With the 2015-16 NCAA Basketball Regular Season all but over we move on to Conference Tournaments which precede the “Big Dance” and this week from Wednesday the 9th of Mar. 2016 thru Sunday the Sunday the 13th of Mar. 2016 we are fortunate to have the 2016 Big Ten Championship Tournament with the 1st game tipping-off at 3:30 PM ET and seen on ESPN2 with the Gophers of Minnesota playing the Illini of Illinois.
This tournament for the Big Ten should turn out to be more of a war that basketball tournament, as the top 4 seeds receive byes in the 1st round and they are No. 2 Michigan State 13-5, No. 10 Indiana 15-3, No. 13 Purdue 12-6 and No. 18 Maryland 12-6, and that also gives those 4 a leading advantage to win this Big Ten title. However, one should not overlook the other low seed teams from the title run, as most are capable of creating some upsets.
In this Big Ten Conference there is so much basketball talent that it awful difficult to predict the end result of this tournament, but continue reading and we will preview the favorite teams, sleeper teams and our long shot team.
We start with the favorites and the 1st being the Michigan State Spartans (26-5 Overall – 13-5 Big Ten) who are at +125 odds to win it all, and are the team to beat in this tournament. They are filled with confidence after ending their season winning 6 consecutive games. They were led by the Big Ten Player of the Year D. Valentine who in that 6 game streak had 9.7 completions from 3-point range and averaged some 21.9 points each game.
In addition another important team member has been B. Forbes who has average shooting 50.6% from the field and 15.2 points each game. He is expected to be a big factor for the Spartans in this tournament with his talent at playmaking and completing 3-point attempts.
Secondly we have the Indiana Hoosiers (25-6 Overall, 15-3 Big Ten) are listed at +250 odds to win the Title, and also appear as a team that just might do it. They have won their ultimate 5 games of their season, and were led by Y. Ferrell an excellent playmaker who himself averaged 4.6 assists per game and some 18.7 points each game.
The other teammates who have helped the team this season are T. Bryant and T. Williams whom both are scoring in double figures with Williams averaging some 13.2 points a game and Bryant some 12.5 points each game.
The team’s defense has been questionable this season allowing opponents to score at least 70.2 points each game, and now we will see how they react defensively to the increased pressure and road games. To date on their games on the road they have allowed opponents to score 73.5 points each game.
The 3rd favorites with odds at +500 are the Maryland Terrapins who come into this tournament after losing 4 of their ultimate 6 games, and 1 defeat was last Sunday to the Indiana Hoosiers 80-62 and a devastating blow for the team.
Regardless the Terrapins are still a favorite, as they are a team loaded with talent to create victories if they can find their comeback mode. One of the talented players is M. Trimble who in his latest game made 5.2 3-pointers and a team high of 14.5 points. Just a sophomore Trimble in his last 3 games has scored at least 18 points and some 13 assists during that 3 game period.
Next at +600 odds we have a Sleeper in the Wisconsin Badgers (20-1 Overall, 12-6 Big Ten) who come into the tournament after losing their last season game to the Purdue Boilermakers 91-80, but are still a team to beware of. Yes, the team has only been averaging some 69.5 points each game, but they have a roster full of weapons, and one’s that enjoy playing when the pressure is applied.
They have a duo of N. Hayes and B. Koenig whom respectively are scoring some 16.4 and 13.9 points each game. Plus, let us not overlook E. Happ who in their ultimate 5 games he shot 55.4 % scoring 12.8 points in those game, thus if he and the other team members step up their play, they will be a team to be heard of in this Big Ten title run.
Then last but not least is our Long Shot in the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Overall 8-22 and 2-16 Big Ten) who are likely to have no chance of winning this title, and the 13th seed has odds of +20,000 amazingly in the regular season upset the No. 6 seed Maryland Terrapins 69-64 back on the 18th of Feb. 2016.
In that upset game their team leaders were the duo of N. Mason and J. Murphy who had a combined 18 rebounds and 36 points, and it happens that they are also the teams top scorers this season with Mason averaging some 13.9 and Murphy averaging some 12.2 points each game. If they are able to relocate their offensive steam, they may have a chance to get another upset or two.
The sportsbook prediction for this Big Ten Tournament is that the Michigan State Spartans prove to be too powerful offensively and with the 2016 Big Ten Championship.