2008 Big Ten Conference Championship Preview
The Big Ten has plenty of teams to put together what should be an outstanding tournament heading into the big dance. Wisconsin made sure they were not going to share the title when they won the championship outright. With the championship on deck what are the teams to be favored to win it all and what teams may be the dark horses that surprise and make a run at the title and the big dance. The tournament will be held this year at Canseco Field house in Indiana. The winner of the tournament will get the automatic bid to the big dance and all eleven teams will be in this great tournament.
Favorites: It’s hard to pick a favorite in the Big Ten when you consider the top four seeds in the tournament have a realistic shot at winning everything. Wisconsin won the Big ten title outright and has the tools to win it all, while Purdue has snuck up on everyone and swallowed a #2 seed going into the tournament. The three seed is filled by Indiana and they have Eric Gordon and basically a home field advantage, while Michigan St has the experience and coaching to win everything. While there is no clear cut favorite the one thing for sure is that there will be some good basketball in this years tournament.
Dark Horses: As much as the tournament is chock full of favorites in this tournament this year there are little to no solid dark horses that can make noise in this tournament. Outside of winning the first game it would seem teams like Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, are all one and done if not for the fact that they run into each other. Ohio St showed they could beat Michigan St but that was at home and on a neutral court that will be tougher and even if they do win they would have Wisconsin on deck and that is a losing proposition.
Don’t bet on it: Anyone below a #5 ranking in the Big Ten tournament. They have some decent clubs in this tournament and there is no doubts that there could be surprises in this one but don’t look for it here in the Big Ten. If any team surprises early they will not go deep in this tournament and in turn, are not worth your money in a future bet. If you do think a late seed will run deep take them game by game and look for them to make you money per each game instead of in the long run.
The winner is: Purdue. The value is right here and if you look at the record of the Boilermakers they have an impressive resume and have yet to get the respect that they deserve yet. They enter the tournament with a chip on their shoulder and the bracket falls right for them. Besides a possible draw against the Hoosiers in a “home game” they will have an easy path to the championship so its not a bad bet at all and unless barring an upset they have a solid shot at winning this title.