PARK RIDGE, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced on Sunday the bracket for the 2011 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, with conference champion Michigan State earning the No. 1 seed. The tournament is set for March 3-6 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
After finishing the season with a 13-3 mark in Big Ten play, Michigan State receives the tournament’s top seed for the first time in school history. The Spartans put together their eighth-straight 20-win season, closing out the regular season with a 25-4 overall record. They will play their first tournament game in Friday’s second session at 6 p.m. ET after earning a first-round bye for the ninth consecutive year.
Penn State enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed after compiling an 11-5 conference record and a 22-8 mark overall this season. The Lady Lions boast their highest seed since 2004, when they held the tournament’s top spot. They will face their first competition in Friday’s first game at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin all put together 10-6 conference records, creating a four-way tie for third place. By virtue of their 5-0 combined record against the three other teams, the Wolverines earned the tournament’s No. 3 seed. The Hawkeyes enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed. The Buckeyes receive the No. 5 seed and the Badgers earn the No. 6 seed.
Michigan earns its highest seed in the Big Ten Tournament since 2000, when it advanced to the semifinals as the No. 2 seed. The third-seeded Wolverines hold a 17-11 overall record entering the event and will play in Friday’s second game.
Fourth-seeded Iowa will take on fifth-seeded Ohio State in Friday’s fourth and final game. The Hawkeyes rounded out the campaign with a 22-7 overall record and head to Indianapolis having won seven of their last nine contests. This year’s tournament marks the fourth-straight season Iowa has received a top-four seed. The Buckeyes look to win their third-straight tournament title after putting together a 19-9 overall mark this season. Ohio State earns a bye into Friday’s quarterfinals for the eighth-straight season.
Wisconsin opens the tournament as the No. 6 seed after finishing 15-13 overall this season. The Badgers will take on No. 11 Illinois (7-22, 2-14 Big Ten) in Thursday’s second tilt, scheduled for 25 minutes after the first game’s completion.
Purdue receives the No. 7 seed after closing out the regular season with a 9-7 record in conference play and a 19-10 overall record. The Boilermakers will square off with intrastate rival and No. 10 seed Indiana (9-19, 3-13) in the first game of the tournament on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.
Northwestern enters the tournament as the No. 8 seed and is slated to take on Minnesota, which holds the No. 9 spot, in Thursday’s third contest. The Wildcats finished the regular season at 6-10 in Big Ten games and 17-12 overall. The Golden Gophers own a 4-12 Big Ten record and a 12-17 overall mark.
Six conference teams have taken home the Big Ten Tournament title since the event’s inception in 1995, led by Purdue’s record seven titles (1998-99-00-03-04-07-08). Ohio State owns three tournament titles (2006-09-10), including two straight entering this year’s event. Iowa (1997-01) and Penn State (1995-96) have each won the title twice, while Indiana earned the crown in 2002 and Michigan State took home the title in 2005. Indiana tied Purdue’s 1998 squad as the lowest seed to win the event when the No. 5 Hoosiers defeated Penn State in 2002 for their lone title.
All-session ($65) and single-session ($12-16) tickets for the 2011 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament are still available and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone numbers and www.ticketmaster.com.