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Big 10 Tournament Preview
The Big 10 conference is undergoing a sports renaissance. They were great in Bowl games during college football, and they looked stacked for the rapidly arriving NCAA Tournament of college basketball. The Big 10 Tournament should give us an idea of where the best teams in the conference stack up before the Big Dance. The conference is six or seven teams deep that have a shot of taking the top honors. Several teams such as Minnesota are stellar, but will have to go deep and maybe even win this event to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Let’s take a look at the contenders for the Big 10 Tournament.
Below we will also post the current odds to win the tournament as gathered from leading offshore sportsbooks.
Ohio State Buckeyes- Behind the work of head coach Thad Matta, this team has come alive in a big way during the second half of the year. They have won 13 of their last 15 games. The two games they lost in the latter half of the year came to two very good teams in West Virginia and Purdue. Their out of conference resume isn’t very good. Their only strong win came against Florida State, but the Buckeyes have been a completely different team in the second part of the year. The Bucks are led by potential National Player of the Year Evan Turner. He is averaging 19.5 PPG and 9.4 RPG. The 6’ 7” G-F also gets 5.6 APG. If he gets hot then Ohio State will run away with the Big 10 Championship.
Purdue Boilermakers- Other than a three game losing streak during the midpoint of the season, the Boilermakers have been nearly invincible. They have an excellent out of conference resume with wins over Tennessee, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. They split games in conference with Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The loss of Robbie Hummel will weigh on them heavily, but they are still a great team even without him. They have to focus on getting the ball in the hands of E’Twaun Moore who averages 16.9 PPG. He had 25 points against Michigan State. 6’ 10” C JaJuan Johnson is also key for Purdue with 14.7 PPG. They will be likely favorite Ohio State’s main rival.
Michigan State Spartans- It’s been a tumultuous journey for Tom Izzo’s team after reaching the Final Four last year. They are led by G Kailin Lucas who is getting 15.1 PPG and 4.0 RPG. The Spartans have three other players averaging 10+ PPG and another getting just over 9 PPG. They are a balanced unit. The Spartans have stumbled slightly down the stretch, but have proved they can keep up with the best teams in the country. They will offer good value to win the Big 10 Tournament.
Wisconsin Badgers- It seems like this team is always good. They own wins over ACC heavyweights Duke and Maryland. They also beat Big East bubble team Marquette. The Badgers have proved they can beat Purdue and Ohio State. They need production from G Trevon Hughes and F Jon Leuer who combine to average 30 PPG. Hughes can get hot as he did against Duke. He dropped 26 points on the Blue Devils. Leuer had 24 points against Marquette. When this team is playing their best basketball they can keep up with anyone in not only the Big 10, but the entire NCAA.
Fringe contenders include Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota. All three have bright spots, but those areas are overshadowed by their failure to play consistent ball. Of the three Minnesota probably has the best chance to pull some sort of upset. We like the Wisconsin Badgers to win the Big 10 Tournament. They have played with and beat some of the best teams in the country. We see no reason why they can’t continue that trend here.
Current Odds to win Big 10 Tournament
Mich St 1.5/1
Ohio St 1.5/1
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