The regular season slate of the college basketball season reached its conclusion Sunday with full attention turning to this week’s conference tournaments ahead of Selection Sunday!

In the B1G, Purdue had already captured the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament in Minneapolis. Other teams to secure a double bye include Illinois, Nebraska and Northwestern.

While the Boilermakers remain the favorite to capture back-to-back tournament titles, the rest of the field is hungry to end the reign of Zach Edey’s terror on the conference. Whether or not anyone can step up and make that happen will be the story of the week.

Before we get there, we’ll use the latest installment of “Hammerin’ the B1G” to breakdown our predictions for the tournament ahead. Let’s get to it!

Winner: Purdue

Okay, that’s not the kind of shocking prediction that will ignite sports media. But it’s the smartest prediction one can make.

Look, it’s a simple equation, really. Has anyone figured out the formula to stopping Zach Edey?

No matter which language you use to give your answer, it’s a big N – O. (Nebraska gets the nod for being the closest, but we’ll get to the Huskers in a bit.)

In Purdue’s 3 losses this season, Edey is still averaging 24 points per game which is right at his season average. That means, essentially, I have the ability to spot the Boilermakers 24 points in every game this week, and that’s a handy number in tournament time.

The problem in Purdue’s 3 losses has been 3-point shooting when the Boilermakers shot 21-for-61 (34%) from deep. That’s well below the 41% number Purdue has averaged all season long.

Expecting a B1G team to suddenly limit Edey and get Purdue’s guards to go silent from deep is… a lot to ask this time of year.

Team poised to challenge: Nebraska

Nebraska fits into two categories here. Not only are the Huskers a great value pick to win in Minneapolis (the Huskers are +700 to start the week at DraftKings), but they have already shown they are the team to best frustrate the Boilermakers.

During a Jan. 9 upset of Purdue, the Huskers limited Zach Edey to 15 points and 7 rebounds. That is tied for Edey’s third-lowest point total of the season, but it is Edey’s lowest output in a game that he played 30+ minutes.

It’s also worth pointing out Purdue shot fairly well from 3-point range in that loss (39%). It was not a situation where the Boilermakers suddenly went ice cold, though Nebraska did shoot 14-for-23 (61%) from deep.

As the No. 3 seed, Nebraska also showed that it was not just a flash-in-the-pan upset at home. The Huskers are 2-3 against teams in the AP Poll, and only one team in the B1G had more than 2 wins against ranked opponents.

That team is Purdue. By comparison, Illinois is 1-4 against teams ranked in the AP Poll.

Also consider Nebraska’s path through the field in Minneapolis. The Huskers will sit until Friday and will face the winner of a game involving 6-seed Indiana and the winner of the game between Michigan and Penn State.

Nebraska fared well against all those teams this season, so it will be a disappointment if the Huskers are not playing in Saturday’s semifinals. After that, it will take big-time performances to cut down the nets, but that is simply the nature of tournament season.

Darkhorse candidate: Ohio State

There aren’t any teams near the middle or bottom of the B1G this year that I feel comfortable expecting to pull things together and make a run. That includes Michigan State, which I have already talked about last week.

However, if there is a darkhorse candidate to be found, it is Ohio State.

Since firing Chris Holtmann, the Buckeyes are 5-1 under interim head coach Jake Diebler. That stretch includes wins over Purdue, Michigan State and Nebraska, a trio of teams currently projected to play in the NCAA Tournament.

That stretch also shows Ohio State is not some talentless roster. Deciphering why Holtmann could not get this group to gel is a case study worth having, but the group is clicking under Diebler.

Bruce Thornton can be a problem for teams at point guard, Jamison Battle remains a sharpshooting veteran and there are some veteran pieces playing support roles.

And, if you like the chances of the Buckeyes, fans can find Ohio State at +3500 odds to cut down the nets at DraftKings Ohio. Those looking to get in on the action can utilize Tradition’s Ohio sports betting apps to get started.

MVP of the tournament (Not named Zach Edey): Marcus Domask

Look, when it comes to the MVP, we have to break this into a “Zach Edey vs. the field” kind of debate. Because if I’m predicting the MVP of the weekend, it’s going to be Edey.

That’s what happens when you average 24.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.2 blocks for the likely No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

But, I’m going to force myself to look at the field beyond Edey for this category. Let’s assume Purdue loses at some point, who has a chance to take home the top individual honor?

I’m going to look to Illinois, a team that would love to get another rematch against the Boilermakers on Sunday. The Illini are 0-2 against Purdue this season, but it is always a challenge to beat a quality team 3 times in a season.

Terrence Shannon Jr. is still the top scorer for the Illini at 21.6 points per game, but Marcus Domask is not far behind. He’s also been heating up a bit down the stretch and is the team leader in assists per game (3.5).

Domask averaged 21 points in the 4 final games of the season, including 20 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in a home loss to Purdue. He also shot 42% from 3-point range in that span.

In a scenario where Illinois is able to beat Purdue, Shannon will have to play well with the supporting pieces of Coleman Hawkins and Quincy Guerrier contributing. But, the piece to put it over the top would be Domask.

We’ll see if he’s able to step up in Minneapolis.