Welcome to day two of the Big Ten tournament, the first full day of action and the first day of Northwestern’s post-regular season portion of the schedule. Here’s how it will all go down in the nation’s capital.
Game 1: No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 Illinois
11 a.m. CT, BTN
It’s been a scary past few hours for the Wolverines. They were scheduled to fly in Washington, D.C. yesterday, but wind sent their plane skidding off of the runway at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan. No official injuries were reported, but head coach John Beilein said a few people were “banged up.” Now, the team will fly in early Thursday morning: After meeting at 6 a.m. ET, the team will take a 7:30 a.m. ET flight that will arrive in D.C. around 8:45 a.m. ET.
As for the game, it should be a good one. The Wolverines and the Illini split the regular season series with both teams winning comfortably at home. Michigan comes in having won six of its last eight, and the two losses were in overtime at Minnesota and at the buzzer at Northwestern. Illinois, meanwhile, snuck itself onto the bubble during a late-season run in which John Groce’s squad won five of six, but a regular-season finale loss to Rutgers has likely put the Illini in a position where they will have to win the conference tournament to get in.
Game 2: No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Penn State
1:30 p.m. CT, BTN
Penn State beat Nebraska in overtime in the opening round to set up a meeting with Michigan State — who it beat at the Palestra in a special home game in early January — in round two.
Penn State is young but very talented: In that win over the Spartans, three freshmen — Lamar Stevens, Tony Carr and Mike Watkins — scored in double digits. But that Michigan State team is nowhere near this Michigan State team. Tom Izzo’s team won six of their last 10, and the two closing losses were by a combined six points.
Game 3: No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 10 Indiana
5:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2
This is an intriguing game as the Hawkeyes have quietly played themselves into tournament consideration, though they’ll need two more wins to dance in all likelihood. Tyler Cook, Peter Jok, Jordan Bohannon and Nicholas Baer helped Iowa win four straight to close out the regular season slate — including back-to-back at Maryland and Wisconsin — after three straight losses previous to that. Indiana looks to save face after a very disappointing season, and Tom Crean might be on his way out. But the Hoosiers have plenty of talent, especially with a healthy James Blackmon Jr. joining Thomas Bryant, Robert Johnson and others.
Game 4: No. 6 Northwestern vs. No. 14 Rutgers
Check out our How to Watch for the preview for this game. We will have a separate GameThread when the time comes.