March Madness Contenders to Watch – Big Ten – Maryland

Big Ten Brings Quality Candidates and Depth to March Madness!

Although some fans are tired of hearing it and perhaps even acquiring “Big Ten Fatigue” the fact remains that The B1G is the best and deepest college basketball conference in the land. From top to bottom no other league offers more entertaining games and quality programs than the Big Ten.

As March Madness beckons the question now emerges as to which B1G teams are contenders, pretenders, and sleepers. Normally there are only a select few teams that are legitimate Final Four contenders from any conference but in the Big Ten there are several bona fide threats to consider.

Let’s examine the riches of the B1G for March Madness!

Big Ten Teams for 2020 National Championship Odds at DraftKings:

  • Maryland Terrapins 16/1
  • Michigan State Spartans 20/1
  • Penn State Nittany Lions 40/1
  • Michigan Wolverines 40/1
  • Ohio State Buckeyes 40/1
  • Iowa Hawkeyes 60/1
  • Ilinois Fighting Illini 80/1
  • Wisconsin Badgers 100/1
  • More
Odds provided by DraftKings (IN, NJ PA & WV only)
T&C's Apply, 21+

Big Ten Contenders to Watch

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS) - Records as of 2.27.20

#9 Maryland Terrapins (23-5 SU, 13-13-2 ATS)

The Terrapins are en route to their first ever Big Ten regular season title and it’s no accident as head coach Mark Turgeon has built one of college basketball’s elite defensive teams. The Terps are also in good form with a 10-1 straight up record in their last 11 games. Senior Guard Anthony Cowan Jr leads with 16.2 points per game while sophomore forward Jalen Smith powers to 15.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per outing.

#24 Michigan State Spartans (19-9 SU, 12-16 ATS)

What was supposed to be a dream season has bordered on a nightmare campaign ever since the death of senior guard Cassius Winston’s brother Zachary last November. Sparty made the Final Four one year ago and Winston’s return after winning 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year honors made them preseason chalk. But coach Tom Izzo’s team has been plagued by inconsistency all season. Winston himself has stayed strong, all things considered, with a team high 18.4 points and 5.8 assists per game. But since January 12 MSU is just 6-6 straight up.

#16 Penn State Nittany Lions (21-7 SU, 16-11-1 ATS)

It’s been a dream basketball season for this football factory. Coach Pat Chambers has defied gravity in leading the Nits to their best season and first national ranking since 1996. Chambers has built a strong offensive team led by senior forward Lamar Stevens and his 17.6 points with 6.8 rebounds per game. But can normally bottom feeding Penn State survive such rarified air?

#19 Michigan Wolverines (18-9 SU, 15-11-1 ATS)

It has been a strong rookie season for head coach Juwan Howard, the former Fab Five star with the Maize and Blue. Howard showed that he had the fortitude to lead the Wolverines through a rough patch in which they went 4-8 from December 3 through January 25. However, Michigan is a very public team that may not offer the best wagering value, as well as a seventh-place team in the B1G that lacks a dominant player who can take over games and carry them to glory.

#23 Ohio State Buckeyes (18-9 SU, 16-11 ATS)

Coach Chris Holtman has developed an elite defense that ranks among the nation’s best. But the offense is inconsistent and may prove to be a drag. The Buckeyes reached as high as second in the national rankings before a bad swoon of 1-6 straight up from December 29 through January 23. However, a December 21 win over then #6 Kentucky is indicative of their ability. And the Bucks are closing strong with six straight up wins in their last eight games. Junior forward Kaleb Wesson leads with 14.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per outing.

Big Ten Long Shots and Sleepers

#18 Iowa Hawkeyes (19-9 SU, 17-8-3 ATS)

As usual coach Fran McCaffery brings a productive offensive team to the hardwood. In fact, the Hawkeyes are in the elite class on that end of the court. But a defense ranked 263rd in the land could prove to be the bracket buster. Junior center Luka Garza is a bona fide National Player of the Year candidate with 23.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Garza is the dominant type of player that can take over games and carry a team on a deep run.

Illinois Fighting Illini (18-9 SU, 13-12-1 ATS)

This could be the ultimate sleeper value of the bunch. Coach Brad Underwood finally has his kind of guys after a rough first two seasons at Champaign. The Illini have been ranked as high as 19th in the nation this season and play strong defense. A 10-6 straight up conference record shows the ability of Illinois. Sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu is symbolic of the program’s bright future with a team best 16.2 points and 3.2 assists per game.

March Madness Prediction
Which Big Ten Team will go the furthest this March?

The Maryland Terrapins have to rate as the best program from the Big Ten that can go the furthest in the NCAA Tournament. They are the most complete team and the leader of the nation’s best conference. Further, Cowan Jr and Smith are impact players that make for a truly dynamic duo.

Big Ten Best Bet: Maryland Terrapins 16/1