As we enter the final stretches of the 2020-21 college basketball season, one conference has looked much stronger than the rest.
With six teams currently in the top 25 and a couple others riding close behind, the Big Ten is primed to send a stacked list to this year’s tournament.
ESPN lead bracketologist Joe Lunardi has been keeping an eye on this year’s impressive Big Ten lineup. On Thursday, the long-time analyst released his predictions for the 68-team field.
A whopping nine Big Ten teams were included on Lunardi’s list.
- No. 1: Michigan
- No. 1: Illinois
- No. 2: Iowa
- No. 2: Ohio State
- No. 4: Purdue
- No. 6: Wisconsin
- No. 9: Maryland
- No. 10: Rutgers
- No. 11: Michigan State
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 4, 2021
All currently ranked in the nation’s top five, No. 2 Michigan, No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Iowa are all locks to earn high seeds in this year’s tournament. Close behind at No. 7, Lunardi has Ohio State lumped in with these one and two seeds.
No. 23 Purdue and No. 25 Wisconsin are also bound to receive decently high seeds. With just a one-game difference in record from the Buckeyes, Lunardi has the Boilermakers at a solid No. 4 seed. The Badgers hold the highest projected seed among the ranked Big Ten teams with a six.
The final three teams on Lunardi’s list haven’t exactly enjoyed the same success as their conference counterparts.
Maryland (9-10), Rutgers (9-10) and Michigan State (8-10) all currently hold losing records in conference play. Maryland’s recent victory over the Spartans gave them the edge with a nine seed while MSU falls out into the playoff-round 11 seed. With last week’s win over the Terrapins, the Scarlet Knights stand in between the two with a 10 seed.
A Big Ten tournament with massive seeded implications will take place from March 10-14.