Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, January 14, 2017

Yes, the calendar says ?January,? and you still are wearing earmuffs, but it?s never too early to start thinking about the NCAA tourney! So, let?s check in with Jerry Palm of's latest mock bracket as the weekend approaches.


Palm has eight of the 14 Big Ten teams in his latest bracket. But no team is higher than a No. 5 seed. So, what?s it mean? There?s a lot of quality in the Big Ten. But there doesn?t appear to be an elite team ? at least for now.

ere is how the Big Ten stacks up in Palm?s bracket going into the weekend.

No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Illinois State in the West
No. 5 Purdue vs. No. 12 Chattanooga in the East
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Oakland in the South
No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 N.C. State in the South
No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 VCU in the Midwest
No. 8 Northwestern, vs. No. 9 SMU in the West
No. 9 Indiana vs. No. 8 Dayton in the South
No. 10 Illinois vs. No. 7 USC in the Midwest

View Palm's full bracketology.

Thoughts: Back in November, or even a month ago, who would have thought Minnesota would be among the highest-seeded Big Ten teams? Similarly, who would have thought Northwestern would be seeded higher than Indiana? The Wildcats never have made the Big Dance.