Every single Big Ten team is at least 80 percent complete with its conference schedule. That means it’s time to take stock the conference standings with the Big Ten Tournament coming up in a couple of weeks.
The five-day tournament is an absolute gauntlet, and attaining as many byes as possible is crucial for contenders. Somehow, Michigan has won the past two conference tournaments by winning four games in four days — first as a No. 8 seed in 2017, and then as a No. 5 seed in 2018. This year’s tournament will mark the fifth year the bracket has 14 teams, and therefore the top four seeds get byes.
Here’s how things shake out as of today:
Never too early, right? pic.twitter.com/iUvZLZEeqm— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 25, 2019
So, yeah, Northwestern fans should mark their calendars for March 13 if they want to see the Wildcats play perhaps one last time. At least you won’t have to travel to New York this year — the tournament is at the United Center.
NU is 2.5 games behind Rutgers (and a first-round bye) with four games remaining — an uphill climb that all but ensures Northwestern won’t escape a Wednesday matchup.
The bracket you see above is sure to look a lot different in a couple of weeks, but all things considered, Northwestern will assuredly have a decent chance at winning its first round matchup, and a second-round faceoff with the Hawkeyes is winnable as well.