By Chris Terlop
March 14th may mark the most exciting postseason tournament the Big Ten has ever seen. Six of the twelve members are at or above 20 wins this season, with Minnesota sitting at 19 and Iowa at 18. As it stands now Indiana is first in the country, Michigan fourth, Michigan State ninth, Ohio State 16th, Wisconsin 17th and Illinois still getting votes for the top 25.
There are eight teams in the Big Ten with an overall winning record; Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa. Those eight teams have a non-conference record of 91-13. Out of those 13 losses, Wisconsin had four of them. Illinois beat Gonzaga, Indiana knocked off Georgetown, Michigan State beat Kansas, and the list goes on. Iowa, which is 7-8 in the B1G, went 11-2 out of conference. The strength of the Big Ten cannot be overlooked.
The Big Ten isn’t top heavy either. When the top eight teams play each other, top-ranked Indiana has fared best at 6-3 and those three losses were to Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. #4 Michigan has fallen to Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. My point being, that there is no clear cut favorite; that the eighth best team in the conference, Iowa, could win a few big games and change the landscape. They have beaten Wisconsin and Minnesota and lost to Michigan State by three and Indiana by four.
You may see this type of unpredictability and balance in a mid-major conference, not in a conference that has three teams in the top ten in the country. Mix all that together and you have a tournament that will be unpredictable and the best example of championship basketball that we may see this year. That is can’t miss basketball and we may not see another season this thrilling ever again.
Chris is on Sportsline Monday-Friday from 4-6pm and hosts the Fan Nation Saturday Show from 8-9 am. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisTerlop