Jody Victor: The field is set for the 2010 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament that will take place Thursday-Sunday, March 11-14, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Ohio State (24-7, 14-4) claimed the No. 1 seed after capturing the Big Ten title for the third time under Thad Matta's tutelage and 18th overall. Although OSU, Michigan State and Purdue completed the regular season with identical conference records at 14-4, the Buckeyes earned the top seed by virtue of their higher win percentage versus the group. The tiebreaking procedures also made Purdue (26-4, 14-4) the No. 2 seed, while Michigan State (24-7, 14-4) clinched the No. 3 spot. Wisconsin (23-7, 13-5) claimed the No. 4 seed with Illinois (18-13, 10-8) earning the No. 5 seed. Each of the top five teams receives a first-round bye and will start tournament play on Friday, March 12.
The 13th annual Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will tip off on Thursday, March 11, with No. 8 Michigan (14-16, 7-11) taking on No. 9 Iowa (10-21, 4-14) at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The second game of the tournament will feature No. 7 Northwestern (19-12, 7-11) against No. 10 Indiana (10-20, 4-14) on ESPN2. The final game on Thursday will include No. 6 Minnesota (18-12, 9-9) and No. 11 Penn State (11-19, 3-15), with the Big Ten Network providing live coverage.
Day two will begin with top-seeded Ohio State facing the winner of the Michigan-Iowa game at Noon ET on ESPN. The Buckeyes are the No. 1 seed for the fourth time in tournament history as OSU claimed the No. 1 seed in 2000 and in back-to-back Big Ten Tournaments in 2006 and 2007. Ohio State will look to capture its first tournament title since 2007 and better its performance from last year after falling just short of the tourney crown in the final. The No. 1 seed has won the tournament only four times with Wisconsin claiming the title in 2008, Ohio State in 2007, Illinois in 2005 and Michigan State in 1999.
Illinois and Wisconsin will meet in the second game of the day on ESPN. The Badgers earned a No. 4 seed for the second straight year after posting a 13-5 record in Big Ten play. The Illini captured the fifth remaining first-round bye with a 10-8 ledger in conference action.
With Purdue and Michigan State tied at 14-4 in the conference standings, the Boilermakers merited a No. 2 seed in the tournament by virtue of their 2-2 record against OSU and MSU. Both the Boilermakers and Spartans will make their second appearance in the Big Ten Tournament as a No. 2 and No. 3 seed, respectively, and earn a first-round bye. Purdue will open Friday's second session in a meeting with the winner of the Northwestern-Indiana contest on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Michigan State will hit the hardwood in the final game of the evening against the winner of the Minnesota-Penn State matchup. Both evening contests will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
The Big Ten Tournament semifinals and championship will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14, and all three games will air on CBS Sports. The first game on Saturday begins at 1:40 p.m. ET while the tournament will conclude with the championship game on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Since the first Big Ten Tournament in 1998, six teams have captured postseason titles with Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin each owning a pair of tournament crowns to lead the conference. Ohio State and Purdue also have one tournament title to their name. The No. 2 seed remains the event's leader, boasting a 16-6 overall record while claiming four titles (2000, 2003, 2004 and 2006) and five berths in the tournament final. The sixth seed is the lowest to ever win a Big Ten Tournament crown with Iowa accomplishing the feat in 2001.
All-session ($165 or $220) and single-session tickets ($30-60) to the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament can be purchased through the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.