Where will IU be seeded in Big Ten Tourney?

Barring major upsets this weekend, Indiana will be the No. 8 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament and play at Noon Thursday on the Big Ten Network. But who would be IU's first opponent? Read on and look at the possibilities.

More than likely, Indiana will end up as the No. 8 seed for next week's Big Ten Tournament that begins Thursday, March 13 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

If that's the case, IU would meet the No. 9 seed on Thursday at Noon in a game that would be televised on the Big Ten Network. The winner of that game would face top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Noon.

Just who Indiana's likely opponent would be is still up in the air.

Here's a closer look at Big Ten Tournament seeding heading into the final few days of conference play in the Big Ten.

Currently, Indiana is tied with Minnesota for seventh place in the conference standings, both with 7-10 records. The Golden Gophers hold the tie-breaker against IU in any head-to-head tie based on their 66-60 victory over the Hoosiers on Feb. 8 in Minneapolis. This was the only time the two teams played this season.

Indiana closes at Big Ten champion Michigan Saturday at 6 p.m. The Gophers play a home game with Penn State to close the season. If IU were to beat Michigan and Minnesota was to lose at home to Penn State, then in that scenario IU could end up as the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. But that's the only scenario for that. If IU was the No. 7 seed it would face the No. 10 seed on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and the winner of that game would play the No. 2 on Friday at the same time.

There are still two other teams that could potentially get to seven wins in conference play. Illinois is 6-11 and closes the season at Iowa. Penn State is 5-11 and closes at Northwestern and at Minnesota. And Northwestern is 5-11 and finishes with Penn State at home and at Purdue.

It's only two teams that could get to seven wins though because not both Penn State and Northwestern are capable of winning their final two games because they meet.

If Indiana ends up in a tie with any of those teams, however, the Hoosiers own the tie-breaker. In all three of those cases, Indiana split the regular season meetings 1-1. The next tie-breaker is how the teams fared against the top team in the conference. Michigan has solidified that spot and IU is the only one of the teams in the lower division of the standings that beat Michigan this season. Michigan's three losses are to Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

So which team is the most likely to be in the No. 9 seed opposite Indiana?

Let's look at them all closely:

Illinois is already at six wins but winning at Iowa on the Hawkeyes' Senior Day is a tall order. I would expect the Illini to finish at 6-12.

Penn State has two road games to close conference so it could finish anywhere from 5-13 to 7-11. The same is true for Northwestern. And Purdue at 5-12 plays host to Northwestern in its season finale.

I could write another 10 paragraphs dissecting all of the tie-breaker possibilities but that will much easier when every team only has one game to play. So let's wait until the weekend on that.

Just know this: Barring major upsets, Indiana will be the No. 8 seed and could face either Illinois, Penn State, Northwestern and Purdue in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament next Thursday in Indianapolis.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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