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Big Ten Tournament Picks – Ohio State Will Win It

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/12/2010 2:57:35 PM

The calculus of sports betting doesn’t follow linear paths when it comes to conference tournaments in college basketball. The past 10 days have witnessed Kennesaw State (Atlantic Sun Conference), Grambling State (SWAC) and Georgetown (Big East) knock off top-seeded teams in conference tournaments, offering yet more reminders of the fact that the one-and-done nature of postseason basketball differs greatly from the full run of the regular season. Over 30 games, the best teams rise to the top. In one do-or-die duel, however, top seeds in the smaller conferences will feel extra in-game pressure. In the bigger conference tourneys, the top seeds are already thinking about the NCAA Tournament and lose motivation after beating up their local rivals for two months. These events – which feature conference play but are staged at neutral sites – are hard to predict because the motivation levels vary for the teams involved. Like bowl games, conference tournaments in college basketball are matters of the mind more than the body.

Big Ten Tournament Picks: Ohio State Is Favored To Win Big Ten Tournament

  • In the first 12 Big Ten Tournaments, a team seeded lower than two has won only three times
  • A No. 1 seed has won this event in three of the last five years
  • Purdue is the defending champion; defending champions have won this event only once (2000)

Big Ten Tournament Picks – The Favorites

It really is counter-intuitive in a way. NCAA basketball betting odds will tell you that No. 1 seeds are not sure bets in conference tournaments. Teams that have already achieved so much have a lot less to play for in these kinds of situations. On the other hand, the teams in the middle of a conference with a No. 5 or a No. 6 seed are playing to get into the NCAA Tournament. Underdogs have much more incentive in this kind of an environment, while the big dogs – though they might never admit it – don’t mind losing early so that they can rest up for the NCAAs.

One has to think twice before picking a top seed to win a conference tournament, but it really does seem that in this case, Ohio State is best positioned to take home a trophy at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. First of all, No. 4 seed Wisconsin is concerned about the ankle of star point guard Trevon Hughes. The senior leader will likely play, but he might not be at 100 percent for this event, which forces teams to play three games in three days if they want to win the title.

The No. 3 seed, Michigan State, is dealing with its own internal drama, as guard Chris Allen – a zone-busting 3-point shooter the Spartans need on the floor – has been suspended for at least one game by coach Tom Izzo. Purdue is without star wing Robbie Hummel for the rest of the season, and is therefore a much weaker team. This leaves sportsbook oddsmakers with little choice but to tab Ohio State as the only Big Ten team worthy of confidence this weekend. The Buckeyes don’t have the glaring issues faced by other teams who are dealing either with injuries or suspensions.

Big Ten Tournament Picks –The Mid-Tier

The only Big Ten team who could be called mid-tier is fifth-seeded Illinois. The Fighting Illini beat Michigan State and won at Wisconsin in consecutive games in early February. At times, coach Bruce Weber’s bunch looked like a Big Ten title contender, but in recent weeks, the wheels have fallen off. A loss this past Sunday against Wisconsin witnessed a meltdown by Illinois star Demetri McCamey, the one indispensable player on the team. McCamey committed an intentional foul in the second half, and was quickly yanked from the game by Weber, who tore into his point guard on the bench. McCamey yelled back and did not handle the situation with any maturity whatsoever. It’s really hard to trust a team with this kind of internal strife.

Big Ten Tournament Picks – The Longshots

The lower seeds in this event have little chance of doing anything, with the exception of sixth-seeded Minnesota. Michigan (No. 8 seed) and Northwestern (No. 7 seed) are waiting to be dumped in the quarterfinals, while the No. 6 Golden Gophers are playing without their normal point guard, Al Nolen (academic suspension). Moreover, Minnesota is without its touted freshman recruit, Royce White, who got in trouble with the law earlier this season. This is just not a conference in which a low seed is primed to pull off an upset.

Big Ten Tournament Picks – The Prediction

Ohio State is the winner… maybe by default, but really: Who else is going to step up and win this event? The Buckeyes offer bettors the best choice.

Pick: Ohio State

For more sports online betting tips and articles, check out the betonline.com Betting Edge daily.

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