2.) Who’s your dark horse in the Big Ten Tournament?
CB: While it may be an unpopular pick, I’m going to tab Iowa as my dark horse. I know the Hawkeyes are a top five seed in the tournament, but similar to Maryland, Iowa is dragging their leg behind them as they descend upon Indianapolis. However, this is a team that has a ton to prove after their fall from grace during the second half of conference play. For guys like Mike Gesell, Jarrod Uthoff, and Adam Woodbury, this is their last go-round and they’ll have something to prove. Look for the Hawkeyes to make a run at a tournament title.
WB: Iowa and Wisconsin have presented problems all season. Either of those teams could make a run if they come together this weekend. The Big Ten is so even this season that anyone seeded one to six has a legitimate chance to win.
RM: For a dark horse team, I have to go with the Wisconsin Badgers. They finished sixth in the Big Ten with 20-11 (12-6, in the conference). Their conference record was the same a Iowa, Maryland, and Purdue. Wisconsin is led by senior Nigel Hayes who has had a solid season, averaging 16.5 points per game. At one point during the season, Wisconsin went on a seven game winning streak. During that streak, the Badgers beat Indiana, Maryland, and Michigan State. Wisconsin’s first game will be against Nebraska. If they do win that game, they will play Maryland.
JN: My dark horse in the tournament is the Michigan Wolverines. Yes, they would have to play the No. 1 seed Indiana in the quarterfinals, but if Michigan’s shooters are hot, I see them pulling off the upset. In their only meeting in the regular season, Michigan lost at home to Indiana by 13. In this game, Michigan only shot 7-of-23 (30 percent) from deep. On the season, the Wolverines shoot 39 percent from beyond the arc. If these two teams meet in the quarterfinals, I believe Michigan will shoot better than 30 percent from three, which will be the key to them pulling off the upset and potentially securing a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
JR: Wisconsin’s looking like a nice pick from where I stand. Their last game against Purdue notwithstanding, they’ve been improving all season and are looking dangerous. They have beaten some good teams this year, and if not for their abysmally slow start, they’d probably have a double bye this tournament.