Indianapolis will host the highly-anticipated 2020 Big 10 Conference Championship Tournament this week at Bankers Life Fieldhouse! A conference that has already had its fair share of March Madness over the last week, with Wisconsin emerging as the No. 1 seed after winning their last 8 games, to Maryland finishing the season with best overall record of 24-7. There are several teams that can be contenders this coming weekend, as the chaos that ensued over the last week really shook things up from a seeding perspective.
— Big Ten Men's Hoops (@B1GMBBall) March 9, 2020
As you can see, while Wisconsin earned the top seed in the tournament, they actually finished third in overall record (21-10) but first in conference play (14-6, won tiebreaker over Maryland/Michigan St.). The public isn’t buying the Badgers as the No. 1 seed, and it’s almost like you can smell the upset from miles away. I will give Wisconsin credit where credit is due, and we’ve seen time and time again that March Madness success revolves around teams that get hot at the right time.
Maryland has hung around the top of the Big Ten all season long, as they’ve really established themselves as a threat to make a deep run in both the conference tourney and the big dance. The Terps are probably kicking themselves this week, as they’ve had title aspirations all season only to fall to Wisconsin by a single basket back in January. I’d imagine they’ll be out for revenge this season, but they find themselves on the opposite side of the bracket of the Badgers. Illinois finished 4th in conference play with a 13-7 record (21-10 overall), but keep in mind they were only one game back of the three-way tie for first place. Iowa has a puncher’s chance in literally any game from here on out, as they have arguably the best player in the country in 6’11” Luka Garza. Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan all have so-so conference records, but the odds of any of them going on some sort of hot streak seems unlikely.
Not to bury the lead any more than I already have, but one thing about the Big Ten is certain: It is still 100% Michigan State’s Tournament to lose.
The Spartans finished the season with an overall record of 22-9 and a conference record of 14-6. They’ve won five straight heading into the conference championship (four of those wins against ranked teams) and have solidified themselves as the No. 3 seed. While most will not agree with the ‘lowball’ seeding, oddsmakers are confident in Michigan State’s ability to take the weekend by storm. I think this one is plain and simple, take the complete team in Michigan State over the rest of the Big Ten field this week at +250 odds. While Maryland and Wisconsin are enticing choices, I think that a Tom Izzo coached / Cassius Winston lead Spartans team is all the edge the green and white need to cut the nets down in Indiana.
PICK: Michigan State +250
Big 10 Championship Odds
Michigan State +250
Ohio State +800
Penn State +1000