The Big Ten Tournament kicks off Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with a pair of first-round matches featuring the bottom four seeds. Not until Friday will fans get to see the class of the Big Ten — Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue. The three programs dominated league competition in the regular season, and in the process made Big Ten history, according to Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart.
Never before has the Big Ten had a team finish 16-2 (MSU) in the conference along with two others (Purdue and Ohio St.) that went 15-3. In 2007-08, Wisconsin went 16-2, Purdue was 15-3 and IU was 14-4.
— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) February 26, 2018
Michigan State is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, while Ohio State and Purdue are slotted at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
The Spartans were ranked No. 1 in the nation for a period this season, having picked up wins over the likes of North Carolina and Connecticut. But it was against conference competition that the Spartans thrived, with their only losses coming to Ohio State and Michigan. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is eager to avenge both defeats, and the Spartans will have a prime opportunity to do so this week in New York.
Ohio State’s win over Michigan State on Jan. 7 catapulted the Buckeyes into the national conversation. That victory was toward the beginning of a seven-game winning streak for Ohio State, which ended with a loss to Penn State on Jan. 25. The Nittany Lions seemed to have the Buckeyes’ number this season, also beating them Feb. 15. Ohio State’s other conference loss was against Michigan on Feb. 18.
Purdue’s three losses came in early February, with the Boilermakers falling to Ohio State, , Michigan State and Wisconsin in consecutive games. The Boilermakers’ largest margin of defeat was four points, however, and the team was otherwise flawless in conference play.
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