B1G Ten Tournament Breakdown 2021

By: Saben Fletcher

Conference tournaments, upsets, March Madness, The Cinderella teams; all of this is about to start again after being cancelled last year. This year, The Big Ten Tournament and all the NCAA Tournament will be held in the greatest basketball state, Indiana. Even though only one team from Indiana is expected to make the tournament, this will still be a great year for the state of Indiana. Getting to host the entirety of the tournament has never been done before in this expanded field. Now, let’s see how all fourteen Big Ten teams have done this year. 

Photo Credit: NCAA Final Four (@FinalFour on Twitter)

1. Michigan Wolverines  

19-3 Overall (14-3 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 8th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 1 Seed 

Breaking Down Michigan: 

Michigan, led by freshman big man, Hunter Dickinson secured the number 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament and on their way to a one seed in the NCAA tournament. Dickinson leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and blocks, while also winning seven Big Ten Freshman of the week honors, the most in the Big Ten this year. Coach Juwan Howard exceeded expectations this year by winning the Big Ten when many analysts picked Michigan to finish in the middle of the Big Ten. 

Team Leaders:  

Pts/G: Hunter Dickinson – 14.3 

Reb/G: Hunter Dickinson – 7.7 

Ast/G: Mike Smith – 5.0 

Stl/G: Franz Wagner – 1.4 

Blk/G: Hunter Dickinson – 1.4 

2. Illinois Fighting Illini 

20-6 Overall (16-4 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 3rd 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 1 Seed 

Breaking Down Illinois: 

In my opinion, Illinois has the best duo in the Big Ten, Dosunmo and Cockburn. Dosunmo finished second in the Big Ten voting for Player of the Year, behind only Garza. He is able to do everything on both ends of the floor and has recorded two of the seventeen total triple doubles in D1 basketball this year. Cockburn is tied for second in NCAA for most double doubles with 15. These two players along with Trent Frazier, are a lethal combo and they are the reason Illinois is my pick to win the Big Ten Tournament. 

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Ayo Dosunmu – 20.9 

Reb/G: Kofi Cockburn – 9.6 

Ast/G: Ayo Dosunmu – 5.2 

Stl/G: Trent Frazier – 1.4 

Blk/G: Kofi Cockburn – 1.3 

3. Iowa Hawkeyes 

20-7 Overall (14-6 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 1st 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 2 Seed 

Breaking Down Iowa: 

Iowa is ranked third in the NCAA in scoring at 85 points per game. They have one of the best players in college basketball in Luka Garza, along with two key starters, Joe Wieskamp and Jordan Bohannon. If this team is hot, nothing can stop them. There one weakness is, however, their defense. They allow 72.1 points per game and are ranked 229th in the country. Almost every game that Iowa plays in is a shootout.  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Luka Garza – 23.8 

Reb/G: Luka Garza – 8.7 

Ast/G: Jordan Bohannon – 4.5 

Stl/G: Joe Wieskamp – 1.0 

Blk/G: Luka Garza – 1.6 

Photo Credit: Mark Elsner

4. Purdue Boilermakers 

18-8 Overall (13-6 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 9th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 4 Seed 

Breaking Down Purdue: 

Many people expected this year to be a rebuilding year for the Boilers. With five freshmen going to play significant minutes, no seniors on the team and losing two key players to the transfer portal, it did not look like Purdue would make the NCAA Tournament. After, nonconference play ended, Purdue had blown a 20-point lead against Miami and lost to Clemson. Then Big Ten play started, and Matt Painter showed why he is one of the best coaches in all of college basketball. He started Big Ten play out with a win over Ohio State, and just kept building from there. The freshmen group all exceeded expectations and with everyone returning for next year, Purdue looks to be a top 10 team to start the year.  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Trevion Williams – 15.2 

Reb/G: Trevion Williams – 8.8 

Ast/G: Eric Hunter Jr. – 2.8 

Stl/G: Eric Hunter Jr. 1.1 

Blk/G: Zach Edey – 1.0 

BIG TEN TOURNAMENT PROJECTION (Saben Fletcher)

5. Ohio State Buckeyes 

18-8 Overall (12-8 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 6th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 2 Seed 

Breaking Down Ohio State: 

Ohio State has no bad loses this season and some very impressive wins. They have some impressive wins, including at Illinois, at Wisconsin, and swept Rutgers. However, they ended the regular season playing three top ten teams and at Michigan State and lost all four games, falling from a potential number one seed in the NCAA tournament to fighting to get a two seed. E.J. Liddell is the lead of this team and Ohio State could still be a huge threat in the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. They will face either Minnesota or Northwestern in their first game in the Big Ten Tournament, and if they win, they will play Purdue, who they have played twice, but never as a completely healthy team.  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: E.J. Liddell – 16.0 

Reb/G: E.J. Liddell – 6.5 

Ast/G: CJ Walker – 4.2 

Stl/G: Justice Sueing – 1.0 

Blk/G: E.J. Liddell – 1.1 

6. Wisconsin Badgers 

16-11 Overall (10-10 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 2nd 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 7 Seed 

Breaking Down Wisconsin: 

Wisconsin, for the first time this entire year, is not ranked in the AP Poll. This is a long time coming as they have not won more than two games in a row against Big Ten teams this season. Because of this, I do not see them winning the Big Ten Tournament or making much noise in March. They are a well-rounded team, with six players averaging seven or more points per game. They have only allowed over 80 points once this entire year and under 65 points thirteen times. 

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: D’Mitrik Trice – 13.7 

Reb/G: Micah Potter – 5.9 

Ast/G: D’Mitrik Trice – 3.9 

Stl/G: Brad Davidson – 1.2 

Blk/G: Nate Reuvers – 1.2 

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 

14-10 Overall (10-10 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 5th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 9 Seed 

Breaking Down Rutgers: 

The beginning of the Big Ten play looked very promising for Rutgers, starting 3-1 with wins over Maryland, Illinois, and Purdue. Rutgers climbed to 11th in the AP Poll. Then, they five in a row, went on a four-game win streak, and went 3-4 to end the season. With three guards averaging above ten points a game (Ron Harper, Jacob Young, and Geo Baker) and Myles Johnson crashing the boards, Rutgers is a dangerous team that has gone on multiple long wins streaks and could potentially do that again come March. 

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Ron Harper Jr. – 15.3 

Reb/G: Myles Johnson – 8.6 

Ast/G: Jacob Young – 3.5 

Stl/G: Jacob Young – 1.8 

Blk/G: Myles Johnson – 2.5 

8. Maryland Terrapins 

15-12 Overall (9-11 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 10th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 10 Seed 

Breaking Down Maryland: 

Maryland was on a five-game win streak with two very winnable games left and a chance to finish in the top half of the Big Ten. Then the Terrapins lost to two Big Ten bottom dwellers and finished the Big Ten play at .500. They are last in the Big Ten in conference play in scoring at 64.5 points per game,  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Eric Ayala – 14.5 

Reb/G: Donta Scott – 6.4 

Ast/G: Darryl Morsell – 2.8 

Stl/G: Eric Ayala – 1.1 

Blk/G: Donta Scott – 0.8 

9. Michigan State Spartans 

15-11 Overall (9-11 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 4th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: 11 Seed 

Breaking Down Michigan State: 

Sparty is the only team to beat three top five teams this season. Yes, they have a losing record in the Big Ten, but they have won games that matter to make it to March. With Tom Izzo as the coach and the experience they have on the court with Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, and transfer, Joey Hauser, they could be a scary ten or eleven seed in the tournament. 

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Aaron Henry – 15.5 

Reb/G: Joey Hauser – 5.9 

Ast/G: Aaron Henry – 3.5 

Stl/G: Aaron Henry – 1.3 

Blk/G: Marcus Bingham Jr. – 1.3 

10. Indiana Hoosiers 

12-14 Overall (7-12 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 7th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: N/A 

Breaking Down Indiana: 

First-Team Big Ten player, multiple four- and five-star recruits, and another underperforming season. Indiana is very one dimensional with no real identity. They have shown they can beat the top teams in the Big Ten with a season sweep over Iowa. To make the NCAA Tournament they will most likely have to win the Big Ten Tournament.  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Trayce Jackson-Davis – 19.1 

Reb/G: Trayce Jackson-Davis – 9.0 

Ast/G: Rob Phinisee – 2.7 

Stl/G: Armaan Franklin – 1.2 

Blk/G: Trayce Jackson-Davis – 1.4 

Photo Credit: Mark Elsner

11. Penn State Nittany Lions 

10-13 Overall (7-12 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 11th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: N/A 

Breaking Down Penn State: 

Penn State played in sixteen games that were decided by ten or fewer points. They lost nine of them. Penn State is close, and a very competitive team this year. They ended their season with wins over two teams that were competing for a tournament spot and really hurt their resume.  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Myreon Jones – 15.5 

Reb/G: John Harrar – 8.5 

Ast/G: Jamari Wheeler – 3.6 

Stl/G: Jamari Wheeler – 1.8 

Blk/G: Seth Lundy – 0.6 

12. Northwestern Wildcats 

9-14 Overall (6-13 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 14th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: N/A  

Breaking Down Northwestern: 

The Wildcats started Big Ten play 3-0 and a lot of people thought they were going to exceed expectations and finish in the top half of the Big Ten. Then, they played how they were expected to play and won three games the rest of season. 

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Chase Audige – 12.6 

Reb/G: Pete Nance – 11.3 

Ast/G: Boo Buie – 4.0 

Stl/G: Chase Audige – 1.5 

Blk/G: Pete Nance – 0.7 

13. Minnesota Golden Gophers 

13-14 Overall (6-14 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 12th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: N/A 

Breaking Down Minnesota: 

A few weeks ago, the Gophers were expected to be in the tournament and ranked #21 in the nation. Now, they are losers of seven straight and no chance of an at large bid. Marcus Carr is a fascinating player to watch but they fell apart at the end of the season.  

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Marcus Carr – 19.6 

Reb/G: Liam Robbins – 6.6 

Ast/G: Marcus Carr – 4.9 

Stl/G: Marcus Carr – 1.3 

Blk/G: Liam Robbins – 2.7 

14. Nebraska Cornhuskers 

7-19 Overall (3-16 Big Ten) 

247 Preseason Big Ten Projection: 13th 

Bracket Matrix Projection: N/A 

Breaking Down Nebraska: 

I mean, there is not much to say about Nebraska. The middle of the season was postponed due to COVID and they never really got into a grove. 

Team Leaders: 

Pts/G: Teddy Allen – 16.5 

Reb/G: Dalano Banton – 6.0 

Ast/G: Dalano Banton – 4.0 

Stl/G: Trey McGowens – 1.3 

Blk/G: Dalano Banton – 0.9 

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