Michigan State enters the Big Ten conference tournament as a +250 favorite but Purdue is breathing right down the necks of Tom Izzo and company with the Boilermakers being listed at +275.
It should not be a surprise to anyone who has watched the Big Ten this season with Michigan State and Purdue proving themselves to be among the best teams in the country. Both sport dominant frontcourt players and extremely underrated backcourts that can easily take over games.
It is also worth noting that Michigan State edged out Purdue in their one meeting during the regular season thanks to a game-winning three in the final seconds from Miles Bridges. Bridges, who is arguably the Big Ten player of the year, proved to be a big problem for Purdue thanks to his athleticism in that contest.
Aside from Michigan State and Purdue, both Ohio State (+600) and Nebraska (+1000) also have byes to the quarterfinals on Friday.
If one team is to topple Michigan State or Purdue, most would assume it is Ohio State. The Buckeyes may feature the best offensive starting five in the Big Ten – headlined by breakout star Keita Bates-Diop – but their lack of depth is a big reason for their odds lagging so far behind the top two. In order to win the tourney, Ohio State would need to win three games in three days – something that should concern Buckeyes fans.
Nebraska finds itself underrated despite entering the tourney with a bye until Friday. The Cornhuskers go into the tournament red-hot, winning eight of their past nine. Though people will point out that the competition wasn’t the best, you can’t deny that Nebraska played stiffer competition well this season – specifically a one-point loss to Kansas and a five-point loss to Ohio State.