If you ask KenPom, the best conference in college basketball this season is the Big Ten, which currently has three of the top six teams in the NET Rankings. Those are the Michigan Wolverines, Illinois Fighting Illini, and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Each of these teams has a real shot of winning the Big Ten tournament, though their chances to make the 2021 March Madness tournament are not contingent on the results of their runs in this conference tourney. So, which program will come out on top in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament? NitroBetting takes a look at the current outlook of the tourney, along with the latest College Basketball odds from our online Bitcoin sportsbook.
When is the 2021 Big Ten Tournament?
The first round of the tourney will be on March 10. The second round will be on March 11 then the quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for March 12 and 13, respectively. The 2021 Big Ten Tournament title game will be on March 14.
READ MORE: 2021 ACC Tournament NCAAB Betting Preview
Where Will the 2021 Big Ten Tournament Be Held?
All games in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Which Teams Are the Favorites to Win the 2021 Big Ten Tournament?
- 2021 Big Ten Tournament Odds: +230
Juwan Howard’s Wolverines are without a doubt a legitimate contender for the 2021 Big Ten Tournament title after Michigan topped the regular season with a 14-2 conference record. The Wolverines are hard to beat because they are so good on either side of the court.
Michigan features an offense and defense that are both inside the top 10 nationally, per KenPom, plus the Wolverines are being led by a 7-footer in Hunter Dickinson, who’s been simply sensational in just his first year in Ann Arbor.
- 2021 Big Ten Tournament Odds: +650
The Hawkeyes arent’ a perfect team, but when they get it going on offense, they can look like the best team in the nation. Iowa begins and ends with Luka Garza, arguably the No. 1 player in college basketball right now, but the Hawkeyes’ success also feeds off their great ball movement.
The Hawkeyes are No. 1 in Division I basketball with 19.3 assists per game and sixth with 0.650 assists per field goals made. On top of that, Iowa is shooting close to 40% from deep. Crisp passing, an efficient offense, and a reliable go-to scorer all make the Hawkeyes a team to watch in the Big Ten tourney.
Illinois Fighting Illini
- 2021 Big Ten Tournament Odds: +450
One common denominator for Michigan and Iowa? Both teams suffered losses to Ayo Dosunmo and the Fighting Illini. Illinois arguably has the best 1-2 punch in the nation in the tandem of Dosunmo and Kofi Cockburn. When Illinois went to Ann Arbor and took the heart right out of the Wolverines’ chest in a 76-53 win, it summed up the Fighting Illini’s status as among the top teams to beat not just in the Big Ten Tournament but in March Madness 2021, too.
Which Sleeper Team Can Shock the Field in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament?
Michigan State Spartans
- 2021 Big Ten Tournament Odds: +3000
As of this writing, Michigan State is 74th in the NET rankings despite having eight total Quadrant 1 and 2 wins. In other words, the Spartans are desperate for more quality wins to convince the selection committee that they deserve an invite to the Big Dance…or they can just go on a title run in the Big Ten Tournament and get themselves an auto-bid ticket.
That’s going to be easier said than done, but this is also a team that beat Illinois, Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Indiana Hoosiers in the latter part of its Big Ten schedule. The Spartans can get hot at just the right time and win their second Big Ten title in three years.
Who Are the Players to Watch Out For in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament?
Luka Garza (Iowa)
The Hawkeyes will go as far as where Garza takes them. The senior big man is a walking bucket who is currently averaging 23.9 points on 55.4 FG%, while shooting at a career-high clip of 45% from behind the arc.
He may not be a first-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, but Garza should continue to dominate on offense for the Hawkeyes, whose excellent outside shooting would put opposing teams in an endless quandary of deciding whether to double Garza down low or let the big man eat whatever he wants in the paint.
Ayo Dosunmo (Illinois)
Illinois didn’t need Dosunmo to upset Michigan in Ann Arbor, but that doesn’t change the idea that he is a key player for the Fighting Illini. Together with Cockburn, Dosunmo carries a heavy workload for the high-scoring Illinois team. Dosunmo is averaging 21.0 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game, and even has two triple-doubles, heading into his team’s last game of the regular season against Ohio State.
2021 Big Ten Tournament Expert Betting Prediction
By and large, Michigan has shown it is the No. 1 team in the Big Ten. There’s nothing bold about saying the Wolverines will the tournament champions, but they just lost to an Illinois team that didn’t have Ayo Dosunmo. If these two teams cross each other’s paths again in the Big Ten Tournament, with both sides 100% healthy, it might very well be a toss-up. Wisconsin can also be a sneakily play, especially if the big dogs fall early.
*All stated odds are subject to change without prior notice.