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Predicting the Outcome of the 2014 Big Ten Basketball Tournament

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Predicting the Outcome of the 2014 Big Ten Tourney

John Beilein
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten Tournament is just days away and it's time to break down this year's conference bracket. With the top four seeds receiving a bye, there are not too many scenarios in which upsets are possible.

However, if this year's regular season is any indication of what will happen in the postseason, March Madness will be extra crazy in 2014. Let's break down the Big Ten Tournament bracket and predict each game.

First Round: No. 8 Indiana vs No. 9 Illinois

Indiana vs Illinois
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

First Round: No. 8 Indiana vs No. 9 Illinois

Indiana vs Illinois
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana and Illinois will be a solid matchup, but the Hoosiers have far too many pieces for the Illini to handle. Indiana is on a mission to make the NCAA Tournament -- even if it is improbable -- and this is step one.

Prediction: Indiana 76, Illinois 68

First Round: No. 5 Ohio State vs No. 12 Purdue

Ohio State vs Purdue
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

First Round: No. 5 Ohio State vs No. 12 Purdue

Ohio State vs Purdue
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State started the season off so strongly that it probably never thought that it would miss out on a first-round bye in the conference tournament. That alone will made the Buckeyes angry enough to prove a point against the free-falling Boilermakers. That, and Craft's devastating defense (Dan Dakich would agree).

Prediction: Ohio State 68, Purdue 54

First Round: No. 7 Minnesota vs No. 10 Penn State

Penn State vs Minnesota
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

First Round: No. 7 Minnesota vs No. 10 Penn State

Penn State vs Minnesota
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State has not had the ideal season, but it will try to win the tournament for senior Tim Frazier who has battled through adversity his entire career. However, Minnesota is too talented and too hungry for an NCAA Tournament berth to let that happen.

Prediction: Minnesota 81, Penn State 69

First Round: No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern

Iowa vs Northwestern
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

First Round: No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern

Iowa vs Northwestern
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa has been reeling lately and there seems to be no stoppage of bleeding in sight. Well, that was until it found out lowly Northwestern would be its first round matchup. Roy Devyn Marble and crew will have no problem letting out their anger on the hapless Wildcats.

Prediction: Iowa 84, Northwestern 64

Second Round: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 8 Indiana

Indiana vs Michigan
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Second Round: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 8 Indiana

Indiana vs Michigan
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If there was a matchup between a one-seed and an eight-seed in a conference tournament that would have the most intrigue, it's this one. Indiana gave the Wolverines a scare at home in the season finale, but Michigan won't let a 'scare' happen again. Michigan is on a mission to bring home the regular season and conference tourney crowns.

Prediction: Michigan 73, Indiana 61

Second Round: No. 4 Nebraska vs No. 5 Ohio State

Ohio State vs Nebraska
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Second Round: No. 4 Nebraska vs No. 5 Ohio State

Ohio State vs Nebraska
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State has been disappointing in the second half of the season. That theme will replay itself in the second half of this game as the Buckeyes will crumble and fall to the red-hot Cornhuskers thanks to a barrage of Terran Petteway three-pointers.

Prediction: Nebraska 64, Ohio State 61

Second Round: No. 2 Wisconsin vs No. 7 Minnesota

Minnesota vs Wisconsin
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Second Round: No. 2 Wisconsin vs No. 7 Minnesota

Minnesota vs Wisconsin
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

This is my upset special of the entire tournament. Wisconsin had been on a roll in the final month, or so, of the season, but the postseason is much different. I don't think the Badgers will be prepared enough for such a sneaky-good Minnesota team that gave them trouble during the regular season, splitting the season series.

Prediction: Wisconsin 67, Minnesota 71

Second Round: No. 3 Michigan State vs No. 6 Iowa

Michigan State vs Iowa
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Second Round: No. 3 Michigan State vs No. 6 Iowa

Michigan State vs Iowa
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State has to face the tough task of beating Iowa three times in a season. Tom Izzo will have his Spartans ready after five days of preparation to take down a team that he has seemingly had his way with recently. Branden Dawson will be the X-factor in this matchup.

Prediction: Michigan State 68, Iowa 66

Semifinals: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 4 Nebraska

Michigan vs Nebraska
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Semifinals: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 4 Nebraska

Michigan vs Nebraska
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan faces off against the toughest foe it has faced in the tournament thus far. Nebraska will give the Wolverines a run for their money, but Michigan will just refuse to slip up and go down before making it to the conference tournament finals.

Prediction: Michigan 69, Nebraska 66

Semifinals: No. 3 Michigan State vs No. 7 Minnesota

Michigan State vs Minnesota
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Semifinals: No. 3 Michigan State vs No. 7 Minnesota

Michigan State vs Minnesota
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State will face the upset-minded Gophers in a tough semifinals matchup that will go down to the wire and end up coming down to free throws. Keith Appling will have his best game in over a month and the Spartans will sneak one out against the tournament-bound Golden Gophers.

Prediction: Michigan State 72, Minnesota 67

Finals: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 3 Michigan State

Michigan vs Michigan State
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Finals: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 3 Michigan State

Michigan vs Michigan State
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If the first two games between these two this season were any indication of how this finals matchup will go, Big Ten fans will be in for a great one. Michigan has had the upper hand in the first two matchups, but now that Michigan State is at full-strength and finally hitting its stride, they will finally take down the in-state foes for the first time in 2014 in an instant classic.

Prediction: Michigan 63, Michigan State 66

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.