- Indiana Hoosiers

Most may not remember that the Hoosiers entered the season with very high expectations.  They have slowly begun to return to form.  With the two man punch of Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan Indiana has two studs they can lean on during big moments.  The Hoosiers also got a favorable draw against a reeling Ohio State team and potentially matching up with Michigan State whom they defeated twice during the regular season.

What to watch for- Returning Nick Ward

Michigan State showed what they are made of while dealing with multiple injuries during the regular season.  Kenny Goin and Xavier Tillman stepped up in the absence of Nick Ward.  The Spartans will welcome back Ward for this tournament.  If he plays to his ability this team has a shot to steal a #1 seed.

Opening Round

Nebraska over Rutgers– Nebraska was an early season darling in the Big Ten. The injury to Isaac Copeland derailed what could have been a promising season.  Still the Cornhuskers will have the best player on the court in James Palmer Jr. Feeding off the momentum of Sunday’s shocking comeback versus Iowa should propel Nebraska to an opening round victory.

Northwestern over Illinois– Illinois made a nice run mid-season showing the potential of Brad Underwood’s team.  I prefer Northwestern in this matchup mainly because of their ability to handle the ball.  Northwestern is top five in the Big Ten in turnovers per game which is the bread and butter of the Illini.  Northwestern will control the tempo and Vic Law will have a big game.

Second Round

Indiana over Ohio State-

Indiana has to win, and they will versus an Ohio State team that has looked bad without Kyle Wesson.  The Hoosiers will have too much for the Buckeyes.

Maryland over Nebraska-

Maryland has a problem with turnovers.  They will have to take care of the ball to have a chance in the big dance. Locking down Nebraska’s James Palmer will be a problem, but the size of Maryland will be too much for the Cornhuskers.

Penn State over Minnesota-

Penn State has turned their season around after a rough start and will continue it against a Minnesota was barely able to get by a struggling early season Nittany Lions team. Penn State will have to keep Jordan Murphy off the glass, if they contain him they roll.

Iowa over Northwestern-

Iowa needs this win, they will score to much for Northwestern to handle. 

Third Round

Michigan State over Indiana-

Cassius Winston will lead his veteran team to a revenge victory over an Indiana team that surprisingly handled the Spartans twice during the season.  Michigan State will also have a lift from the returning Nick Ward.

Maryland over Wisconsin-

Maryland will have a tall task beating the slow paced Wisconsin Badgers.  The Badgers are to inconsistent on the offensive end, their inability to hit free throws will do them in down the stretch of the game.

Purdue over Penn State-

Carson Edwards versus Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Josh Reaves will be a very fun matchup.  Purdue will have to much ancillary pieces for Penn State to get the win. 

Michigan over Iowa-

I’m not a believer in Michigan but their defense is too good for an Iowa team that that will be forced to take a lot of contested jumpers.

Semi-Final

Michigan State over Maryland

Maryland has the talent to win this game.  Unfortunately, their turnover problems will return in this semi-final matchup with the veteran Michigan State Spartans.  Kenny Goins outside shooting will help pull one of the young bigs from the paint opening up lanes for Cassius Winston.  Michigan State wins big.

Purdue over Michigan

Purdue’s early season defeat against Michigan will be in the minds of the Boilermakers.  Carson Edwards will come up. Big against Michigan early.  The Wolverines are a great defensive team, but they have problems with putting together points when they are down early.  Boilermakers make it to the final.

Finals

Michigan State over Purdue

These two teams split the regular season with both home teams winning. Cassius Winston will solidify himself as the MVP of the tournament while Nick Ward will be handled Matt Haarms.  The Spartans are too deep for the Boilermakers.  Michigan State wins the Big 10 Tournament.