Big Ten Conference Tournament Preview: Prediction, Bracket, Odds, Standings and Schedule

One of the most competitive environments of the year kicks off with the Big Ten Conference Tournament today
One of the most competitive environments of the year kicks off with the Big Ten Conference Tournament today / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

One of the most competitive conferences in all of college basketball kicks off its tournament today in Indianapolis as #13 Nebraska takes on #12 Northwestern, followed by #14 Minnesota against #11 Penn State.

Wisconsin and Illinois split the regular season title, but Purdue is the favorite at WynnBET Sportsbook with odds of +200 to win the Big Ten Tournament. The Fighting Illini have the second-best odds at +365, with Iowa (+375) and Wisconsin (+975) following.

This is as wide open a conference tournament there is and ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has eight teams from the Big Ten making the NCAA Tournament, the most of any conference. But all-important seeding is at stake even if most of these teams know they're in, so who is going to take the crown?

Let's jump into everything you need to know about the Big Ten Conference Tournament, beginning with the odds from WynnBET:

Big Ten Conference Tournament Odds

  • Purdue: +200
  • Illinois: +365
  • Iowa: +375
  • Wisconsin: +975
  • Michigan: +1200
  • Ohio State: +1500
  • Michigan State: +2000
  • Rutgers: +2200
  • Indiana: +3000
  • Penn State: +7500
  • Northwestern: +7500
  • Maryland: +10000
  • Nebraska: +20000
  • Minnesota: +50000

Big Ten Conference Tournament Standings and Bracket

Here's a look at the standings and bracket for the Big Ten Conference Tournament:

Big Ten Conference Tournament Schedule (Dates, Times, Channel)

The first three rounds through Friday will be broadcast on on the Big Ten Network (BTN), while the semifinals and finals on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast on CBS.

All times are in EST in Indianapolis.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - Big Ten Tournament Opening Round

  • 6:00 pm: #13 Nebraska vs #12 Northwestern - GAME 1
  • 25 minutes after Game 1: #14 Minnesota vs #11 Penn State - GAME 2

Thursday, March 10, 2022 - Big Ten Tournament Second Round

  • 11:30 am: #9 Indiana vs #8 Michigan - GAME 3
  • 25 minutes after Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs #5 Iowa - GAME 4
  • 6:30 pm: #10 Maryland vs #7 Michigan State - GAME 5
  • 25 minutes after Game 5: Game 2 Winner vs #6 Ohio State - GAME 6

Friday, March 11, 2022 - Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals

  • 11:30 am: Game 3 Winner vs #1 Illinois - GAME 7
  • 25 minutes after Game 7: Game 4 Winner vs #4 Rutgers - GAME 8
  • 6:30 pm: Game 5 Winner vs #2 Wisconsin - GAME 9
  • 25 minutes after Game 9: Game 6 Winner vs #3 Purdue - GAME 10

Saturday, March 12, 2022 - Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

  • 1:00 pm: Game 7 Winner vs Game 8 Winner - GAME 11
  • 25 minutes after Game 11: Game 9 Winner vs Game 10 Winner - GAME 12

Sunday, March 13, 2022 - Big Ten Tournament Finals

  • 3:30 pm: Game 11 Winner vs Game 12 Winner

Big Ten Conference Tournament Prediction and Pick

I've been tasked with figuring out this conference and all I have to say to me is: good luck. This tournament is anyone's game. Every team in the Big Ten has battled inconsistency and most have gone through spurts of looking like a National Championship contender to first-round exit potential in any given week.

Here's how KenPom sees the tournament playing out:

On paper, this should be Purdue's tournament. They've got the best offense, the best guard in Jaden Ivey, great depth pieces and excellent shooting. But they haven't covered the spread in seven straight games spanning over a month. That's bad. As much as I'd like to, I just can't trust the Boilermakers at +200 to make it through this gauntlet unscathed. They're as likely as anyone to win, but I need better odds here.

Iowa certainly has the easiest draw, getting Rutgers in a potential quarterfinal matchup. They've won and covered the spread in five of their last six behind an elite offense capable of putting up 90+ on anyone. With excellent shooters that protect the ball as well as any team in the country, the Hawkeyes have steady play they can rely on to weather the storm. Their odds of +375 gives them an implied probabilty of 21.05%, right in line with KenPom's estimates. They're a worthy play.

#1 Illinois has won three straight but is a meager 2-6 against the spread (ATS) over their last eight as their defense has collapsed recently. Over their last five games, they're in the 5th percentile in defensive rating. With a potential Semifinal matchup against Iowa's incredible offense looming, I don't trust the Fighting Illini's recent form to bet at such short odds.

You may be tempted to jump at Wisconsin at +975 - they split the regular season title, after all. They've won five of six and covered in four of those, but they're essentially a one-man show with Naismith Player of the Year favorite Johnny Davis. He sustained a lower-leg injury in their final game of the regular season, and if he isn't 100% they've got no chance. They've got the benefit of only needing to play three games in three days thanks to their byes, but their hopes essentially rest on the health of their star. They could be a strong value play, but I worry about their chances against the deeper, more balanced teams the Big Ten has to offer.

I've got no interest in Michigan, whose 28th percentile in defensive rating illustrates their biggest problem. They've underperformed all season and are currently in Joe Lunardi's "Last Four Byes" so they need a strong performance to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. Despite how good Hunter Dickinson is, their guard play is too inconsistent for me to trust with my dollars.

Ohio State is interesting at +1500. They're elite offensively but allergic to defense, with a 0 percentile ranking in defensive rating over their last 5. But they protect the ball well and get to the free throw line a bunch and have shown they can hang with the class of the conference when focused. E.J. Liddell and freshman Malaki Branham are good enough to win the tournament and the Buckeyes have covered the spread in each of their last three games as an underdog, including winning two straight outright. If they can get past Purdue, who has been terrible lately, they should be able to handle Wisconsin and I like the value they present.

I'd be remiss to not mention #4 Rutgers, who rattled off six straight covers in February and can beat anyone. But their underlying metrics are poor relative to their competition and they'll need a Herculean effort from Gio Baker to win the tourney. They're certainly capable and at +2200 could be worth a flier, but I don't think they'll be able to defeat Iowa to make the semifinals.

That leads me to my pick - the Hawkeyes. Iowa is on a roll and has the offensive prowess you need to win these kinds of tournaments. They've got the easiest path to the finals and have improved defensively of late. As the most balanced team with a nearly-unmatched offensive ceiling, I'm taking the Hawkeyes to emerge victorious.

Pick: Iowa +375

Big Ten Conference Tournament Dark Horse

I can't quit Ohio State. The Buckeyes have as much potential as any team in the Big Ten and if they can focus defensively, they'll be a brutal out. Branham has "March Madness" written all over him, and we saw the Buckeyes lean on him late in games at the end of the season.

I'm hoping that experience prepared him to serve as Liddell's running mate, and at +1500 I love the value on Ohio State to come out on top.

Pick: Ohio State +1500

Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.