The seed range for next week's tournament varies for both schools.
When the 2015-16 men's college basketball regular season draws to a close, it's a safe bet that Maryland will be in first place in the Big Ten while Rutgers sits alone in dead last.
While the Big Ten might be experiencing a down year in terms of top-level programs, the conference is once again proving to be one of the deepest in the nation. Managing the gauntlet schedule required of the nation’s most physical conference is tough enough, but this year, the stakes are even higher to perform. For the first time, the Big Ten Tournament will feature four teams receiving a double-bye to the third round, thanks to the new additions of Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. This provides a huge advantage to teams hoping to make a final push for NCAA Tournament security. However, with the exception of Wisconsin, no team has established itself as a lock for one of those top four seeds.
Huge game this morning (yes, morning). You can imagine Michigan State students won’t need an extra wake-up call. Especially not after Illinois won at the Breslin Center last season. If UI can make it two in a row in East Lansing, the needle starts to move closer to March Madness, NCAA-tournament edition.
The Michigan men’s basketball team’s game Sunday at Michigan State was the first in a brutal stretch that includes four of seven games on the road and five of seven against teams in the top half of the Big Ten. In the end, the Wolverines dropped a heartbreaker in overtime, 76-66, falling to 6-4 in the Big Ten and 13-9 overall. As February begins and the clock starts ticking on the regular season with under six weeks until Selection Sunday, Michigan’s NCAA Tournament chances will start to move to the forefront.
Last summer, D'Angelo Russell stood on the sideline of a Louisville playground during an annual streetball tourney. Surrounded by a group of friends, he mentioned that he wanted to participate in the event but refused to risk injury. So instead, he just stood there. He didn't say much. But everyone in the park noticed him. And Russell bathed in that attention. He had this "you don't know me yet, but you'll definitely know me soon" swagger that you can't fake. This slight lean to the right. This brash glare.
The Big Ten was expected to have a down season. But the league isn't meeting those expectations. It's worse than everyone thought. "I thought (teams) would take a step back, but not that far," said Jerry Palm, bracketologist for CBSSportscom. "The big wins aren't there." Except for rock-solid Wisconsin and Maryland and a budding Indiana team, the league has failed to reach even the middling preseason predictions.