How Important is Saturday's Game?

The last Big 10 Conference game of the season for the Northwestern Wildcats really does have some significance - given the standings and all the tie breakers, its possible that NU would move up to 9th if they beat Purdue and it would significantly shuffle the Big 10 standings. Confusing? Just like the rest of the Big 10 in 2006-07...

In the grand scheme of things...
It would be nice to send the Seniors out with a win, even if its on the road, and the Wildcats played Purdue fairly tough last time, winning might change the time of the game, but not the quality of NU's first tournament opponent.

Right now, the # 3 Seed is Illinois, and the #4 seed is Indiana, both with 9-6 conference records. The #5-#8 seeds are tied with 8-7 records. In order: So here's how the rest of the schedule looks:
  1. Michigan State is at Wisconsin [11:30 AM] - a tough place to play, much less win at. Its Wisconsin's Senior Day, which makes it that much tougher, although Wiscy is missing their big guy in the post. Can Izzo fire up the troops, or is this another Wiscy win at home. An MSU win puts them in 5th, a loss drops them down. This is the first meeting of the two teams but Wisconsin's Tucker probably puts on a show at home for the win.
  2. Iowa entertains Illinois [11:30 AM] - Illinois is playing well, but this is farewell day for Iowa's All Academic, All World guard Adam Haluska. When they met back in January, Illinois won it at home. Iowa can put themselves in contention, and shuffle the rankings if they win it - they'd be 9-7, tied with the Illini and the Hoosiers. Haluska gets hot in his last home game - Iowa wins and is owns the tiebreaker with llinois..
  3. Michigan at #1 Ohio State [4:00 PM CBS] - Ohio State's Senior day, but seriously, the Buckeye's Frosh will be the stars. Greg Oden is going for a season Double-Double, he needs a bunch of rebounds - but with a 9.5 average, the 10 rebound mark is withing reach. This would be the upset of the week, but expect Michigan to be 8-8, 21-11 by Saturday night. Ohio State is #1 - unless the Bucks are looking ahead, Amaker and the Wolves finish 8-8
  4. Purdue entertains Northwestern [1 PM Start] - tough game, but its Purdue's Senior Day and this would be a hard game to win. Purdue won in Evanston last weekend 75-68, however, if the Cats prevailed Purdue falls to 8-8. You have to pick Purdue in this one, but after the Iowa-Illinois game, this would be the upset of the weekend.
  5. Indiana hosts Penn State [7 PM] Indy is on a roll, but so it Penn State with their win last night over Iowa. But Lion fans don't get your hopes up, Indiana is almost unbeatable at home, and they know how important this game is. Regardless of what the rest of the teams do, they'd be in 3rd place. Wilmont continues his 3 point heroics? - Or does someone else step up - still Hoosiers win it and take 3rd.
If our picks above are right, here's how the standings could look:
1. Ohio State  [15-1, 27-3]
2. Wisconsin [12-3, 27-4] 
3. Indiana [10-6, 20-9]
4. Purdue [9-7, 20-10] *
5. Illinois [9-7, 22-9] **
6. Iowa [9-7,  17-13]
7. Michigan State [8-8, 21-10] +
8. Michigan [8-8, 20-11]
9. Minnesota [3-13, 9-21]
10. Northwestern [2-14, 13-17
11. Penn State [2-14, 11-18]

* Wins the tiebreaker over Illinois with 64-47 win on Jan 27th and they've got a win over Wisconsin.
** Illinois can jump to #4 if they win. They split with Indiana but lose the tiebreaker.
+ MSU beat Michigan 59-44.
Confused?

Of course moving up in the bracket would be a dubious honor - The Cats win Saturday and gain the #9 seed, they probably play Michigan, who beat them at home 58-46. Purdue wins, and the Cats probably face Michigan State - the Cats lost that one in Lansing 66-45. If they lose, they're in the #11 position due to PSU's win over Iowa.

Either way the road to the next round goes through a Michigan.

Now, NU wins the first game, they get to play Wisconsin and Alando Tucker again. The winner of game 1 gets to play Ohio State in the next round of the tournament.

Dubious honors to be sure.

If you want figure out all the possibilities yourself...

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