College basketball action is heating up with the majority of the country hitting crucial matchups on Friday!

In the Big Ten Tournament 2024, Friday brings with it a jam-packed slate of 4 quarterfinal showdowns. The top 4 seeds in the league will hit the court in Minneapolis for the first time with top-seeded Purdue looking to continue its impressive season.

It’s also that time in March when every game has some type of implications for the NCAA Tournament, whether it comes in the form of bubble ramifications or seeding order. That means every game on Friday contains some major questions involved.

With that in mind, let’s tackle every matchup with our latest in the “Hammerin’ the B1G” series:

8-seed Michigan State vs. 1-seed Purdue (12 pm ET, BTN)

Can Michigan State salvage what has been a massively disappointing season?

By all accounts, the NCAA Tournament picture for both the Spartans and Boilermakers is secure.

In Joe Lunardi’s Friday morning bracketology for ESPN, Michigan State is listed as the first team in the “last four byes” section. That projection likely includes an expectation the Spartans will lose to Purdue, so Tom Izzo’s squad should be safely into the tournament.

On the other side of the matchup, Purdue remains projected as the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance. Would a loss in the quarterfinals change that? That seems unlikely with Purdue’s 7-0 record against AP Top 25 teams and the No. 1 adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom.

So, if the NCAA Tournament picture is firm for both, I’m going to go with Michigan State’s chances to salvage what has arguably been the most disappointing season of the Izzo era.

Don’t believe me? First of all, remember Michigan State entered this season as a top-5 team. With a veteran core returning and a star-studded freshman class, many expected the Spartans to challenge Purdue for the conference title.

Obviously, that has not played out. Michigan State finished .500 in league play and went just 2-6 in games against teams ranked in the AP Poll. That includes an 80-74 loss on the road to Purdue late in the season.

At this point in the year, simply getting to the NCAA Tournament will do little to diminish the frustrations of this year. An upset of the Boilermakers (and continuing a deep run in Minneapolis) would help quite a bit.

Otherwise, simply getting into the Big Dance to lose early will cement this as one of the worst seasons since Izzo took the helm in 1995.

5-seed Wisconsin vs. 4-seed Northwestern (25 minutes after Game 7)

Can Wisconsin shift perceptions ahead of the NCAA Tournament?

The Badgers rolled into Friday with a dominant win over Maryland with 4 Wisconsin players hitting double figures. Unfortunately, that is just Wisconsin’s 4th win since the end of January.

Of those 4 wins, 2 of them came against the Terps, and the other 2 came against Ohio State and Rutgers. All of those teams are currently on the outside of the NCAA Tournament picture.

In Northwestern (and any future games after Friday), Wisconsin gets a shot to prove it can build some momentum for the NCAA Tournament. With a loss, the Badgers could drop from their current projection as a 6-seed.

Another loss would also have Wisconsin poised as an easy pick to make a first-round exit via upset at the hands of a double-digit seed. That’s something that hasn’t happened since 2019 when the Badgers were upset by 12-seeded Oregon in the first round.

10-seed Ohio State vs. 2-seed Illinois (6:30 pm)

Will the Buckeyes continue improbable run to the NCAA Tournament?

If Only Ohio State avoided some disastrous losses and blown opportunities early in the B1G slate, the Buckeyes might already be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. For now, there’s still work to do, and it won’t be easy.

In Lunardi’s latest, Ohio State is still firmly on the wrong side of the bubble as one of the “next four out” teams. What will it take to climb the ranks?

For starters, Ohio State needs to beat Illinois, and that’s a tough task. The Illini are the 2-seed in the B1G and beat the Buckeyes 87-75 in their only matchup of the year.

Brad Underwood’s squad also has the 4th adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom. That’s not a good matchup for the Buckeyes as they hold the 68th adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom.

Then again, it must be said that Ohio State is playing much better under Jake Diebler. Since assuming the reins in Columbus, the Buckeyes have just one loss and have beaten Purdue, Michigan State and Nebraska, all B1G teams expected to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Win or lose, Diebler has his team playing like one you don’t want to pick against in March. Fans looking to get in on the action can take advantage of Tradition’s Ohio sports betting links.

6-seed Indiana vs. 3-seed Nebraska (25 minutes after Game 9)

Can Nebraska carve out historic run in Minneapolis?

Nebraska enters Friday’s game as a 4.5-point favorite over Indiana at ESPN Bet. Let that sink in a bit that the Huskers are expected to win in tournament season.

That line isn’t a fluke, either. The Huskers went 12-8 in the B1G this season, including a season sweep of the Hoosiers. Nebraska outscored Indiana 171-140 in those games.

Beating a team 3 times in 1 season is always a tall task, but Nebraska is playing for history in Minneapolis.

The Huskers have already posted their best finish in the B1G, but Nebraska has never advanced to the B1G Tournament championship. If Fred Hoiberg and his team get past Indiana, they will be just one win from playing for a title on Sunday.