Big Ten buzz
Are the fifth-seeded Gophers too high? The Badgers — gasp, an eight seed?! — too low? There is plenty of room for debate around and in between the seven bids awarded to Big Ten teams on Sunday. Here’s a look at the draws and the Big Ten buzz:
Seed: No. 4, Midwest
First round: (13) Vermont, 7:27 p.m. Thursday
The hottest team in the nation will attempt to oust the Big Ten regular-season champion. Vermont owns the nation’s best winning streak: 21 games.
Seed: No. 5, South
First round: (12) Middle Tennessee State, 3 p.m. Thursday
If the Gophers survive Middle Tennessee and get past Butler or Winthrop to the Sweet 16, their rewards: North Carolina (probably), and then either UCLA or Kentucky (probably). Uff-da.
Seed: No. 6, West
First round: (11) Xavier, 5:50 p.m. Thursday
The Terrapins, who were 11-3 on the road this season but lost a virtual home game in the Big Ten tournament to Northwestern, go against Lakeville North sharpshooter J.P. Macura and the X-Men.
Seed: No. 7, Midwest
First round: (10) Oklahoma State, 11:15 a.m. Friday
Should the Big Ten tournament champs get past the Cowboys in the first round, No. 2 Louisville awaits in a potential rematch of the 2013 title game. That’s must-see TV.
Seed: No. 8, Midwest
First round: (9) Virginia Tech, 8:40 p.m. Thursday
You could hear the wailing from Hudson and points east when the Selection Show announced: “Eight seed, Wisconsin.” Badgers fans haven’t stopped talking about the draw, a notch or three worse than predicted. An athletic Virginia Tech team is first, and the top overall team, No. 1 Villanova, would likely be next.
Seed: No. 8, West
First round: (9) Vanderbilt, 3:30 p.m. Thursday
Maybe you’ve heard? The first tournament ever for Northwestern, one of five original Division I programs that had yet to make the Big Dance. The media loves this story, mostly because we all graduated from Northwestern.
Seed: No. 9, Midwest
First round: vs. (8) Miami (Fla.), 8:20 p.m. Friday
How weird is it to see Tom Izzo’s team at the bottom of this list? But you know what they say: Don’t bet against Izzo in March. (Except last March, right Middle Tennessee fans?)