Big Ten Tournament 2019: Round-2 Schedule, Live-Stream Info, Bracket Predictions
Nebraska and Illinois kicked off the 2019 Big Ten tournament with wins over Rutgers and Northwestern, respectively.
Now it’s time to look ahead to Round 2, which usually signals the beginning of games that have more of a competitive edge.
The highlight matchup for the second day of action is undoubtedly the game between Ohio State (No. 8 seed) and Indiana (No. 9 seed), which will be held at the United Center in Chicago for the first time since 2015.
ESPN’s bracketology expert Joe Lunardi has both the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers on the bubble. Ohio State is on the “last four in” list, while Indiana is on the “first four out” list, meaning each squad needs to beat the other on Thursday night to punch their ticket to March Madness.
In total, there are four games on the schedule, so there’s plenty of action to take in.
Updated Big Ten Tournament bracket.
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Big Ten tournament
Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 13 Nebraska 68, No. 12 Rutgers 61
Game 2: No. 11 Illinois 74, No. 14 Northwestern 69
Thursday, March 14
Game 3: No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Indiana (12:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
Game 4: No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 13 Nebraska (3 p.m., BTN)
Game 5: No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Penn State (7 p.m, BTN)
Game 6: No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Illinois (9:30 p.m., BTN)
Friday, March 15
Game 7: No. 1 Michigan State vs. Game 3 winner (12:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
Game 8: No. 4 Wisconsin vs. Game 4 winner (3 p.m., BTN)
Game 9: No. 2 Purdue vs. Game 5 winner (7 p.m., BTN)
Game 10: No. 3 Michigan vs. Game 6 winner (9:30 p.m., BTN)
Saturday, March 16
Game 11: Friday afternoon winners (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
Game 12: Friday evening winners (3:30 p.m., CBS)
Sunday, March 17
Game 13: Saturday winners (3:30 p.m ET, CBS)
Outside of the Ohio State vs. Indiana game, the teams to watch are No. 6 Iowa and No. 7 Minnesota.
The Hawkeyes (21-10) picked the wrong time to go cold. Losers of their last four games, they’ll need to rekindle their mojo if they want to beat Illinois.
Sure, Iowa is a virtual lock to make the NCAA tournament, but if it falls to Illinois, it’ll enter as a very low seed and have a treacherous path to advancing in the region.
In an attempt to curtail their recent slide, Hawkeyes’ players have jettisoned their Twitter accounts so they can “lock in” and take care of business in the Big Ten.
Led by junior forward Tyler Cook, the Hawkeyes will ultimately prevail over the Fighting Illini and improve their seeding in the Big Dance.
The Golden Gophers (19-12) will likely be dancing after the Big Ten concludes, but a win over Penn State will remove all doubt.
Minnesota has lost three of its last five so will be looking to make a statement against the Nittany Lions.
Earlier this season, the Gophers were able to squeak by Penn State 65-64 and should be able to find a way to win again.
Head coach Richard Pitino is leaning on Amir Coffey at the point over Isaiah Washington to lead his team past the high-scoring Lamar Stevens (19.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game) and X-factor players Josh Reaves and Rasir Bolton.
Chances are good that Minnesota defeats the Nittany Lions and goes on to upset Purdue on Friday.
No. 5-ranked Maryland will make short work of No. 13 Nebraska behind the leadership of Bruno Fernando and their cadre of freshmen standouts, which include Jalen Smith, Eric Ayala and deep-threat Aaron Wiggins.
No. 1 Michigan State and No. 3 Michigan don’t begin play until Friday night, but both teams are significant threats to win the Big Ten.
The Wolverines have won the last two conference titles, but the Spartans are favored to take home their first since title since 2016.
Currently, Michigan State is listed as a No. 2 seed for March Madness, but if it takes the Big Ten, it could be in play for the No. 1 seed, especially if North Carolina, Duke or Kentucky lay an egg in their conference tournaments.
Going into the NCAA tournament as a top seed is always desirable, but head coach Tom Izzo is more concerned with just getting better as a team.
“I still think we’re playing for a lot,” Izzo told the Detroit Free Press’ Chris Solari. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen in all of these tournaments. You know what, the best thing is we’re not playing for a seed and not a spot on where we go. The best thing we’re playing for is to make sure this team keeps getting a little better each game.
“We’ve got some serious things we need to improve on. And I’m hopefully gonna use this week and that tournament to see if we can improve on them.”
Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com