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The 26th Big Ten Tournament will be as competitive as always, as the team that wins the Big Ten regular season is far from guaranteed to win the Big Ten Tournament, too. Like the rest of the conference tournaments, the winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in March. Check out the Big Ten Tournament betting odds and favorites below to see which teams have the best chance of winning!
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The Purdue Boilermakers are an obvious favorite to win the 2023 Big Ten Tournament after annihilating their non-conference opponents. The list of wins they had in non-conference play is impressive: Marquette, Duke, Gonzaga, and West Virginia all fell victim to the Boilermakers.
Purdue is led by its Wooden Award-favorite center Zach Edey. Edey stands 7-foot-4 inches and has completely imposed his will in the paint this season. Edey averages a double-double and blocks multiple shots per game; he is the engine of this team.
The Boilermakers’ offense is efficient and one of the best in the nation. They feed Zach Edey in the paint, and he either makes a post move, which often results in a score or passes it out to the perimeter or to a cutter, after an almost inevitable double team.
What’s interesting about the Boilermakers is the fact that they start two freshmen guards, neither of whom were heavily recruited out of high school. As a matter of fact, neither guard was ranked in the top 50 or the top 75. Fletcher Loyer was 91st on ESPN, while Braden Smith did not make the list.
Purdue’s three-point shooting, much like Indiana, is the major catalyst in determining how far it goes in not only the 2023 Big Ten Tournament but also the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State has been quite the surprise this season. The Spartans were not ranked in the Top 25 to begin the season but have put together a fairly impressive NCAA Tournament resume already. Head coach Tom Izzo has led this team to victories over Kentucky, Villanova, Oregon, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Even the Spartans’ losses are mostly reasonable: Gonzaga, Alabama, and on the road against Illinois.
Seniors Tyson Walker, Malik Hall, and Joey Hauser pace the way for this Michigan State team, providing valuable scoring and experience in tight and competitive games. A.J. Hoggard, Jaden Akins, and Mady Sissoko also play key roles in the Spartans’ game plan. Michigan State, like many other teams in the Big Ten, will ultimately have to prove that its offense can keep up and improve, as it ranks outside the top 50 in many key statistical categories.
The Spartans are scary, not because they have incredible individual talent, but because they have proven they can beat, or at least compete with, the best teams in the nation. Tom Izzo always has his teams primed for basketball in March, so you could get a good value on this team.
The Scarlet Knights have been shockingly good in the 2022-23 season, especially on the defensive end of the floor, where they have ranked as high as first overall in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. Few teams carry the intensity that Rutgers has, and it all starts with head coach Steve Pikiell. Pikiell has turned this program into a legitimate threat; they have had winning seasons in each of the past three years.
Rutgers is led by Cam Spencer, a 6-foot-4 sharpshooting senior, who has been outrageously efficient from deep and the charity stripe. Spencer is joined by double-double machine Clifford Omoruyi, scrappy two-way forward Aundre Hyatt, and senior guards Caleb McConnell and Paul Mulcahy.
McConnell, Mulcahy, and Hyatt are all 6-foot-6 or taller, giving opposing backcourts significant issues with their size, length, speed, and toughness. Rutgers is a legitimate Big Ten Tournament contender if it can ever get its offense to come around. Too often, the Scarlet Knights rely solely on their defense to win games, which has resulted in a lot of success, but also a few narrow losses that they should have won.
Defensive intensity has been an Achilles heel for the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that has enough offensive firepower to compete with anyone but lacks the defense to beat the best teams. This has been made apparent time and time again. The Buckeyes have suffered single-digit losses at home versus Purdue (two-point loss) and Minnesota (three-point loss), and on the road against Rutgers (four-point loss), Maryland (seven-point loss), North Carolina (five-pont loss), and Duke (nine-point loss.)
Ohio State is also a team that does not quite know “how to win” consistently yet; a four-game losing streak in early January has emphasized this point. Still, the Buckeyes’ offense is undeniable, as they have ranked in the top five in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency for a large portion of the season. They have shot it in the upper 30% range from behind the arc, too.
Freshman sensation, and likely lottery pick, Brice Sensabaugh has been the brightest light for the Buckeyes this season; he’s shooting extremely well from inside and outside the arc, and his combination of strength and light-footedness allows him to get wherever he wants to on the floor. Sensabaugh is joined by Justice Sueing, Zed Key, Bruce Thronton, and Sean McNeil as double-digit scorers for this Ohio State team. The Buckeyes are quite deep, with nine players averaging at least 12 minutes per game.
Betting on Ohio State means betting on its coaching (head coach Chris Holtmann and his staff), significant improvements on defense, and increased poise at the end of games. There could be some value with the Buckeyes, especially if they play their best ball in March.
Indiana has been plagued this season by slow starts, including in its 22-point loss to the Kansas Jayhawks on the road. The Hoosiers rely heavily on their paint production and defense to win games; if either of those aspects of the game is not going well, they struggle to win. We have seen that time and time again this season.
The Hoosiers are led by All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis, a senior with excellent rim protection and post skills. Unfortunately, Jackson-Davis has missed a few games this season due to a lingering back injury that has kept him from executing high-flying dunks and swatting opponents’ shots into the crowd.
Two other key players, and seniors, have also missed significant time for the Hoosiers: Race Thompson and Xavier Johnson. Johnson suffered a foot/ankle injury against Kansas that required surgery, while Thompson sprained his MCL when they took on Iowa. Their presence and return to prior form will dictate whether Indiana could be a value bet heading into the tournament or not.
Other key players are five-star freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau, as well as Miller Kopp, Tamar Bates, and Trey Galloway. The Hoosiers certainly have depth at most positions, but guard play has been an issue at times, highlighted by stagnant offense and turnovers.
Indiana will go as far as TJD carries it, especially if defensive consistency does not improve. At times, the Hoosiers appear to be a Final Four-caliber team, but those times are quickly forgotten when they go on scoring droughts and allow easy baskets on the other end of the floor.
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The 2023 Big Ten Tournament takes place between the 8th and 12th of March. Multiple games will be played every day until the winner is determined on Sunday. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee chooses the March Madness field just hours after the end of the Big Ten Championship Game.
The United Center in Chicago, which is home to the Chicago Bulls, will be the location for the 2023 Big Ten Tournament.
You can find the first ten games of the tournament, which will cover all of the games up until the semifinals, on the Big Ten Network. The semifinals and championship games will be aired on CBS, which has been the case every single year. If your preference is to stream through your smartphone, the Fox Sports App will allow you to watch the Big Ten Network, while Paramount + will let you watch CBS.
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