2012 Big Ten Basketball Tournament Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2012 Big Ten Tournament Predictions

Which Big Ten team cuts down the nets?

By Ryan Fowler - WhatIfSports.com
March 5, 2012

WhatIfSports.com utilized its NCAA basketball simulation engine to present conference tournament previews and predictions for the Big East, Big Ten and Pac-12. We simulated each matchup 501 times to learn each team's win percentage and average score. Simulations are based on updated rosters and the statistical makeup of each team during the 2011-12 season.

2012 Big Ten Tournament Bracket HD Ad
<a href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=e673e451-e3ff-4a20-b25e-ba915a30d701&src=v5:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='WhatIfSports.com: Big Ten Championship' >Video: WhatIfSports.com: Big Ten Championship</a>

Thad Matta ordered a Big Buford with "onnnnions" and his sole senior delivered.

After trailing by as many as 15 in the first half, Ohio State and Michigan State came out swinging in a second-half slugfest. With both Draymond Green and Jared Sullinger in foul trouble, Sparty and the Bucks had to get creative on offense. Buford's off-balanced jumper from the top of the key was the dagger with one second remaining on the clock.

To add a dash of irony to Sunday's showdown, the Michigan Wolverines were rooting against their little brother and rooting for the team in Ohio to pull off the upset on the road. With the Buckeyes' win, the Wolverines, OSU and MSU all share the Big Ten regular season title.

The Maize and Blue return to the national basketball picture led by Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.5 ppg.) as the second-generation NBA talent lifted his game to lead Michigan.

Wisconsin enters the Big Ten Tournament as a No. 4 seed with an unusually weak resume. They rank 267th in points per game, 194th in rebounds, 271st in assists per game and 233rd in field goal percentage nationally.

In four seasons, Tom Crean has yanked Indiana out of the state's version of basketball hell. The Hoosiers finished 3-15 in conference play last season, but won seven out of their last eight games, including a big win over Michigan State, to finish 11-7 in Big Ten play this season.

At 18-12 overall and 8-10 in the conference, Northwestern could use a few Big Ten wins this week to strengthen its NCAA tournament resume.

Big Ten Opening Round
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Illinois Fighting Illini39.368
vs Iowa Hawkeyes60.671
Penn State Nittany Lions16.061
vs Indiana Hoosiers84.072
Minnesota Golden Gophers52.765
vs Northwestern Wildcats47.364
Nebraska Cornhuskers34.561
vs Purdue Boilermakers65.567

WhatIfSports.com's college basketball simulation engine must not be feeling the peeps in purple. Northwestern got knocked out by Minnesota in the first round. The closely contested matchup gave the edge to Tubby and company by an average margin of victory of one point. The Wildcats and Gophers split the season series with both teams winning at home.

The rest of the Big Ten tournament's opening round was as expected with chalk across the board.

Big Ten Quarterfinals
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Iowa Hawkeyes27.366
vs Michigan State Spartans72.772
Indiana Hoosiers60.768
vs Wisconsin Badgers39.365
Minnesota Golden Gophers49.363
vs Michigan Wolverines50.764
Purdue Boilermakers26.768
vs Ohio State Buckeyes73.374

Check out our Cinderella Madness tournament

Despite losing starting guard Branden Dawson for the season with a torn ACL, Sparty took care of Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Dawson, a true freshman, averaged over eight points per game for Tom Izzo this season.

With those ugly national stats in mind, and knowing our college basketball simulation engine is driven by the statistical makeup of each team, Wisconsin got bounced by Indiana in over 60 percent of the sims by an average score of 68-65.

Big Ten Semifinals
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Indiana Hoosiers45.169
vs Michigan State Spartans54.970
Ohio State Buckeyes69.772
vs Michigan Wolverines30.367

The Hoosiers shocked the red-hot Spartans the final week of the regular season in Bloomington, but even without one of their starters, Michigan State got their revenge in the semifinals.

Speaking of revenge, Ohio State crushed their rival nearly 70 percent of the time. This after the Wolverines stunned the Bucks in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago.

Big Ten Championship Game
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Ohio State Buckeyes41.369
vs Michigan State Spartans58.771

Michigan State came into Columbus' Schottenstein Center on February 11 and snapped Ohio State's 39-game home winning streak. Three weeks later, the Buckeyes traveled to the Breslin Center and, in the first half, played like a team more deserving of a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament than a top contender.

In the world of college basketball simulation engines, those stats don't lie and it will exploit your weaknesses. Thus, Michigan State wins the rubber match in the 501 Big Ten Championship simulations nearly 60 percent of the time by an average score of 71-69.

Check out our 2012 Big East Tournament Predictions

Check out our 2012 Pac-12 Tournament Predictions

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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