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Big Ten Roundup: Indiana Coming On Strong

Plenty of Conference Teams on Bubble

Purdue continues to have issues late in the season and that will come into play when it is time to look at the Boilermakers’ odds to win March Madness.

Purdue and Indiana are the only teams in the Big Ten in the top 20 in the NCAA NET rankings. However, four others are in the top 40 so there is plenty to play for in the final two games of the regular season and into the Big Ten tournament.

Miller Kopp #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts during the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on February 25, 2023
Miller Kopp #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts during the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on February 25, 2023 // Michael Hickey - AFP

Purdue remained at No. 5 in both national polls. Indiana moved up four spots to 13th in the coaches poll and went from 17th to 15th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Maryland moved into the top 25 in both national rankings while Northwestern is close to returning to the top 25.

It could be a wide-open run to the title when the Big Ten tournament begins on March 8.

According to the March Madness odds, Purdue (+1000) is fourth in the odds to win the national championship. Next up among Big Ten teams in Indiana, which is tied for 13th at +3300.

Keep on reading for more on the team-by-team breakdown when it comes to improving their odds for March Madness.

Purdue

  • Record: 24-5 (13-5 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 5
  • Upcoming games: at Wisconsin (Thursday) and Illinois (Sunday)

Purdue has lost four of its last six games as opponents have been focusing on limiting the open looks from the perimeter rather than being obsessed with slowing down likely national player of the year Zach Edey inside.

Purdue likely played its way out of a No. 1 seed in the March Madness bracket, but there is still time to correct the course the Boilermakers are on. Still, many of those making March Madness expert picks figure to ride with Purdue.

Indiana

  • Record: 20-9 (11-7 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 18
  • Upcoming games: vs Iowa (Tuesday) and Michigan (Sunday)

Indiana could be a dangerous team both in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

The Hoosiers faced national championship contenders Arizona and Kansas before conference play started and the willingness to schedule challenging opponents could prove beneficial in March.

The two wins over Purdue will look good when the NCAA selection committee starts putting the bracket together.

Freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino is coming off a 35-point effort in the latest win against Purdue.

Maryland

  • Record: 20-9 (11-7 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 21
  • Upcoming games: at Ohio State (Wednesday) and at Penn State (Sunday)

Maryland is flying a bit under the radar. The Terrapins are just 2-7 on the road. That could change this week as Maryland looks to finish second in the conference and avoid Purdue until the championship game in the Big Ten tournament.

Maryland leads the Big Ten with a 19-10 record against Las Vegas odds.

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Rutgers

  • Record: 18-11 (10-8 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 31
  • Upcoming games: at Minnesota (Thursday) and Northwestern (Sunday)

Rutgers can get after it defensively. Can the Scarlet Knights do enough offensively to make a run in the Big Ten tournament?

Rutgers is looking like a team likely to land in an 8/9 game when it comes to the March Madness predictions. The Scarlet Knights would prefer not to draw a No. 1 seed in the second round so there will be some incentive to improve their resume in the coming days.

Paul Mulcahy #4 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Paul Mulcahy #4 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Michigan State

  • Record: 17-11 (9-8 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 32
  • Upcoming games: at Nebraska (Tuesday) and vs Ohio State (Saturday)

It is hard to know what to expect from the Spartans. With the experienced players leading the way, Michigan State should be better than 9-8 in conference play.

After picking up a huge win over Indiana, the Spartans had a total meltdown late in the second half before falling in overtime to Iowa.

Veteran coach Tom Izzo knows something about winning in March. Does he have the team ready to make a run at the Big Ten tournament title? There are other seasons when the Spartans had better odds to win the NCAA Tournament.

Illinois

  • Record: 19-10 (10-8 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 33

Upcoming games: vs Michigan (Thursday) and at Purdue (Sunday)

Illinois has a tough road as the Fighting Illini hope to have a 20-win season wrapped up before the conference tournament begins. Michigan figures to treat Thursday’s game as a must-win contest and then Illinois heads to Purdue on the final day of the regular season.

The Fighting Illini do have five wins over ranked teams so this could be a dangerous team moving forward.

Northwestern

  • Record: 20-9 (11-7 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 41
  • Upcoming games: vs Penn State, Wednesday and at Rutgers, Sunday

Northwestern has been one of the best stories in the conference as the Wildcats go into the last week of the regular season in a tie for second place in the Big Ten. A 4-1 record against teams in the top 25 in the Associated Press poll will help. The back-to-back losses to Illinois and Maryland will hurt a bit.

Sunday’s matchup against Rutgers will impact the March Madness picks for both teams.

Brooks Barnhizer #13 of the Northwestern Wildcats
Brooks Barnhizer #13 of the Northwestern Wildcats – Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Iowa

  • Record: 18-11 (10-8 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 43
  • Upcoming games: at Indiana (Tuesday) and Nebraska (Sunday)

Iowa certainly can put up the points. Will the defense be strong enough for Iowa to add to its win total?

A victory over Indiana would be a huge boost for the Hawkeyes heading into the Big Ten tournament. Two Quad 2 losses and one Quad 4 loss could come into play when it comes time for the selection committee to look at Iowa’s body of work.

Michigan

  • Record: 17-12 (11-7 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 54

Upcoming games: at Illinois (Thursday) and at Indiana (Sunday)

Is it too little, too late for Michigan?

Having two of the top offensive options being freshmen comes with strings attached as the inconsistency of the Wolverines puts them in the dreaded conversation as a bubble team.

Getting freshman Jett Howard back will be crucial if Michigan plans on making noise in the conference tournament.

Penn State

  • Record: 17-12 (8-10 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 59
  • Upcoming games: at Northwestern (Wednesday) and Maryland (Sunday)

Penn State could help itself with wins over Northwestern and Maryland. However, there is still plenty of work yet to be done.

Elite guard play matters in March and Jalen Pickett is one of the best guards in the conference. He doesn’t have enough help for the Nittany Lions to be anything but a long shot to reach the NCAAs.

Ohio State

  • Record: 12-17 (4-14 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 63
  • Upcoming games: vs Maryland (Wednesday) and at Michigan State (Saturday)

A 1-11 record in Quad 1 games pretty much tells the story of the season for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes will be facing Maryland and Michigan State teams eager to pick up wins and increase their chances of being a part of the March Madness bracket.

The Buckeyes would need to win the Big Ten tournament to extend their season.

Wisconsin

  • Record: 16-12 (8-10 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 72
  • Upcoming games: vs Purdue (Thursday) and at Minnesota (Sunday)

Wisconsin wraps up the season by facing the teams in first place (Purdue) and last place (Minnesota) in the Big Ten.

A 6-6 record in Quad 1 games is pretty solid. However, five Quad 2 losses are another story.

Nebraska

  • Record: 15-14 (8-10 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 92
  • Upcoming games: vs Michigan State (Tuesday) and Iowa (Sunday)

Nebraska has a chance to finish at .500 in conference play. That won’t be enough to get the Cornhuskers into the conversation for an at-large berth into the March Madness bracket.

Nebraska is one of 12 teams with at least 10 Quad 1 losses and that will seal the Cornhuskers’ fate.

Minnesota

  • Record: 7-20 (1-16 Big Ten)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 237
  • Upcoming games: vs Rutgers (Thursday) and vs Wisconsin (Sunday)

The best thing that can be said about the Golden Gophers is that the season is almost over.

Minnesota has the worst NET ranking among teams from the Power 5 conferences as the Golden Gophers have lost 12 games in a row.

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