Sean Harrington: Bubble talk

Sean Harrington: Bubble talk

Each Friday through the basketball season, former Illini and current BTN analyst Sean Harrington will break down the Big Ten — and look ahead to March Madness (note: Sean will work Sunday in the BTN studio, including halftime analysis of the Iowa-Minnesota and Wisconsin-Illinois games)

Power rankings

1
Michigan (20-1, 7-1)
■ The Wolverines swept the state of Illinois this week to set up a showdown at Bloomington against the Hoosiers on Saturday.    

2
Indiana (19-2, 7-1)
■ After taking care of in-state rival Purdue, the Hoosiers get the ESPN “College GameDay” treatment when the Wolverines visit Saturday.  

3
Michigan State
(18-4, 7-2)
■ The Spartans overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat Illinois and keep pace with the Big Ten’s elite teams.  

4
Ohio State (16-4, 6-2)
■ Deshaun Thomas continues to lead the Buckeyes to victories to keep pace with the conference leaders.  

5
Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3)
■ We will find out a lot about the Badgers in their next five games.  

6
Minnesota (16-5, 4-4)
■ The Gophers finally got back in the win column. The schedule gets easier, but do they still have confidence?  

7
Iowa (14-7, 3-5)
■ The Hawkeyes would love to spilt the next two road games at Minnesota and Wisconsin.   

8
Purdue (11-10, 4-4)
■ The Boilermakers continue to play .500 basketball in conference play.  

9
Northwestern
(12-10, 3-6)
■ The Wildcats dropped two games this week. There might only be one or two more wins out there.  

10
Illinois (15-7, 2-6)
■ The Illini are in the middle of a tough five-game stretch. Sunday’s home game against the Badgers is a must win.

11
Nebraska (11-11, 2-7)
■ The Cornhuskers continue to play hard.  

12
Penn State (8-13, 0-9)
■ The Nittany Lions still are searching for that first conference victory.

Player of the Week: Nik Stauskas, Michigan
The freshman scored 25 points in two games, going 5 of 10 from three-point range. Stauskas has remained red hot from the arc all season. The Wolverines will need his threes on Saturday against Indiana.  

Madness meter: What better way to start February than to talk about March. What will it take for each Big Ten team to dance in March?  

Michigan
Key Wins: North Carolina State, @ Minnesota
Bad Losses: None
To get in: Michigan is dancing. The Wolverines are playing for a Big Ten championship and a No. 1 seed. If Michigan can win the Big Ten, it is a lock for a No. 1 seed. The Big Ten title could come down to the last game of the season when they host the Hoosiers.  
Prediction: No. 1 seed in NCAA

Indiana
Key Wins: Michigan State, Minnesota
Bad Losses: None
To get in: The Hoosiers are a lock for the tournament. The question is what seed will they get? They have five tough road games ahead of them and could slip up on a few of those.  
Prediction: No. 1 seed in NCAA

Michigan State
Key Wins: Kansas, Ohio State
Bad Losses: None
To get in: The Spartans continue to get better as the season goes on. Michigan State is playing for a Big Ten title and a top seed in the tournament. The Spartans should finish in the top four of the Big Ten.  
Prediction: No. 3 seed in NCAA

Ohio State
Key Wins: Michigan
Bad Losses: @ Illinois
To get in: The Buckeyes have done enough to get in already. Now they just have to continue to play well and win the games they should win, and they are looking at a good seed in the NCAA.    
Prediction: No. 4 seed in NCAA

Minnesota
Key Wins: Memphis, Michigan State
Bad Losses: Northwestern
To get in: The Gophers went on a four-game skid. However, with only three ranked opponents in its last 10 games, look for Minnesota to finish strong.  
Prediction: No. 5 seed in NCAA

Wisconsin
Key Wins: @ Indiana, Minnesota
Bad Losses: @ Iowa
To get in: The Badgers have the resume to get in. However, with five tough games left, they are playing for a good seed. How Wisconsin does in these five games will determine its seed.
Prediction: No. 6 seed in NCAA

Iowa
Key Wins: Wisconsin
Bad Losses: @ Virginia Tech, @ Purdue
To get in: The Hawkeyes need six or seven more conference wins. That is very possible with eight of their last 11 against unranked teams.  
Prediction: No. 10 seed in NCAA

Illinois
Key Wins: Butler, Gonzaga, Ohio State
Bad Losses: @ Purdue, Northwestern
To get in: The Illini must get to seven or eight conference wins. Their nonconference wins are outstanding. The March 5 matchup at Iowa could make or break the season. There are still plenty of wins out there, but they can’t have any more bad losses.  
Prediction: No. 11 seed in NCAA

Purdue
Key Wins: Illinois
Bad Losses: Bucknell, Eastern Michigan
To get in: Unfortunately for Purdue, the bad nonconference performance will be too much to overcome. The Boilermakers will have to get to 10 or 11 conference wins, and that would be nothing short of a miracle.    
Prediction: CBI  

Northwestern
Key Wins: @ Baylor, Minnesota
Bad Losses: UIC, @ Nebraska
To get in: The Wildcats would have to get to 10 conference wins, and that is not going to happen. It looks like Northwestern’s NIT run will come to an end this year as well.
Prediction: No postseason

Nebraska
Key Wins: Valparaiso
Bad Losses: Kent State
To get in: The Cornhuskers have to win four in a row in Chicago to put on those dancing shoes.  
Prediction: No postseason

Penn State
Key Wins: None
Bad Losses: Boston College, Nebraska
To get in: The Nittany Lions will have to cut down the nets at the United Center to make the NCAAs.  
Prediction: No postseason

 

Comments

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penniless wrote on February 01, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Not sure 7 or 5 wins in the BTen Conference gets you a dance ticket.Then the last two games Iowa and OSU will be losses.Then, the last impression, a beatdown inficted by OSU.NIT maybe,but that is full of doubt too.

Bear8287 wrote on February 02, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I doubt that we'll see two number one seeds out of the B1G.  Indiana and Michigan have to play twice and if all goes well for them, they'll play 3 times. If that happens one of those teams will have to walk away with at least two losses and that team will not get a number 1 seed.  If they don't meet three times, then one (or both) of them didn't make it to the B1G championship game.

Sean showing some tough love for the Illini.  OSU loses on the road to a then 11th ranked team and it's a "bad loss" for OSU.