The B1G Tournament bracket has been set for a couple days now and teams are beginning to prepare for their opening round matchups. It officially marks the start of March Madness.
While the favorites to take the B1G Tournament title are all safe until Friday — Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan and Wisconsin all earned a double-bye — there are a few underdogs playing on Wednesday and Thursday who could make a deep push this week. It wouldn’t actually be March without a few upsets, right?
Yes, this is March and anything can happen, but there are a few teams that are more capable of making a final surge than others. We’ve narrowed that list down to three squads for the upcoming B1G Tournament.
#10 Penn State (7-13, 14-17)
Penn State is arguably the hottest team in the B1G entering the tournament this week, having won five of its last six and six of the last eight games. Those include wins over Michigan and Maryland, too. The Nittany Lions have played their best basketball over the last month and have an elite scorer in Lamar Stevens and the B1G Defensive Player of the Year in Josh Reaves. Winning the B1G Tournament might be a stretch for Penn State, but this is a team capable of making it to Saturday and pulling off a few upsets on Thursday and Friday.
#9 Indiana (8-12, 17-14)
One of the more interesting bubble situations in all of college basketball. Indiana has several quality wins on its resumé but also suffered 12 losses in a 13-game stretch earlier this season. The Hoosiers likely need a few wins to solidify a spot in the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year. But IU has played extremely well the last two weeks, winning its last four games, including victories over Wisconsin and Michigan State. Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan will be tough matchups for any team and Justin Smith has been an X-factor in several games this season. With Indiana’s season on the line in Chicago, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a desperate make one final push to pad its tournament resumé.
#6 Iowa (10-10, 21-10)
Unlike the other two teams mentioned on this list, Iowa has struggled as of late. Some of that can be attributed to Fran McCaffery’s suspension, but suffering three double-digit losses in a four-game losing streak is unacceptable. Still, the Hawkeyes have proven to be nearly unbeatable when they’re hot behind the three-point line. Plus, Jordan Bohannon’s clutch gene could come in handy in tournament play. Iowa has been streaky throughout the season and has proven it can beat just about anyone in the conference. If the Hawkeyes are shooting the ball well in Chicago, they have a chance to make it to Sunday.