1Third time charm?
Can the Gophers beat Wisconsin three times in a single season? That’s often a tough thing to do, as last year’s Gophers can attest. Minnesota defeated Ohio State twice during the regular season in 2012-13, then lost to the Buckeyes in the first round of the conference tourney. Minnesota beat Wisconsin twice during this year’s regular season, both times by double digits.
2Watch out for Purdue
The Boilermakers have the best winning percentage in tournament history (37-10), have the most titles (nine, including the last two), and are hot. Purdue has won six games in a row — their 16-point win over Nebraska Sunday denied the Huskers of a share of the regular season conference title. Purdue surged to the fourth seed in the process.
3Underdogs need not apply
At least that’s what history tells us. In the previous 19 tournaments, no seed lower than No. 5 has won the conference tournament. Here are titles by seed: No. 1 — five; No. 2 — five; No. 3 — four; No. 4 — two; No. 5 — three (Purdue in 1998, Indiana in 2002, Ohio State in 2011). Seeds below five have made four appearances in the final, losing each time.
Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska Purdue and Iowa are all locks to make the NCAA tournament. With most experts agreeing the conference could send six teams, that means the rest of the NCAA contenders will need to do some work. Those on the bubble? The Gophers, Michigan and Indiana.
5How loaded is Penn State?
This senior-laden team has Maggie Lucas, who just won her second conference player of the year award; defensive player of the year Dara Taylor and Ariel Edwards, who joined Lucas as a first-team all-conference player. The Lions have a shot at a No. 2 NCAA seed if they can win the tournament.