Every year, Ken Pomeroy uses his team ratings to run simulations of every conference tournament. Since Michigan has all but wrapped up the regular-season title (jinx!), I thought I'd jump the gun and see what the future holds for the Big Ten tournament, based on current Kenpom ratings and current conference standings.
The result? Mayhem.
It's pretty much a pick 'em among the league's top five teams. This isn't too surprising, given that those teams are tightly bunched in the current Kenpom ratings, with Iowa at 10, Wisconsin at 12, Ohio State at 13, Michigan at 14 and Michigan State at 17. (Nebraska is next, all the way down at 49th.) Together, the top five teams have a 95 percent chance of winning the title.
Seeding will be important. The fifth seed (currently Ohio State) takes a big hit by having to play another game, and the fourth seed (currently Iowa) takes a hit by most likely having to play the fifth seed (one of the other contenders) in the quarters. This is why Wisconsin has a better shot than Iowa at the title in this scenario even though Iowa has a better Kenpom rating: Wisconsin gets a much easier path as the No. 3 seed.
Wisconsin can guarantee itself a top-three seed by winning out. Sounds like a plan.