The Big Ten is stacked with quality men's basketball teams and has four teams ranked inside the Top 25. The regular season's closing weeks could have major implications for the NCAA tournament bracket, as quite a few squads will be battling it out for the top seed. We’ve identified a couple of important games coming up between the heavy hitters.
According to the NCAA Selection Committee, the top four seeds in the tournament as of last Saturday are:
- Ohio State
Neither Gonzaga nor Baylor have lost a game yet, and it’s very possible they both run out. So with Michigan and Ohio State playing each other on Sunday, as well as common opponents the rest of the way, it’s very possible the Wolverines and Buckeyes could be battling for just one spot
Here are the key games that could determine which team gets that one seed this week.
Three games this week that will matter
Michigan @ Ohio State: Feb 21st, 1 p.m. on CBS
The first big game to look out for is No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State on Feb. 21. While the two powerhouses are known for their rivalry on the football field, both schools have been impressive on the hardwood and rank first and third in the conference, respectively. The Wolverines are only ahead of the Buckeyes by half a gam. A new team could sit on top by the final buzzer.
Michigan vs. Iowa: Feb 25th, 7 p.m. on ESPN
If Michigan does manage to get by Ohio State on Sunday, it’ll have to take on a No. 11 Iowa team that’s won its last three games the following Thursday. Slowing down the nation’s leading scorer in Luke Garza will be challenging, and the Hawkeyes are just two games back from the conference leaders. Iowa will turn around and face up Ohio State next Sunday, so it can’t be counted out of the regular-season title race.
Ohio State vs. Iowa: Feb 28th, 1 p.m. on CBS
The Hawkeyes could move to the top by winning out, but topping Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and No. 21 Wisconsin will be far from easy. The result of Sunday’s matchup between the Wolverines and Buckeyes will set everything into motion, and No. 5 Illinois will have its eyes on the prize like the aforementioned teams.