Big Ten Tourney (03/08/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
The Spartans march into the Big Dance after winning the Big Ten Tournament.

Conference tournaments are the unofficial start of March Madness. The NCAA awards 32 automatic bids to the Big Dance and 31 of those (the Ivy League does not hold a tournament) will be determined through each conference's tournament.

With automatic bids at stake, we have simulated each conference tournament using our Bracket Simulator to predict which teams will punch their ticket to March Madness. The Bracket Simulator is a free tool that gives you the power to simulate the postseason for any sport. Create your own bracket now! has been very profitable in conference tournaments. All-time on the site, "normal" or better conference tournament picks are 113-84-1 (57% ATS and O/U), through 2015. For access to conference tournament picks, click here.

When: March 9-13

Where: Indianapolis, IN

The automatic bid goes to: Michigan State (49.7%)

Spoiler alert: Sparty is good, again. It's March, so that means Michigan State, No. 2 in our Power Rankings, is playing great basketball. Tom Izzo's group has won six straight and by an average of more than 20 points per game. Denzel Valentine is one of the best players in the country and MSU should win the Big Ten Tournament.

And if they lose: Indiana (20.8%)

The top seed in the tournament had success against every team in the bracket with one exception. Against Michigan State the Hoosiers got spanked losing 88-69 back in February. However, on a neutral court, the game would be a lot closer. Indiana would be underdogs to Sparty in a potential title game, but you would be silly to count them out.

Bid Thief

Ohio State and Michigan: both teams are part of the “Next Out” in Joe Lunardi's most recent Bracketology. The Buckeyes and Wolverines need at least two wins if not title game appearances to get an at-large bid. Unfortunately for Ohio State and Michigan, if they win their first game they will face the top two seeds in the tournament.

Odds to win the Big Ten Tournament (based on 50,000 simulations of the conference tournament)

Seed Team Tournament Win%
2 Michigan State Spartans 49.7
1 Indiana Hoosiers 20.8
4 Purdue Boilermakers 16.5
3 Maryland Terrapins 8.9
5 Iowa Hawkeyes 1.9
6 Wisconsin Badgers 1.9
7 Ohio State Buckeyes 0.2
8 Michigan Wolverines 0.1
12 Illinois Fighting Illini 0.0
10 Penn State Nittany Lions 0.0
13 Minnesota Golden Gophers 0.0
11 Nebraska Cornhuskers 0.0
9 Northwestern Wildcats 0.0
14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 0.0