Mar 8, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT
The final day of the regular season is going to be thrilling for Big Ten fans.
There are four Big Ten games that are going to be played that day, involving all five teams with a shot at getting one of the top four seeds in the Big Ten tournament.
Here are the games:
- No. 22 Wisconsin (11-6 B1G) at Penn State, 12:00 p.m. ET
- Illinois at No. 14 Ohio State (12-5 B1G), 12:30 p.m. ET
- No. 2 Indiana (13-4 B1G) at No. 7 Michigan (12-5 B1G), 4:00 p.m. ET
- Northwestern at No. 10 Michigan State (12-5 B1G), 6:00 p.m. ET
And here is how the outcomes will affect the top five seeds, the top four of which get a bye:
INDIANA: Indiana has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament regardless of what happens on Sunday. If they win at Michigan, they are the outright Big Ten champs. But even if they lose, the Hoosiers just so happen to own all of the tiebreakers, regardless of how the other three games play out.
MICHIGAN: Michigan may have the most on the line on Sunday. Obviously, they have a share of the Big Ten title and, potentially, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. If Michigan beats Indiana, they will be the No. 2 seed if Illinois beats Ohio State and the No. 3 seed if Ohio State beats Illinois. But if the Wolverines lose, they will be the No. 5 seed unless Wisconsin pulls a Michigan and loses at Penn State. The No. 2 or No. 3 seed means they avoid Indiana until the finals. That matters.
Michigan fans need to root for: ILLINOIS and PENN STATE
OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes control their own destiny. If they beat Illinois, they will be the No. 2 seed regardless of what else happens on Sunday.
If the Buckeyes lose: the only way they can still get the No. 2 seed is if Indiana beats Michigan AND Wisconsin loses to Penn State AND Michigan State loses to Northwestern. That’s probably not happening. What could end up happening, however, is the Ohio State falls all the way down to the No. 5 seed. There’s only one scenario where that plays out, but it is a long way from far-fetched: if Michigan beats Indiana AND Michigan State and Wisconsin both win. Minnesota’s loss on Wednesday would mean that the Badgers have a tiebreaker with the Buckeyes, and Ohio State would miss out on their bye.
Here are the rest of the possible outcomes:
- If Indiana beats Michigan: Ohio State will be the No. 3 seed if Michigan State loses to Northwestern OR Wisconsin loses to Penn State. If both Michigan State AND Wisconsin win, the Buckeyes will be the No. 4 seed.
- If Michigan beats Indiana: Ohio State will be the No. 3 seed if both Michigan State AND Wisconsin lose. They will be the No. 4 seed if either Michigan State OR Wisconsin wins. They will be the No. 5 seed if both Wisconsin AND Michigan State win.
Ohio State fans need to root for: INDIANA, PENN STATE, and NORTHWESTERN
Michigan State: Beating the Badgers on Thursday locked the Spartans into a first round bye, but then things start to get complicated:
- If Indiana beats Michigan: the Spartans will fall no lower than a No. 3 seed. If Illinois also beats Ohio State, Michigan State is locked into the No. 2 seed as long as Wisconsin beats Penn State OR Michigan State beats Northwestern. If Ohio State beats Illinois, the Spartans will be the No. 3 seed whether they win or lose.
- If Michigan beats Indiana: the Spartans will be the No. 4 seed unless Illinois beats Ohio State AND EITHER Wisconsin beats Penn State OR Michigan State beats Northwestern.
Michigan State fans need to root for: INDIANA, ILLINOIS, and WISCONSIN
WISCONSIN: If Wisconsin loses to Penn State, they will be 11-7 in the league and locked into that No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament. If they win, they are still going to need some help to climb their way into a first round bye.
- If Michigan beats Indiana: the Badgers can only climb out of the No. 5 seed if Illinois beats Ohio State, Michigan State beats Northwestern. In that case, Wisconsin will have the tiebreaker with Ohio State thanks to Minnesota’s loss to Nebraska.
- If Indiana beats Michigan: Wisconsin will be the No. 4 seed unless Illinois beats Ohio State AND Michigan State beats Northwestern. If that happens, they climb all the way up to the No. 3 seed.
Wisconsin fans need to root for: INDIANA, ILLINOIS and MICHIGAN STATE
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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