Featuring some of the best talent in the nation, the Big Ten tournament will play out at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis from March 11-15. This is a stacked tournament, as six of the 14 teams are currently ranked in the AP Top 25 and at least eight teams have a solid shot at earning a March Madness berth. The impressive contenders list includes Michigan State, Maryland and Wisconsin, who shared the regular-season Big Ten title. Those three squads, plus Illinois, have a double-bye and won’t play until the quarterfinals on Friday.
Similar to the First Four March Madness round, the Big Ten tournament tips off with two play-in games. First up, No. 12 Minnesota faces No. 13 Northwestern at 6 p.m. ET in Game 1 and then No. 11 Indiana meets No. 14 Nebraska in Game 2 at 8:25 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Prior to the favorites entering the fray on Friday, the Golden Gophers vs. Wildcats winner plays No. 5 Iowa, while the Hoosiers vs. Cornhuskers winner faces No. 6 Penn State on Thursday. No. 8 Rutgers plays No. 9 Michigan and No. 7 Ohio State battles No. 10 Purdue to determine the quarterfinal bracket.
Posted as the pre-tournament chalk by bookmakers at the Westgate SuperBook, No. 2 Michigan State is a battle-tested squad. The Spartans closed with five straight wins (all by eight points or more), including four wins against Big Ten teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Head coach Tom Izzo is looking to claim a seventh Big Ten championship and leading scorers Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman Sr. and Aaron Henry are all back to defend the Spartans' 2019 title. That core “big three” was strong down the stretch and Michigan State is the top favorite over Maryland and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin closed its season with eight straight wins and earned the No. 1 seed after going 1-1 against Michigan State and 1-0 versus Maryland during the regular season. Apart from Michigan, which finished outside of the AP Top 25, the Badgers didn’t face a ranked opponent during their winning streak.
The Terrapins are the No. 3 seed but they stumbled during losses to Ohio State, Michigan State and Rutgers over their final five games. Illinois opened February with four straight losses but won five of its last six games. The Illini are the No. 4 seed and round out the top four favorites.
First played in 1998, the Big Ten tournament has been won by Michigan State in six of its first 22 editions. A championship here would be the Spartans' third title over the last five seasons. On opposite sides of the bracket, a Michigan State vs. Wisconsin final pairing would be the first between the top-two tournament seeds since 2007. A No. 2 seed has won the Big Ten tournament seven times—including Michigan State in 2016.
The Spartans' season-ending form, plus their experience and championship pedigree, should not be ignored here. Bet on Michigan State winning back-to-back Big Ten titles.
Pick: Michigan State +200
Big Ten Conference Championship Betting Odds:
Odds courtesy of Westgate SuperBook
2020 Big Ten Tournament Schedule
Location — Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
First Round — Wednesday, March 11
Game 1: No. 12 Minnesota vs. No. 13 Northwestern | 6 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 2: No. 11 Indiana vs. No. 14 Nebraska | 8:25 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Second Round — Thursday, March 12
Game 3: No. 8 Rutgers vs. No. 9 Michigan | 12 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 4: No. 5 Iowa vs. Game 1 winner | 2:25 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 5: No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Purdue | 6:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 6: No. 6 Penn State vs. Game 2 winner | 8:55 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Quarterfinals — Friday, March 13
Game 7: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. Game 3 winner | 12 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 8: No. 4 Illinois vs. Game 4 winner | 2:25 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 9: No. 2 Michigan State vs. Game 5 winner | 6:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Game 10: No. 3 Maryland vs. Game 6 winner | 8:55 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
Semifinals — Saturday, March 14
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner | 1 p.m. ET on CBS, CBSSports.com
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner | 3:25 p.m. ET on CBS, CBSSports.com
Championship Game — Sunday, March 15
Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner | 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS, CBSSports.com
MORE FROM SI GAMBLING: