The Michigan Wolverines rolled to a Big Ten tournament championship last season, and shoot for back-to-back titles Sunday afternoon against Purdue at the Garden in NYC (4:30 pm ET, CBS). Which way are we going with our Big Ten championship game pick? Free College Basketball Picks: Big Ten Tournament Championship Game.
Michigan finished 13-5 in Big Ten play during the regular season. The Wolverines then began their Big Ten tournament run with a 77-71 overtime victory over Iowa Thursday, then knocked off Nebraska Friday 77-58. Saturday Michigan outlasted Big Ten regular-season champion Michigan State 75-64.
The Wolverines battled foul trouble and poor free-throw shooting against the Hawkeyes, but led almost the entire second half, before Iowa forced OT on a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left. Michigan then outscored the Hawkeyes in extra time 10-4.
The Wolverines then handled the Cornhuskers rather easily, covering as five-point favorites, then shot the hell out of the ball in the second half against the Spartans and won outright as five-point dogs.
Purdue, meanwhile, finished 15-3 in Big Ten play this season. The Boilers then opened their tournament by escaping an upset bid from a game Rutgers outfit Friday night 78-70, then held off Penn State Saturday 78-70.
So Purdue is back in the Big Ten title game for the second time in the last three seasons; they lost to Michigan State two years ago.
The Boilers actually trailed the Scarlet Knights at the half Friday 38-35, later led by seven but never came close to covering at -15. Saturday Purdue, at -8.5, trailed the Nittany Lions until just before halftime, built an 18-point lead with four minutes to go but eased up and let Penn State rally for the back-door cover.
The Boilermakers also gave up a combined 33 offensive rebounds Friday and Saturday.
Purdue swept two games from Michigan during the regular season by scores of 70-69 and 92-88. But the Wolverines covered both games as dogs of two and 11 points.
Free Big Ten Championship Game Pick
Some might be tempted to give the Boilers an edge because they’re only playing for the third day in a row, while the Wolverines are playing for the fourth straight day. But that shouldn’t matter here; Michigan made a similar run as an 8 seed in last year’s tournament. Also, we’ve been fans of Coach Beilein for a long time, and it looks like he’s got his team playing its best ball of the season right now. We’re taking the Wolverines here.