Big Ten men's basketball tournament bracket if the season ended today

Last season, Penn State made a shocking run to the Big Ten tournament final to secure a spot in the Big Dance, but this season, it could be tougher for the Nittany Lions. Here's how things stand with a little over a month left in the regular season.
A view of the Big Ten Conference Tournament logo at center court
A view of the Big Ten Conference Tournament logo at center court / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Year 1 of the Mike Rhoades era for Penn State men’s basketball was in danger of going off the rails, but a 61-46 road win over Big Ten basement-dweller, Rutgers without leading scorer Kanye Clary, may have just saved the Nittany Lions’ season. A year ago, Micah Shrewsberry made a run to the Big Ten tournament final to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, and while that might be a long shot for this year’s team, Rhoades still has a path to the big dance. 

Penn State still has 10 regular season games left before the Big Ten tournament starts on Wednesday, March 13 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, if the season ended today with the Nittany Lions at 10-11 overall and 4-6 in conference play, they would have a tough path through the tournament and a loaded Big Ten field. 

A year ago, Purdue entered with the double bye as the No. 1 seed and took home the tournament title over Jalen Pickett and Penn State. The Nittany Lions advanced to the final as the No. 10 seed in a 14-team conference and the league got eight bids into the 68-team field for March Madness. This season, the league could receive a few less invitations, but there’s plenty of time before selection Sunday. 

On Wednesday night, Purdue hung on for a big win over Northwestern to split the season series between those two and Illinois took care of business against Ohio State. Wisconsin will face Nebraska on Thursday, but regardless of the outcome, that group is the cream of the Big Ten crop with a month and a half left in the season. 

With the Badgers, Boilermakers, and Illini separating themselves from the field, let’s take a look at what the Big Ten tournament bracket would look like right now. In terms of winners advancing to the second and third rounds to play teams with byes, we’ll assume every matchup goes chalk and the higher-seeded team wins. 

Big Ten Tournament Round 1 (Wednesday, March 13)

No. 12 vs. No. 13

  • Ohio State vs. Rutgers

No. 11 vs. No. 14

  • Penn State vs. Michigan

Big Ten Tournament Round 2 (Thursday, March 14)

No. 8 vs. No. 9

  • Maryland vs. Minnesota

No. 5 vs. No. 12/13

  • Nebraska vs. Ohio State

No. 7 vs. No. 10

  • Indiana vs. Iowa

No. 6 vs. No. 11/14

  • Michigan State vs. Penn State

Big Ten Tournament Round 3 (Friday, March 15)

No. 1 vs. No. 8/9

  • Wisconsin vs. Maryland

No. 4 vs. No. 5/12/13

  • Northwestern vs. Nebraska

No. 2 vs. No. 7/10

  • Purdue vs. Indiana

No. 3 vs. No. 6/11/14

  • Illinois vs. Michigan State

Predicting how many Big Ten teams will make the NCAA tournament. dark. Next. Predicting how many Big Ten teams will make the NCAA tournament