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The Official B5Q Big Ten Tournament Preview

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Suck it, any other previews that you may have seen on this very website.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Michigan
Triggered much, Illinois fans?
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten Tournament starts Wednesday evening with the four worst teams in the conference duking it out. You’re going to watch because the winner of the Nebraska/Penn State slap fight will play Wisconsin in the next round. I make fun because I’m nervous that the winner will beat the Badgers since, you know, PSU already has done that this year and Nebraska has already beaten the Nittany Lions which by the transitive property mean Nebraska is better than Wisconsin even though Wisconsin has beaten Nebraska twice.

Yeah, that math checks out.

Anyways, let’s take a look at the two games that are happening tonight and see if a deep dive into the analytics can help us parse out who is going to win.

No. 13 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Northwestern, 5:30 p.m. CST, BTN

Holy hell, both of these teams frigging stink. Richard Pitino is reportedly maybe, probably out of a job once the Gophers end their season and apparently Big Ten blocked shots leader Liam Robbins isn’t playing and neither is Gabe Kalscheur. The Gophers have also lost seven straight games and 10 of their last 12. They are a program in complete disarray and there really isn’t a path forward here for them.

Northwestern, after suffering through a, uh, most of the season 13-game losing streak, has righted the ship heading into March and have won their last three games! THAT’S WHAT WE LIKE TO CALL MO-MENTUM! NU’s conference season started with them being ranked after winning three straight B1G games...losing 13 straight...then winning their last three! What a weird team!!

The ‘Cats play hard and have a bunch of players who mostly stink so that should be enough for them to move on to the next round since the Gophers are don’t play that hard and have a bunch of players who mostly stink.

Except for Marcus Carr. He’s cool and good. “We’re not done. We’re not really listening to the outside noise,” Carr said. LISTEN TO ME, THOUGH, MARCUS!

No. 14 Nebraska vs. No. 11 Penn State, 25 minutes after game one ends, BTN

Teddy Allen officially signed with Nebraska on April 15th, 2020 and then he left the team UNDER A YEAR LATER! Will the indignities of having Scott Frost as the head football coach ever cease? Allen was wildly inefficient as a scorer and also incredibly inconsistent to boot! His last four games as a member of the Huskers saw him score zero, seven, 41 and six points respectively.

The Huskers circled the wagons after Allen left the team and finished the season 1-2 and claimed the, um, No. 14 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. A real Cinderella story. Somehow one of Nebraska’s three conference wins came at Penn State and in the return leg of the series the only lost to the Nittany Lions by three so this is probably the most favorable matchup they could get.

Penn State has awesome efficiency numbers and really should have a better record than 10-13, but they won three of four to end the year including an impressive road win over a desperate Maryland team. PSU should win this game in a walk, but have clearly struggled with the Huskers for some reason.

PSU, who was sitting at 3-1 when Bill tweeted this, went on to lose their next five games.