INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michigan State won 74-56. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The 2012 Big Ten tournament bracket is beginning to take shape. Michigan State has already clinched the No. 1 seed, and three other teams have also clinched a first-round bye.
The 2012 Big Ten tournament bracket won't be made official until the final action of the regular season comes to a close this weekend, but already some seeds have been determined.
For starters, Michigan State has clinched the No. 1 seed in the tournament thanks to Purdue beating Penn State on Wednesday night. Based on all of the different tiebreakers that could potentially come into play if Michigan State loses to Ohio State on Sunday, the Purdue game helped determine that there is no way the Spartans won't end up with the top overall seed. This means Michigan State is locked into the noon game on Friday at the Big Ten tournament.
The other big news is that in addition to Michigan State, three other teams have clinched first-round byes: Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes officially clinched a bye by beating Northwestern, and Michigan and Wisconsin clinched a bye thanks to earlier results. There is no way any of these three teams can be seeded lower than fourth, so the first time we will see them this year in Indianapolis is on Friday.
As for the rest of the bracket, there is still a lot to sort out in the coming days. One thing we do know right now is that Michigan State's opponent in the Big Ten tournament next week will be either Northwestern, Iowa or Illinois. The loser of this weekend's Northwestern-Iowa game will be matched up with Illinois in the first round of the tournament, and the winner of that game will advance to take on the Spartans.
Go here for a look at the Big Ten tournament bracket.