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Big Ten Tournament 2017: Final weekend seeding scenarios

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Purdue has the regular-season crown, but how will the final weekend’s games affect the bracket for the conference tournament?

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Midweek Games

Upsets in bold, road wins in italics.

Maryland 79, Rutgers 59
Purdue 86, Indiana 75
Ohio State 71, Penn State 70
Northwestern 67, Michigan 65
Illinois 73, Michigan State 70
Minnesota 88, Nebraska 73
Iowa 59, Wisconsin 57

The Badgers’ collapse means that Purdue has clinched the outright Big Ten title with a game to spare. The two bubble games both went the way of the team in a more desperate situation; Illinois absolutely had to win to stay reasonably close to the bubble and Northwestern would have been in danger if they finished the season 9-9, while Michigan and Michigan State both could use another regular-season win but probably don’t need one unless the bubble tightens in a big way next week.

Scenario Tables

Here are all 128 remaining possibilities in one chart:

A separate chart for the top seeds doesn’t really make sense; the clean break is between the 9 and 10 seeds (Illinois and Ohio State can be tied at 8-10 but Illinois wins that tiebreaker, so the Illini are always in the upper group), and that only removes one game from the chart (Indiana-Ohio State). But a few things jump out (besides Purdue as the 1 seed): the Minnesota-Wisconsin winner will be the 2 seed and the MSU-Maryland winner will be the 3 (Maryland loses the tiebreaker to either Wisconsin or Minnesota at 12-6, while MSU with a win over Maryland would win the tiebreaker with the Minnesota-Wisconsin loser, Maryland, and Northwestern if they beat Purdue).

Six teams know for certain what day they will start: in addition to Purdue (guaranteed the 1 seed) and Rutgers (guaranteed the 14), Penn State will finish in the bottom 4 and Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois are certain to start Thursday.

For the 10-13 seeds, here’s a simplified chart:

Detailed Scenarios

Percentages are based on my margin-aware ratings, updated through Thursday’s games.

Purdue is the 1 seed and outright champion.

Minnesota:

  • 2 seed with a win (35.8%)
  • 4 seed with a loss and Maryland win (47.7%); 83.5% total chance of double-bye
  • 5 seed with a loss and MSU win (16.5%)

Wisconsin:

  • 2 seed with a win (64.1%)
  • 4 seed with a loss and Purdue win (19.8%); 83.9% total chance of double-bye
  • 5 seed with a loss, Northwestern win, and Maryland win (12.0%)
  • 6 seed with a loss, Northwestern win, and MSU win (4.1%)

Maryland:

  • 3 seed with a win (74.3%)
  • 4 seed with a loss and Wisconsin win (16.5%); 90.8% total chance of double-bye
  • 5 seed with a loss and Minnesota win (9.2%)

Michigan State:

  • 3 seed with a win (25.7%)
  • 5 seed with a loss and Purdue win (41.0%)
  • 6 seed with a loss, Northwestern win, and either Iowa win or Michigan loss (27.4%)
  • 7 seed with a loss, Northwestern win, Iowa loss, and Michigan win (5.9%)

Northwestern:

  • 4 seed with a win and Minnesota win (16.1%)
  • 5 seed with a win, Wisconsin win, and Maryland win (21.4%)
  • 6 seed with a loss or Wisconsin and MSU win (62.5%)

Michigan:

  • 6 seed with a win, Maryland win, Northwestern win, and Iowa loss (5.9%)
  • 7 seed with a win, Iowa loss, and either MSU or Purdue win (11.9%)
  • 8 seed with a loss or Iowa win (82.2%)

Iowa:

  • 7 seed with a win or Illinois and Michigan losses (76.3%)
  • 8 seed with a loss, Illinois loss, and Michigan win (5.7%)
  • 9 seed with a loss and Illinois win (18.0%)

Illinois:

  • 7 seed with a win, Iowa loss, and Michigan loss (5.9%)
  • 8 seed with a win, Iowa loss, and Michigan win (12.1%)
  • 9 seed with a loss or Iowa win (82.0%)

Ohio State:

  • 10 seed with a win (62.2%)
  • 11 seed with a loss and Nebraska loss (25.4%)
  • 12 seed with a loss and Nebraska win (12.4%); 37.8% chance of playing Wednesday

Nebraska:

  • 10 seed with a win and Indiana win (12.4%)
  • 11 seed with a win and Ohio State win, or a loss, Ohio State win, and Penn State loss (51.1%)
  • 12 seed with a loss and either Indiana or Penn State win but not both (29.8%)
  • 13 seed with a loss, Indiana win, and Penn State win (6.7%); 87.6% chance of playing Wednesday

Indiana:

  • 10 seed with a win and Nebraska loss (25.4%)
  • 11 seed with a win and Nebraska win (12.4%)
  • 12 seed with a loss and Penn State loss (45.7%)
  • 13 seed with a loss and Penn State win (16.5%); 74.6% chance of playing Wednesday

Penn State:

  • 11 seed with a win, Ohio State win, and Nebraska loss (11.1%)
  • 12 seed with a win and either Nebraska or Indiana win but not both (12.1%)
  • 13 seed with a loss or both Nebraska and Indiana win (76.8%)

Rutgers is the 14 seed.

This Weekend’s Games

All times ET.

Indiana at Ohio State (Saturday, Noon, ESPN) - Ohio State 62% (projected margin +2.5)
Illinois at Rutgers (Saturday, Noon, ESPNU) - Illinois 68% (+4)
Michigan State at Maryland (Saturday, 2:00, BTN) - Maryland 74% (+5.5)
Penn State at Iowa (Sunday, 1:00, BTN) - Iowa 73% (+5.5)
Purdue at Northwestern (Sunday, 4:30, CBS) - Purdue 55% (+1)
Minnesota at Wisconsin (Sunday, 6:00, BTN) - Wisconsin 64% (+3)
Michigan at Nebraska (Sunday, 8:00, BTN) - Michigan 67% (+4)

In terms of NCAA tournament hopes, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Maryland are absolutely safe and just playing for seeding. Northwestern, MSU, and Michigan all have decent chances even with a loss but would feel a lot better with one more win heading into Championship Week. Illinois probably can’t afford to lose to Rutgers or in their Big Ten tournament opener; making it to Friday might be enough, though. Iowa did too much damage to their resume in non-conference season to have much chance without a deep run in DC, but after the upset at Wisconsin (their fifth RPI top 50 win of the season), it no longer seems like a completely lost cause.