The Big Ten tournament bracket is out, and the matchups are set. Indiana slides into the 10-seed, matching up with the seventh-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers.
With the tournament beginning on Wednesday, let’s dive into the 2019 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis.
The Hoosiers needed a good week to get out of playing Wednesday afternoon as the 11-seed. They were blown away on Tuesday at Northwestern and their odds of earning a bye in the tournament looked slim. However, their luck changed on Sunday.
Indiana dominated Purdue, Iowa defeated Northwestern and Minnesota won against Michigan State, allowing Indiana to pass Purdue and earn the single bye and the 10-seed.
Now Indiana will match up with Minnesota Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. The Gophers defeated Indiana in their one regular season matchup, 65-61. That was the game in which Ali Patberg injured her shoulder in the third quarter and missed the remainder of the game.
Indiana trailed throughout the entirety of their matchup in Bloomington on February 6. They made a late surge in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to just one possession, but Minnesota got a key stop and knocked down its free throws late to secure the victory.
Minnesota’s win over Indiana was part of a six-game win streak and the Gophers are winners of seven of their last nine games to end the regular season.
The tournament’s impact on Indiana’s NCAA hopes
If Indiana wins on Thursday, the second-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes await the Hoosiers, a rematch of Indiana’s upset win on February 21, just two weeks ago. A win over Minnesota would be a solid win over a team that’s on the fringe of the NCAA tournament. A win over Iowa would be a huge win to help possibly solidify the Hoosiers’ spot in the big dance.
This morning, ESPN released their newest Bracketology, listing Indiana in the “Last Four In” as an 11-seed in the Miami regional. While these predictions often times aren’t correct, it gives us a look into where Indiana would be according to the numbers. The Hoosiers are the third to last team in the field according to bracketologist Charlie Creme.
Even though the Hoosiers are in the field according to Creme, a win against Minnesota on Thursday seems like almost a requirement to keep themselves in the field, and an upset win over Iowa would possibly solidify a spot in the field of 64.
The Big Ten tournament bracket as a whole
Maryland won the Big Ten regular season championship, earning them the top seed in the tournament this week. Iowa slides in at the two seed, and Michigan beat out Ohio State for the four seed and the double bye. Purdue, Wisconsin, Penn State and Illinois will play on Wednesday in the first round.
Maryland is a three-time Big Ten tournament winner, but they were knocked off last season by Ohio State. The Terrapins will look to win their fourth tournament in their five years in the league.
Meanwhile, teams like Michigan, Michigan State and Rutgers are either eight or nine seeds in the latest Bracketology on ESPN.com, meaning there is a lot at stake for these teams in this tournament. Indiana is among the “Last Four In” category, meaning they need some wins to improve their chances of making it in. Maryland is a three seed, looking to get some big wins to possibly jump to the two line.
There is plenty to play for, and with a balanced league this season, it feels like anything can happen this week in Indianapolis.