With Michigan State's victory over Ohio State Saturday afternoon, Big Ten Tournament seeding scenarios are clear for Northwestern heading into the final day of the college basketball regular season Sunday:
- Northwestern clinches the 9-seed with a win over Nebraska.
- If Nebraska beats Northwestern...
... And Illinois beats Penn State, Northwestern gets the 10 seed. Nebraska gets the 9 seed. Illinois gets the 11 seed. Penn State gets the 12 seed.
... And Penn State beats Illinois, Northwestern gets the 11 seed. Penn State gets the 9 seed. Nebraska gets the 10 seed. Illinois gets the 12 seed.
The explanation here is that Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State (if the Nittany Lions beat Illinois) would all be tied at 7-11, and would have identical 2-2 head-to-head records against each other. Then, as Ben Goren laid out earlier this week, the third tiebreaker would be record against the conference's top team (and then second best team, etc.). Penn State beat Indiana, who won the Big Ten outright. Nebraska beat Michigan State, who clinched the No. 2 seed with a win over Ohio State Saturday. The Spartans could still finish in a tie for second with Wisconsin (whom NU beat) and Maryland, but Michigan State would claim the tiebreakers over both the Badgers and Terrapins.
Here's a reminder of what the bracket looks like:
By the time Northwestern-Nebraska tips off 1 p.m. CT, Penn State-Illinois will either already have concluded, or will be close to a final, so Northwestern will know its exact situation heading into the game.