Jody Victor: The field is set for the 2008 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament that will take place this week, Thursday-Sunday, March 13-16, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Wisconsin (26-4, 16-2) claimed the No. 1 seed after capturing the Big Ten title for the third time in Bo Ryan's tenure. Purdue (24-7, 15-3) earned the No. 2 seed, while Indiana (25-6, 14-4) clinched the No. 3 spot. Michigan State (24-7, 12-6) claimed the No. 4 spot and Ohio State (19-12, 10-8) ended the season in fifth place in the conference standings, earning the No. 5 seed. Each of the top five teams receives a first-round bye and will start tournament play this Friday.
The 11th annual Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will tip off this Thursday, March 13, with No. 8 Iowa (13-18, 6-12) taking on No. 9 Michigan (9-21, 5-13) at Noon EDT on the Big Ten Network. The second game of the tournament will feature No. 7 Penn State (15-15, 7-11) against No. 10 Illinois (13-18, 5-13) at approximately 2:30 pm EDT on ESPN2. The final game on Thursday will include No. 6 Minnesota (18-12, 8-10) and No. 11 Northwestern (8-21, 1-17) at roughly 5 pm EDT on ESPN2.
Day two will begin with top-seeded Wisconsin facing the winner of the Iowa/Michigan game at Noon EDT on ESPN. The Badgers are the No. 1 seed for the third time in tournament history as UW claimed the top seed in back-to-back Big Ten Tournaments in 2002 and 2003. Wisconsin will look to avenge its loss in last years's tournament final to Ohio State. The No. 1 seed has won the tournament only three times with Michigan State claiming the 1999 title, Illinois capturing the crown in 2005 and the Buckeyes winning the tournament last year.
The second game features the No. 4/5 contest at approximately 2:30 pm EDT on ESPN. Fourth-seeded Michigan State and the defending tournament champion No. 5 Ohio State will square off. The Spartans are vying to become the first squad in big Ten Tournament history to win the tourney crown three times, as MSU claimed the 1999 and 2000 titles. Illinois and Iowa also have two tournament crowns each. Earning the highest seed in Boilermaker history, second-seeded Purdue will begin tournament action on Friday at 6:30 pm EDT in the first of two games that will air on the Big Ten Network. The Boilermakers will face the winner of the Penn State-Illinois contest. The second day will conclude with No. 3 Indiana facing the Minnesota-Northwestern winner at apporximately 9 pm EDT on the Big Ten Network.
The Big Ten Tournament semifinals will take place on Saturday, March 15, with the first game beginning at 1:40 pm EDT on CBS. Game two will start 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one at approximately 4:05 pm EDT on CBS. The tournament will conclude with the championship game on Sunday, March 16, at 3:30 pm EDT on CBS.
GO BUCKS !!!