March 1, 2011

Lady Lions earn a No. 2 seed and 1st round bye for Big Ten Tournament

Penn State just wrapped up a very nice 22-8 regular season--with a team which returns nearly intact for next season--but the work is far from over. And in fact, the toughest part of the season, or at least the most high-pressure stage, is still on deck.

The Lady Lions took advantage of a down year in the Big Ten to grab the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, which starts this Thursday.

In any other year, probably a No. 2 seed would be a relief. But if you take a look at which team Penn State is likely to face in its first game, there is no rest for the weary Lady Lions. Purdue swept Penn State this season, the only team to do that in a two-game series (Michigan State and Penn State only played once) in 2011. Indiana is very unlikely to pull the upset, so Penn State should count on having one final try to dispatch the Boilermakers, a game which also happens to be in their home state of Indiana.

Beyond that, Wisconsin will likely advance over Illinois, setting up what should be one of the most intriguing games in the second round against Michigan. The Wolverines haven't been impressive, but beat all the right teams to get that first round bye. Wisconsin has used a very strong middle portion of the season to scare almost any team it faces. Ideally here, Penn State would like Michigan to advance past the Badgers.

There is no point in projecting the final, but I will say I like the Spartans to take the title over either Penn State or Purdue. I'm probably wrong. The bracket:

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  1. Is that pinwheel looking thing really the logo they are using? Did they use the same marketing firm that gave us "Leaders" and "Legends"? What's with the use of light pastels in the new Big Ten? Is this my last question?

  2. It's art-sy in a non offensive kind of way. That's how the BIG 1G rolls.