Predicting How the Big Ten Race Will Finish

Now that we're into the second half of the season, here's how we project each team to finish.

To compare these with our pre-conference season predictions, click here.


Projected losses: at Minnesota, at Michigan State

Overall record: 27-4

NCAA resume: No lower than a No.2 seed regardless of Big Ten Tournament showing

The game at Minnesota is a classic sandwich game, wedged between key home dates with Maryland and the instate arch-rival. The final game of the regular season in East Lansing could be winner-take-all for the conference crown.


Projected losses: at Wisconsin, at Michigan

Overall record: 25-6

NCAA resume: No lower than a No.2 seed regardless of Big Ten tournament showing

Home loss to Indiana over the weekend threw a wrench in all the analysts' projecting Sparty to have the favorable schedule advantage.

PURDUE (14-6)

Projected losses: at Maryland, at Indiana, at Nebraska, at Minnesota

Overall record: 21-10

NCAA resume: Potentially as high as a No.5 seed depending on Big Ten Tournament showing

Boilermakers have maybe been hottest team in the league past couple of weeks, but a difficult road schedule down the stretch will cool them off at least a little bit. Still, this would be a really good finish given the team's 6-5 start.


Projected losses: at Michigan, at Northwestern, at Ohio State

Overall record: 22-9

NCAA resume: Could be a top 4 seed depending on Big Ten Tournament showing

Badgers have righted the ship after a mid-season dip, and will end up with a really solid bounce-back after last season's disappointment put the program at a crossroads.


Projected losses: at Michigan, at Iowa, Michigan

Overall record: 22-9

NCAA resume: Likely locked into the 7-9 seed range

May have peaked in mid-January, but Terps would still end up with a good season considering many thought they were a year away.

IOWA (12-8)

Projected losses: at Indiana, at Ohio State, at Wisconsin

Overall record: 23-8

NCAA resume: Sounds weird to say, but Hawkeye fans need to keep rooting for Iowa State because that has the potential to be the best non-conference win by a Big Ten team this season. Which could boost the Hawkeyes as high as a No.5 seed depending on Big Ten Tournament showing.

This would be the most regular season wins by an Iowa basketball team since the 1988 Elite Eight team 31 years ago.


Projected losses: at Purdue, Wisconsin, at Michigan State, at Nebraska, at Rutgers, at Maryland

Overall record: 20-11

NCAA resume: Probably on the brink of the bubble heading into the Big Ten Tournament

Gophers probably have the toughest second half schedule in the conference.

INDIANA (9-11)

Projected losses: at Minnesota, at Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State

Overall record: 18-13

NCAA resume: Non-conference wins over Louisville and Marquette could put them on the right side of the bubble.

Virtually impossible to project what this team will do/be in the final month of the season, so I'll split the difference and pick them to go 5-5.


Projected losses: at Indiana, at Michigan State, at Maryland, at Purdue, at Northwestern

Overall record: 19-12

NCAA resume: Probably fighting to avoid an opening round play-in game heading into Big Ten Tournament

Buckeyes have one of the best non-conference resumes in the league, so as long as they're competitive down the stretch they could still feel good about making the field.


Projected wins: Penn State, Rutgers, Minnesota, Ohio State

Overall record: 16-15

Has been scrappy and competitive all season despite rebuilding its roster.


Projected wins: Nebraska, Rutgers, Penn State, Northwestern

Overall record: 10-21

Have several winnable home games down the stretch.

RUTGERS (6-14)

Projected wins: Minnesota, Penn State

Overall record: 13-17

Expect the Scarlet Knights to come back down to earth down the stretch.


Projected wins: Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue

Overall record: 16-15

Easily most disappointing team of the season.


Projected wins: Nebraska, Illinois

Overall record: 9-22

Seems like eons ago Nittany Lions beat nationally-ranked Virginia Tech in Big Ten/ACC Challenge.


Byes: Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin

Opening Round: No.12 Rutgers vs. No.13 Nebraska, No.11 Illinois vs. No.14 Penn State

First Round: No.8 Indiana vs. No.9 Ohio State, No.5 Maryland vs. Rutgers/Nebraska, No.7 Minnesota vs. No.10 Northwestern, No.6 Iowa vs. Illinois/Penn State

Quarterfinals: No.1 Michigan vs. Indiana/Ohio State, No.4 Wisconsin vs. Maryland/Rutgers/Nebraska, No.2 Michigan State vs. Minnesota/Northwestern, No.3 Purdue vs. Iowa/Illinois/Penn State


Steve Deace
EditorSteve Deace
Steve Deace
EditorSteve Deace