The NCAA Tournament field is set!

Sunday evening, CBS aired the official selection show with the full 68-team bracket revealed throughout. From the B1G, Purdue generated a 1-seed in the Midwest Region as the outright regular-season champion in the Big Ten.

The rest of the 1-seeds include UConn, Houston and North Carolina with the reigning champion Huskies earning the nod as the No. 1 overall seed.

As for the B1G, the league is still looking for its first national title winner since 2000 when Michigan State cut down the nets. Beyond that drought, the league has not produced a Final Four team since 2019 when the Spartans lost in the national semifinals.

Can any B1G team end that drought and advance to Phoenix? Here is the full list of B1G teams named to the final field and a full prediction for their final path.


1-seed, Midwest Region

Prediction: Elite 8

I was very prepared to throw caution to the wind and anoint the Boilermakers as a Final Four team in my bracket. Then, the B1G Tournament happened and reminded me why I should pump the brakes a bit.

My sudden change of heart is two-fold. First of all, Purdue’s stinker (outside of Zach Edey) in the loss to Wisconsin is a recipe for disaster, and the injury to Braden Smith bears monitoring.

Facing Michigan State, Smith was injured and went to the locker room but did return to the floor and also played 36 minutes in the loss to Wisconsin. However, he shot just 3-for-10 in that overtime defeat.

Was Smith struggling due to his injury? That’s uncertain, but he’s Purdue’s second-leading scorer, and any struggles will hold this team back.

The other aspect of the Boilermakers is the fact they finished the year ahead of the NCAA Tournament with KenPom‘s No. 3 offense in terms of adjusted efficiency but the 21st defense by the same metric.

That profile gives Purdue a similar makeup to the Baylor team that cut down the nets in 2021. However, 6 of the last 7 national title winners have finished with a top-20 mark in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency.


I truly expect Purdue to put a deep run together and bury some of the nightmares from last season. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for me to throw caution to the wind and predict a Final Four.


3-seed, East Region

Prediction: Elite 8

There’s a lot to like about Illinois after a run to the Big Ten Tournament title in Minneapolis. Specifically, the No. 4 offense in the country per KenPom’s adjusted efficiency.

The Illini also have the prerequisite elite wing play you want from a team in March. Terrence Shannon Jr. was electric over the weekend, including a B1G Tournament record with 40 points in a semifinal win over Nebraska.

Marcus Domask is also the ideal Robin to Shannon’s Batman, and the Illini deploy a trio of versatile forwards in Coleman Hawkins, Quincy Guerrier and Ty Rodgers. The balance for Brad Underwood’s squad is the real deal.

Other Illini teams for Underwood have produced more star power, but this year’s team is ideally built to end the streak of early exits. It will be a failure if Illinois doesn’t at least make it to the second weekend with a shot to play for the Final Four.


5-seed, South Region

Prediction: Sweet 16

My thoughts on Wisconsin have shifted due to this weekend’s run in Minneapolis. After looking all out of place throughout the second half of the season, the Badgers beat a pair of NCAA Tournament teams on a neutral court to gain some momentum.

That’s the good news. However, success in a conference tournament is not always a true indicator of future success in the NCAA Tournament.

That’s the bad news and a story we have seen all too often.

I no longer have Wisconsin as an automatic upset watch in the first round, and the Badgers will get a great shot to get out of the first weekend. If Wisconsin pulls that off, anything can happen, but I don’t feel comfortable projecting the Badgers further than the second weekend.


8-seed, South Region

Prediction: Round of 32

Nebraska gets a favorable opening round matchup against Texas A&M. The Aggies check in at 44th overall in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency compared to Nebraska’s No. 28 ranking, and the defense of the Huskers can be the difference in the matchup to get into the second round.

Unfortunately, Nebraska would be likely to run into 1-seed Houston in the second round, and that is not the kind of favorable draw you want in March Madness. The Cougars are also coming off a humiliating defeat in the Big 12 title game, so don’t expect Houston to hit the court with any lack of focus.


9-seed, East Region

Prediction: Round of 64

Northwestern gets an opening matchup against FAU, the darling of last year’s NCAA Tournament who rolled to the Final Four. That Owls team returned a lot of talent, and it sets up an intriguing showdown for the Wildcats.

Unfortunately, I have concerns that Northwestern is trending in the wrong direction at the wrong time. The Wildcats lost to Iowa and Michigan State toward the end of the regular season and went one-and-done in Minneapolis with a 70-61 loss to Wisconsin.

Boo Buie was fantastic in the B1G Tournament with 29 points scored but the rest of the roster went cold as the Wildcats finished 37.7% from the floor and 8-for-23 from 3-point range. That’s not a recipe for success in the Big Dance.

Michigan State

9-seed, West Region

Prediction: Round of 32

March is Tom Izzo’s time, right? The Spartans also appeared to build a little momentum late in the season, though I think this team is still too inconsistent overall to bank on a run in the Big Dance.

However, the opening round matchup is a good one for MSU — and I do mean Michigan State with the committee tossing everyone a little chuckle with a Mississippi State vs. Michigan State battle in the opening round.

The Spartans are 18th overall in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency, and Michigan State does have a top-10 defense at No. 8 overall in the system. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs from the SEC hold the No. 20 defense, so this could be an epic defensive struggle to advance.

That type of matchup in the NCAA Tournament is one I feel safe giving the edge to Izzo’s group, but beyond that, a path forward is incredibly murky. An opening win would likely net Michigan State a second-round matchup against 1-seed North Carolina.