The 2019 Big Ten tournament tips off Wednesday, March 13 at the United Center in Chicago. Below is an in-depth look at the tournament, including a complete bracket, TV schedule, analysis and predictions.
2019 Big Ten tournament bracket, seeds
2019 Big Ten tournament TV schedule
All times Eastern
Wednesday, March 13 | First round
No. 12 Rutgers vs. No. 13 Nebraska — 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 11 Illinois vs. No. 14 Northwestern — 9 p.m., Big Ten Network
Thursday, March 14 | Second round
No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Indiana — 12:30, Big Ten Network
No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 12 Rutgers/No. 13 Nebraska — 3 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Penn State — 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Illinois/No. 14 Northwestern — 9:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Friday, March 15 | Quarterfinals
No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Ohio State/No. 9 Indiana — 12:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Maryland/No. 12 Rutgers/No. 13 Nebraska — 3 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 7 Minnesota/No. 10 Penn State — 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Iowa/No. 11 Illinois/No. 14 Northwestern — 9:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Saturday, March 16 | Semifinals
Winners of quarterfinals 1 and 2 — 1 p.m., CBS
Winners of quarterfinals 3 and 4 — 3:30 p.m., CBS
Sunday, March 17 | Final
Semifinal winners — 3:30 p.m., CBS
Who is the favorite?
It’s the Michigan State Spartans. Their sweep of in-state rival Michigan proved as much. It clinched them a share of the Big Ten regular-season crown, despite losing Joshua Langford for the year and missing Nick Ward down the stretch. Ward will return from his injury in Chicago, and top-seeded Sparty is the team to beat.
Who else can win?
Michigan and Purdue certainly can. And if the conference’s regular season told us anything, so can a host of others. Such was its unpredictability.
But Wisconsin and Maryland were a combined 2-10 against the KenPom top 30, excluding games against each other. Minnesota is 3-7 since the start of February, and Iowa and Ohio State are spiraling. The best bets among non-favorites might be streaking Penn State and enigmatic Indiana.
Indiana (17-14, 8-12, KenPom 42, NET 55)
The Hoosiers are, remarkably, still in at-large contention despite a 13-game stretch spanning most of January and February during which they only won once. Since, they’ve run off four in a row, have a potential top-five NBA draft pick in Romeo Langford, and have an opportunity to extend the win streak against a fellow bubbler in Chicago.
Minnesota (19-12, 9-11, KenPom 46, NET 56)
The Gophers are in good shape, but could use one more win to save themselves a Selection Sunday sweat.
Ohio State (18-13, 8-12, KenPom 45, NET 52)
The Buckeyes spent much of conference play in Minnesota territory, but are now squarely on the bubble. Over the past month, they have as many losses to Big Ten bottom-feeders as they have wins. And their résumé-leading victory is … at Cincinnati on Nov. 7? Chris Holtmann’s team is essentially just mediocre enough to sit just above the cut-line, so one more mediocre win would probably solidify it there. But a loss to Indiana in the 8-9 game would both hurt the Buckeyes’ cause and help a direct competitor.
Players to watch
1. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue — The relentless engine that drives arguably the conference’s best offense. Edwards is lightning-quick and fearless, a useful combination when your usage rate ranks in the top 10 nationally. The junior carries a hefty load, often to hefty point totals; but whether he’s scoring or not, he’s the reason Purdue does at a 1.14 point-per-possession clip.
2. Ethan Happ, C, Wisconsin — The Big Ten gets one last look at Happ, who remains a brilliantly perplexing player. He’s a guard in an unmovable 6-foot-10 body, yet can’t shoot. He’s the focal point of an unaesthetically efficient Wisconsin offense and the anchor of its defense, but sometimes can’t play in crunch time because he’s a sub-50 percent free throw shooter. He’s paradoxical, in a way that makes him a joy to watch.
3. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State — His game isn’t always loud. His irreplaceable influence isn’t always noticeable. But he’s so tough, so smart, so efficient – the type of player fathers tell their sons to watch as Day 1 homework in Point Guard School.
One big storyline: Is the Big Ten’s depth legitimate?
At one point or another over the past four months, 10 of the conference’s 14 members have looked like sure-fire tournament teams. Nine have spent time in the KenPom top 25. And that doesn’t even include Penn State, who’s been the joint-second-best team in the conference since Feb. 1.
The Big Ten’s calling card, and the reason some believe it to be the nation’s best league, has been its depth. Yet today, in early march, it looks more like a five-team conference than a top-to-bottom dogfight.
The question is why – because the bottom is so dang good, and has caught up with the middle? Or because the middle’s November-January success was fluky? Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and others have big opportunities to reject the latter hypothesis in Chicago. Or, perhaps, Penn State and Indiana could confirm the former.
2019 Big Ten tournament predictions
No. 13 Nebraska over No. 12 Rutgers
No. 14 Northwestern over No. 11 Illinois
No. 9 Indiana over No. 8 Ohio State
No. 5 Maryland over No. 13 Nebraska
No. 10 Penn State over No. 7 Minnesota
No. 14 Northwestern over No. 6 Iowa
No. 1 Michigan State over No. 9 Indiana
No. 4 Wisconsin over No. 5 Maryland
No. 2 Purdue over No. 10 Penn State
No. 3 Michigan over No. 14 Northwestern
No. 1 Michigan State over No. 4 Wisconsin
No. 2 Purdue over No. 3 Michigan
No. 2 Purdue over No. 1 Michigan State
More on Yahoo Sports: