No. 1 Ohio State will face either No. 8 Indiana or No. 9 Illinois in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. ET Friday on the Big Ten Network; Ticket information is below
PARK RIDGE, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference office revealed on Sunday the bracket for the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be held March 4-7 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. For the sixth-straight year, Ohio State will enter as the tournament’s No. 1 seed, having finished the Big Ten season with a 15-3 record.
The Buckeyes have won six straight conference titles, the first time in history any Big Ten men’s or women’s basketball squad has achieved the feat. Overall, Ohio State has won 13 conference championships and looks to defend its 2009 tournament title, having defeated Purdue in last year’s final, 67-66. The Buckeyes earn their eighth-consecutive first-round bye and will open defense of their tournament title in the first game of Session 3, scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Friday.
Michigan State secured its spot as the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament with its victory over Minnesota on Sunday. For the second straight season, the Spartans begin the tournament as the No. 2 seed, having finished the conference season with a 12-6 mark. Michigan State earns a first-round bye and will play its first game at 11:30 a.m. ET on Friday, the opening game of Session 2.
With Iowa and Wisconsin tied at 10-8 in the conference standings, the Hawkeyes will be the tournament’s No. 3 seed by virtue of sweeping the season series with the Badgers. Iowa makes its first appearance in the Big Ten Tournament as a No. 3 seed and earns a first-round bye for the third-straight season. The Hawkeyes will play in the second game of Friday’s first session.
Wisconsin is the fourth seed in this year’s tournament and earns a first-round bye for the first time since 2001, when it was the third seed. The Badgers will open the 2010 tournament in the final game on Friday, at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET, and face fifth-seeded Purdue, which ended the regular season 9-9 in conference. The Boilermakers enter as the fifth seed for the first time since 2005 and have advanced to the last four Big Ten Tournament championship games.
Penn State and Michigan finished the conference season with identical 8-10 records, but the Lady Lions earned the No. 6 seed based on their 68-60 victory over Michigan State on Jan. 17. The sixth-seeded Lady Lions enter the tournament with their highest seed since 2007 and will face No. 11 Minnesota in the tournament’s second game, beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Michigan occupies the No. 7 seed in this year’s tournament, the second time in three years the Wolverines have entered the tournament in the seventh spot. Michigan finished the conference season at 8-10 and will face No. 10 seed Northwestern, which finished 7-11 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats are the Tournament’s 10th seed for the second straight season and will square off with the Wolverines in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament at Noon ET on Thursday.
In the final game of Session 1, No. 8 Indiana will face No. 9 Illinois approximately 25 minutes following the conclusion of Thursday’s second game. Indiana, Illinois and Northwestern each finished 7-11 in the conference, but Indiana earned the higher seed based on its 3-1 combined record against the Illini and Wildcats. The Fighting Illini have entered as the No. 9 seed for three straight years, and advanced to the 2008 tournament championship game as the ninth seed.
Since the first Big Ten Tournament in 1995, six teams have captured postseason titles with Purdue’s seven tournament titles (1998-99-2000-03-04-07-08) setting the Big Ten record. Iowa (1997, 2001), Penn State (1995-96) and Ohio State (2006, 2009) have each won the tournament twice, while Michigan State earned its first Big Ten Tournament 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 the 2002 final for their lone title.
All-session ($65) and single-session ($12-16) tickets for the 2010 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.