With one week to go, how are seeds for the 2021 Big Ten Tournament shaping up? Let's see...
Good news: Iowa got a split of their ultra-challenging road games at Michigan and Ohio State last week and that, coupled with Ohio State's recent struggles (the Buckeyes are currently on a three-game losing streak), has helped Iowa leapfrog Ohio State from the #4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament to the #3 seed. Ohio State has actually fallen all the way to the #5 seed behind Purdue.
Here are the teams vying for those top seeds and their remaining games.
|STANDINGS||TEAM||B1G RECORD||GB||REMAINING GAMES|
|1||Michigan||13-1||--||Illinois (3/2), Michigan State (3/4), at Michigan State (3/7)|
|2||Illinois||14-4||1||at Michigan (3/2), at Ohio State (3/6)|
|3||Iowa||12-6||3||Nebraska (3/4), Wisconsin (3/7)|
|4||Purdue||11-6||3.5||Wisconsin (3/2), Indiana (3/6)|
|5||Ohio State||12-7||3.5||Illinois (3/6)|
|6||Wisconsin||10-8||5||at Purdue (3/2), at Iowa (3/7)|
The good news? Iowa controls their own destiny to finish with a Top 4 seed. If they win their final two games (at home against Nebraska and Wisconsin), they'll finish no worse than the #3 seed. I don't think they can get any higher than that, though. If they win out and Illinois loses out, both teams would finish 14-6. Unfortunately, Illinois beat Iowa in the only head-to-head meeting this season so they would have the tiebreaker over Iowa.
If Iowa loses one of their two remaining games, they'll probably need a little help to retain a Top 4 seed. For instance, if Ohio State beats Illinois in their regular season game and finishes 13-7 and Iowa splits their final two games and also finishes 13-7, the tiebreakers would favor the Buckeyes. Iowa and Ohio State split their head-to-head meetings this season, but the next tiebreaker is each team's record against the teams occupying the highest positions in the standings. Both teams went 0-1 versus Michigan this year. Illinois seems likely to finish second in the Big Ten this year and Iowa and Ohio State had very different results against the Illini. Iowa lost their only meeting against the Illini earlier this year while Ohio State would be 2-0 against Illinois this season if they beat them in the regular season finale.
Earning a #3 seed would put Iowa in a pretty good spot in the Big Ten Tournament. They'd avoid a potential match-up with Michigan until the Big Ten Tournament final. They would also avoid rematches with Purdue or Ohio State as well. A rematch with Illinois would be very intriguing to see. The odd thing about the hypothetical bracket above is that Iowa could end up with consecutive games with Wisconsin -- in the regular season finale and in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals (assuming Wisconsin wins their 6 vs 11/14 game on Thursday). Iowa seems to match up pretty well with Wisconsin this year, but it's tricky to beat a team back-to-back. Still, that looks like one of the more favorable draws Iowa could get in the Big Ten Tournament.
Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.