The Ohio State Buckeyes are returning to the Big Ten Conference Tournament, Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. at Huntington Park. The Buckeyes, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, will take on No. 5 seed Minnesota in a game that will kick off the 2011 conference tournament. Following this game, No. 3 seed Purdue and No. 6 seed Penn State will meet in a 3:35 p.m. scheduled start.
The Buckeyes qualified for the Big Ten Tournament in coach Greg Beals' initial season as coach by winning a three-game series at Minnesota over the weekend. After dropping the opener, 3-2, the Buckeyes came back to win games two and three by scores of 5-1 and 3-0, respectively, to position the Buckeyes in fourth place with a 13-11 mark and a 25-25 overall record. The losses dropped the Golden Gophers' records to 13-11 and 22-22.
Huntington Park, which will also host the 2012 Big Ten tournament, is in its' third year as home of the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The place is cozy, friendly and offers a stunning view of downtown Columbus. Two years ago Big Ten tournament attendance at Huntington Park was more than 12,000 fans, marking the tournament's highest total attendance in the past decade. Ohio State's opening game that year, vs. Illinois, drew 4,575 fans.
Ohio State has been one of the most successful teams in Big Ten tournament play. The Buckeyes have won eight tournament titles – 1991-94-95-97 and 2002-03-05-07 – to rank second to Minnesota's nine. Ohio State also ranks second in Big Ten tournament wins (49), winning percentage (.598; 49-33) and most tournaments (24). When Ohio State failed to qualify for the 2010 Big Ten tournament, it snapped a Big Ten record streak of 13 consecutive tournaments for the Buckeyes.