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Big Ten MBB Bracketology: Coming into focus

A new year brings familiar contenders.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

As Big Ten conference play begins to heat up, the postseason picture is beginning to look a little clearer. That makes early January the perfect time to begin looking at which teams are on track to earn March Madness berths.

Tournament Locks

Purdue Boilermakers

ESPN: Two seed

Following a home loss to No. 13 Wisconsin, Purdue stays put as a two seed.

CBS: Four seed

Jerry Palm gave the Boilermakers much less leeway, pegging them down three spots after ranking Purdue as a one seed earlier in the week.

The Athletic: Two seed

Brian Bennett also projects Purdue to be a two seed. Consensus two seed

With an average seed of 2.13 in the 60 brackets on the site, Purdue ranks as high as a one seed and as low as four seed.

Michigan State Spartans

ESPN: Three seed

After narrowly avoiding an upset in its 73-67 win over Northwestern on January 2, Michigan State dropped from the second seed in Lunardi’s projection.

CBS: Two seed

CBS ranks the Spartans right behind Iowa State in the Midwest Region.

The Athletic: Two seed

Bennett lists MSU as a two seed as well. Consensus three seed

Most of the site’s brackets either rank the Spartans as a two or a three seed.

Ohio State Buckeyes

ESPN: Five seed

Lunardi moved the Buckeyes down after a blowout loss against Indiana last Thursday.

CBS: Four seed

Ohio State drops down a spot in the West region.

The Athletic: Three seed

Of all sixty brackets available on, The Athletic gives OSU its highest seed. Consensus four seed

Ohio State ranks no lower than a six seed as of January 7.

Wisconsin Badgers

ESPN: Six seed

Wisconsin holds its position after upsetting Purdue on January 3.

CBS: Three seed

Palm is much more bullish on the Badgers, projecting them to face 14th-seeded St. John’s in the Round of 64.

The Athletic: Four seed

Wisconsin also moves up in Bennett’s bracket. Consensus five seed

Experts can’t seem to agree about where the Badgers stand. They rank as high as a two seed and as low as an eight seed.

Illinois Fighting Illini

ESPN: Five seed

Coming off of double-digit victories against Maryland and Iowa, Illinois moves up to a five seed in the East region.

CBS: Six seed

Palm placed the Illini in the same region as Purdue.

The Athletic: Six seed

Illinois continues to move up in The Athletic’s projection. Consensus five seed

The Fighting Illini rank as high as a two seed and as low as a nine seed across the 60 brackets used on the site.

On the Right Path

Iowa Hawkeyes

ESPN: Eight seed

Upcoming games against Minnesota and Indiana could have massive postseason implications for the Hawkeyes.

CBS: Nine seed

Iowa moves up a spot in Palm’s latest projection.

The Athletic: Nine seed

Bennett also ranks Fran McCaffery’s squad as a nine seed. Consensus eight seed

While most brackets place the Hawkeyes between seventh and ninth in their region, some rank Iowa as high as fifth and as low as 11th.

Indiana Hoosiers

ESPN: Nine seed

Lunardi bumped the Hoosiers up after their win over Ohio State.

CBS: 10 seed

Indiana might also move up in the next edition of Palm’s bracketology after beating Minnesota on January 9.

The Athletic: 12 seed

No site ranked the Hoosiers lower. Consensus nine seed

Indiana has an average seeding of 9.13.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

ESPN: 10 seed

Minnesota plunges into Last Four Byes territory after losing to Illinois last week.

CBS: Eight seed

A loss to Indiana could cause the Golden Gophers to drop here, too.

The Athletic: Nine seed

Bennett ranks Ben Johnson’s team right around’s average. Consensus nine seed

Minnesota makes the field in 45 of the 60 brackets the site uses.

Outside looking in

Michigan (Next Four Out), Northwestern, Maryland, Penn State, Nebraska