Most of us take sports a little too seriously, myself included, so we decided to have a little fun with the Big Ten Tournament. We can get into serious picks when the NCAA Tournament brackets come out on Sunday, but for now my friend Chris has offered up his thoughts as the strongest conference in the nation kicks off its annual tournament Thursday in the Windy City. Here is his preview and some 100% accurate picks*.
*may be closer to 0%.
Game 1: #8 Illinois vs. #9 Minnesota
Battle of two teams ranked in the top 12 earlier this season that have faded considerably down the stretch. Both teams are likely in the tournament but could use a win to solidify that.
What Happens: Trevor Mbakwe, energized by playing in Chicago where his idol, Luc Longley, used to play scores 19 points and grabs 10 rebounds en route to a Gooph victory.
Game 2: #5 Michigan vs #12 Penn State
Michigan is primed for a letdown after choking away a share of the conference at the free throw line. Penn State is playing better basketball than their record would indicate.
What Happens: The Lions rush out to an early lead, playing inspired ball while Tim Hardaway Jr. shoots 1/14 in the first half. At halftime, inspired by a Mitch McGary pep talk, Glenn Robinson III channels his inner Big Dog and goes off, leading Michigan to a hard fought victory.
Game 3: #7 Purdue vs. #10 Nebraska
Boilers are battling for their tournament lives, needing a magical tournament run to make the NCAA’s.
What Happens: D.J. Byrd owns the United Center, going 9/10 from three point range. After each three he rides the bull back down the court, preparing for his transformation to professional wrestling after the season. The crowd hates it and he instantly gets bad boy status. Boilers win big.
Game 4: #6 Iowa vs. #11 Northwestern
This has all the makings of a blowout, as Iowa theoretically could earn an at-large bid and Northwestern seems to be playing out the string.
What Happens: Albino Hawkeye Aaron White scores 35 points as Northwestern players refused to guard him because they "didn’t wanna catch that Albino disease.” A flabbergasted Bill Carmody refuses to speak to reporters. Iowa wins a laugher.
Game 5: #1 Indiana vs. #9 Minnesota
Rubber match of a competitive season split, one of the games featuring this, which I can’t watch enough.
What Happens: Cody Zeller is determined to avenge the de-pantsing he got last game and comes out strong. However, Crean inexplicably replaces him with Derek Elston who shoots and misses an NCAA record 47 shots. After the game, Crean gets into it with IU fans, blaming them for running the program into the ground. He goes on to blame the cotton candy salesman, beer vendors, referees and Slick (from this very website). He is admitted to the psych ward and never heard from again.
Game 6: #4 Wisconsin vs. #5 Michigan
Rematch of an overtime game from earlier this season.
What Happens: As good as Bo Badger Ryan has been in the regular season, he is that crappy in the postseason. Trey Burke puts on his “eff-you” face and leads the Wolverines to victory. Oddly enough, during the game, Bucky the Badger sprains his ankle and has to be out of commission for the foreseeable future. Barry Alvarez, fresh off of filling in for Bret Bielema during the Rose Bowl decides to fill in for Bucky for the remainder of the season.
Game 7: #2 Ohio State vs. #7 Purdue
These teams played only once this year with the Buckeyes winning a hard fought game in Mackey Arena.
What Happens: D.J. Byrd owns the United Center. Fresh off of super-gluing a D.J. Byrd poster over the Michael Jordan statue outside, he hits 10/13 threes, most of which come with Aaron Craft draped all over him. Craft, clearly distraught retreats to the locker room at half time to be with good buddy and former MSU walk-on Austin Thornton. Boilers win.
Game 8: #3 Michigan State vs. #6 Iowa
Iowa needs this one for their tournament resume, while Michigan State is trying to solidify their seed.
What Happens: Branden Dawson, Adreian Payne, Derrick Nix and Keith Appling all get into a fight over a hotly contested game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos and wind up in the hospital, unable to play (but seriously, Branden Dawson is a good guy). Spurred by that and MSU refusing to guard Milky White Aaron … White, the Hawkeyes advance.
Game 9: #5 Michigan vs. #9 Minnesota
With both teams safely in the tournament, each is looking to improve seeding.
What Happens: Michigan head coach John Beilein decides to rest Trey Burke and instills Sexy Spike Albrecht into the starting lineup. He notches a triple-double, scoring 15 points, 13 assists and 12 steals leading the Wolverines to the championship game.
Game 10: #6 Iowa vs. #7 Purdue
The teams split the season series in arguably the two ugliest games in conference history.
What Happens: D.J. Byrd owns the United Center. Wearing a Nacho Libre mask and only shooting fade away threes, Byrd hits an unprecedented 13/14 from downtown. Not to be outdone, Aaron White hits 12 threes and is attempting to hit his 13th with 2 seconds left and the Hawkeyes down two. Feisty Dru Anthop, the only one willing to guard White, jumps off of Sandi Marcius’ shoulders, blocks the shot and sends Purdue to the championship game.
Game 11: #5 Michigan vs. #7 Purdue
In the game everyone expected to see, Michigan looks to complete a three game sweep of the Boilers.
What Happens: D.J. Byrd does not own the United Center in the first half. He shoots an abysmal 1/14 from three and Purdue trails 25-3 heading into the break. Sandi Marcius (who has the ability to see angels around people a la Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Angels in the Outfield, a film which also stars Tony Danza and Danny Glover, it's a travesty it never won an Oscar) sees one hovering over Byrd at halftime. He tells Coach Painter and Painter puts in Marcius, Hammons, Carroll and Lawson in the lineup with Byrd to set screens. Byrd goes an astounding 18/18 in the half despite triple teams. However, Purdue still trails by one with 2 seconds left. Painter decides to use Byrd as a decoy, running a pick and pop with Marcius who banks in a game winning three sending the Boilers to the tournament.
Byrd is named the tournament MVP behind 51/69 shooting from three point land.