Quick now: Which is the biggest story?
@ The Big Ten being shut out of the top 16 NCAA seeds for the first time since 2004?
@ Northwestern playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time. Period?
It probably depends on whether you like your eggs sunny-side up.
What’s clear is that the Wildcats, with a huge win at Wisconsin on Sunday, have put themselves squarely in position to be the toast of the Big Dance.
It’s equally clear that Big Ten will need to ham-and-egg it to sneak a team or two into top-four seeds by Selection Sunday. League-leading Wisconsin is not out of that hunt. But the Badgers’ loss makes Purdue the best bet.
“It lets us know [we’re] a 5 seed and need to win to improve our position,” said Purdue coach Matt Painter, adding that he already knew they needed to win games.
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard also downplayed the top-four snub in the inaugural early look given by the Selection Committee, saying so much can change in the next month.
So much already has changed. Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State and Indiana all were top-four seeds in Joe Lunardi’s pre-season bracket.
But Michigan State has been done in by injuries and another ridiculously ambitious early schedule. Indiana handled its early challenges well, knocking off Kansas and North Carolina. But injuries and some head-scratching losses have put the Hoosiers in a very strange position. . .
Has there ever been a team that beat the two teams that played for the national championship but failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth? The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.