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Big 10 Totals in the Tourney

   by ASA - 03/18/2009


From top to bottom, every Big Ten team pounds on the opposition in putting a strong emphasis on defense. This style of play often leads to low-scoring games, which leads to a lot of ‘under’ totals. The NCAA Tournament is no different. Big Ten programs have historically favored the ‘under’ in the Big Dance, going 32-22 in the first round.

Of the seven Big Ten teams locked into the field this year, three are in the top 12 in the nation in scoring defense with Illinois 2nd, Wisconsin 11th and Purdue 12th. Overall all seven Big Ten teams in the Dance rank 61st or better out of 340+ D1 schools. A quick overview of all the teams show the Illini allow just 56.6 points per game, the Badgers give up just 59 ppg, the Boilermakers allow 59.1 ppg, Minnesota is next at 61.5 ppg, Ohio State at 61.6 ppg, Michigan State allows 62.9 ppg and finally Michigan gives up 63.3 ppg.

The seven Big Ten teams in the tourney combined to go

109-83-2 On the ‘unders’ this season. Illinois and Michigan State led the way with a combined 35-22 ‘under’ record.

Another key reason the games involving Big Ten teams tends to stay ‘under’ is their pace of play. Less shot attempts obviously leads to lower scoring games. The Big Ten teams involved in this season’s Big Dance all rank 169th or lower in pace of play with Wisconsin as the worst of the bunch overall sitting at 341st in the nation at 58.7 possessions per game. The rest of the Big Ten teams rank accordingly in pace of play: Michigan (309), Illinois (296), Ohio State (288), Minnesota (277), Purdue (218) and Michigan State (169).

Over the last eight NCAA Tourneys – within the first two rounds – Big Ten programs have gone ‘under’ the total in 15 of the 23 games in which the total was 140 or more. Also, in tourney games featuring Big Ten squads over the same period, the over has gone 12-10 when Vegas posted a first- or second-round total of 130 or less.

Best of luck with all of your Tourney action this year!

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