Big Ten Tournament College Basketball Preview
The Big Ten Postseason Tournament kicks off on Wednesday, and this league is such a log jam that hopefully, we can get some answers. Purdue enters the tournament as the clear favorites but the Boilermakers have also gone just 4-4 over their last eight games. Here are some other storylines to follow and be aware of before placing wagers on the B1G Tournament.
Wisconsin Needs Wins
The Badgers enter the postseason tournament as the 12th seed and desperately need to win some games to secure their place in the NCAA Tournament. Greg Gard’s club has gone just 6-11 since starting the season 11-2 and 3-0 in league play. Inconsistency has been the biggest issue for the Badgers, especially on the offensive end, as they are their typical strong selves defensively.
Guard Chucky Hepburn has been somewhat disappointing this season as he takes over the leadership role and primary scoring option following the departure of Johnnie Davis.
The 6’2 guard is averaging just over 12 points per game but has struggled over his last six contests where he is averaging just eight points per contest and shooting under 36 percent from the field. The team is unsurprisingly 3-3 during that span at a time when the Badgers need to stack some victories.
Michigan And Rutgers Are Playing For Their Tournament Lives
Thursday’s contest between Michigan and Rutgers basically represents an elimination game. Both teams were recently considered to be in the field, but both have stumbled down the stretch. The Wolverines went from being the second seed in the Big Ten Tournament to the eighth in just a couple of days losing consecutive games to Illinois and Indiana.
The situation is even worse for Rutgers, who were 16-7 and 8-4 in league play as of February 4th. Unfortunately, that was the last time that Mawot Mag played, and the loss was catastrophic for the Knights. Rutgers has lost six of eight games since losing Mag to injury, including embarrassing losses to Nebraska and Minnesota.
Can Jalen Pickett Carry Penn State To The Dance?
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Jalen Pickett is a darn good basketball player. The former Siena Saint is averaging 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists per game this season. Over his last six contests, Pickett has kicked it up a notch, averaging 21.7 points a game to go along with seven assists and six rebounds. He is shooting a ridiculous 53.8 percent from behind the three-point line.
The Nittany Lions have won five of their last six games to close the season, but there is still work to do, as most bracketologists have them right on the line. What would really help is some consistency from their second-leading scorer Seth Lundy.
The senior wing has logged three games of single-digit points scored over the Lions over the last five games. Some of the slack has been picked up by Camren Wynter, but if both could get rolling at the same time this club could be difficult to defeat.
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