Three of the seven Big Ten teams get underway today in the first full day of the NCAA Tournament. The Penn State Nittany Lions, Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan State Spartans all have a tough game ahead of them today, even Wisconsin who is playing No. 13 seed Belmont.
Penn State is up first in a tough match up against the Temple Owls, tipping at 1:10 central on TNT. This is the first trip to the Big Dance for PSU in a decade, and will be the first opportunity for Big Ten star Talor Battle to take his game to the national stage. Temple is not a great draw for Penn State though, as the Owls have dropped them in the last six meetings between the two. Nonetheless, the fans will hope that Talor Battle and Tim Frazier can be enough to take Penn State to a very long awaited NCAA win.
Wisconsin must try and find itself again after a terrible 36-33 loss to the aforementioned Nittany Lions. In play once for a No.2 seed, the Badgers slipped to No.4 and now must face the Belmont Bruins, who have become a trendy upset pick. Wisconsin enters the dance on a two game losing streak, and with a key contributor Mike Bruesewitz, questionable with an injury. Nonetheless, the team will go as far as their leaders Jordan Talor and Jon Leuer will take them. The two are likely headed to the NBA after this season, and probably don't want their legacy to be an opening game upset.
The Michigan State Spartans fought their way into this tournament by beating Iowa and Purdue in Indianapolis, but couldn't close the deal against Penn State. This team is loaded with experience and the Spartans are coming off of two straight trips to the Final Four, so they are not to be underestimated. Their opening round opponent, UCLA has had an up and down year, but players like Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson will make them a difficult out. Nonetheless, Tom Izzo has a long history of March magic, and it may be enough to get Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, and Draymond Green all on top of their game at once, and once again make a deep tournament run.