Dienhart: My Big Ten NCAA tourney predictions
With the regular season finished and the NCAA tournament upon us, experts from across the nation are offering their predictions. It’s a fun time, no doubt, and I decided to offer a few predictions of my own. Check out what I see when I look into my crystal ball in this post.
Which teams will make it to the second weekend of the tourney?
Without a doubt, Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State should make plans to keep their suitcases packed. The No. 2 Wolverines will dump No. 15 Wofford and then knock off No. 7 Texas. The No. 2 Badgers will beat No. 15 American and then No. 10 BYU. No. 4 Michigan State will dump No. 13 Delaware and No. 12 Harvard. Everyone else will be back on campus by next weekend.
Will any Big Ten team be upset by a lower-seeded team in the opening weekend?
I think Iowa will lose to fellow No. 11 seed Tennessee in a first-round game on Wednesday. But I think every other Big Ten team will win its opening game. But they all won’t be so fortunate in the third round. I think No. 11 Nebraska will lose to No. 3 Creighton. And No. 6 Ohio State will fall to No. 3 Syracuse. The Buckeyes just don’t shoot well enough to take advantage of that Orange zone.
Any Big Ten teams primed to pull upsets?
Yes, but not until the second weekend. No. 4 Michigan State will take down No. 1 Virginia in the Sweet 16 and then No. 2 Villanova or No. 3 Iowa State in East Region final.
How many Big Ten teams will make it to the Final Four?
At least one. And that one figures to be Michigan State. And the Badgers may have a shot, too. Why? Each team looks to have a favorable region. Michigan? Not so much so, although it didn’t have a favorable draw last year and made it to the national final. Don’t sleep on Michigan. The No. 4 Spartans have perhaps the most favorable region, playing in the East with No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Iowa State. That’s not much heavy lifting. Conversely, No. 2 Michigan is in a loaded Midwest with No. 1 Wichita State, No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Louisville and No. 8 Kentucky. No. 2 Wisconsin is in a West Region with No. 1 Arizona, No. 3 Creighton and No. 4 San Diego State. No too scary, huh?
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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