Feb. 24, 2005

Park Ridge, IL – The Big Ten office announced that standing room only tickets for sessions 2, 4 and 5 of the 2005 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will go on sale to the general public beginning today at Noon CST at the United Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster at (312) 559-1212. The eighth annual event will be held from Thursday to Sunday, March 10-13, at the United Center in Chicago.

Three of the five sessions for the 2005 event are currently sold out, as standing room only tickets will be available for the first two quarterfinal games on Friday morning (session 2), the two semifinal contests on Saturday (session 4) and the championship game on Sunday (session 5). Limited single-session tickets for the first-round games on Thursday (session 1) and the two quarterfinals on Friday night (session 3) are still available, as standing room only tickets will only be sold for those sessions once all tickets are purchased. If available, standing room only tickets can be purchased for $25 for Thursday or Friday sessions, $30 for the Saturday session and $40 for the title game on Sunday.

Illinois clinched a share of its fourth Big Ten title in five years with a victory over Northwestern on Wednesday while earning the top seed for the 2005 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Fighting Illini, currently ranked No. 1 in the country, improved to 14-0 in League play and 28-0 overall to secure a share of a second straight League crown, as the program also finished atop the standings in 2004, 2002 and 2001. Michigan State is currently in second place in the Conference standings at 10-2 and can still pick up a split of the crown with four more wins and a pair of losses by Illinois. However, the Illini hold the tie-breaker edge over the Spartans for the tournament’s top seed based on a win in their only meeting this season.

After a one-year hiatus, the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament returns to Chicago to crown the 2005 Tournament Champion. The first Big Ten Tournament was held at the United Center in 1998, as Chicago hosted the event in its first four years of existence. Beginning in 2002, the tournament has rotated between Indianapolis and Chicago, with the 2007 event slated to return to the United Center for the 10th annual Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. In its first seven years of existence, the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament has welcomed more than 670,000 fans and issued over 4,200 media credentials. Six different League representatives have become Big Ten Tournament Champions, with Michigan State claiming the honor twice (1999, 2000) along with triumphs by Michigan (1998), Iowa (2001), Ohio State (2002), Illinois (2003) and Wisconsin (2004). The tournament schedule is as follows (game times are listed in CST):

Session 1: 11 a.m., Thursday, March 10
#8 Seed vs. #9 Seed; #7 Seed vs. #10 Seed; #6 Seed vs. #11 Seed

Session 2: 11 a.m., Friday, March 11
#1 Illinois vs. #8/9 Winner; #4 Seed vs. #5 Seed

Session 3: 5:40 p.m., Friday, March 11
#2 Seed vs. #7/10 Winner; #3 Seed vs. #6/11 Winner

Session 4: 12:40 p.m., Saturday, March 12
Semifinal Games #1 and #2

Session 5: 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 13
Tournament Final