The regular season is now over and the final standings and seeds are set. Click to see the Big Ten Tournament bracket and TV schedule.
The Big Ten has established itself as the nation’s top conference this season, and a slew of Top 25 teams and at-large hopefuls should make for an incredible conference tournament when the action starts in Indianapolis on March 8th.
Tournament Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Tournament Dates and TV Coverage:
- First Round: Thursday, March 8th at 11:30, 2:00, 5:30, and 8:00 (BTN/ESPN2)
- Quarterfinals: Friday, March 9th at 12:00, 2:30, 6:30, 9:00 (ESPN/BTN)
- Semifinals: Saturday, March 10th at 1:40 and 4:00 (CBS)
- Championship: Sunday, March 11th at 3:30 (CBS)
Seeding/Bracket Notes: Top four seeds receive byes to the Quarterfinals on Friday, March 9th.
Big Ten Tournament Outlook
With just three games left to play, three teams are within one game of each other for the regular season title. Michigan State is currently in the lead at 12-3, and they are a pair of one-point losses away from being 14-1. Senior leader Draymond Green (15.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.8 apg) has made a compelling case for Big Ten Player of the Year, while a number of other Spartans have stepped up to become consistent contributors. Keith Appling has had a breakout sophomore year, and Tom Izzo’s team is winning with stout defense and relentless effort on the glass.
Pre-season favorite Ohio State is also in the mix and has games remaining against Wisconsin and the aforementioned Spartans. The trio of Jared Sullinger, William Buford, and Deshaun Thomas has combined for 47.1 points and 18.5 rebounds, while point guard Aaron Craft has dished out 4.8 assists per game and provides disruptive on-ball defense. If the Buckeyes can roll through the remainder of the season, a one seed isn’t out of the question, but they could use more consistent production from players outside of their “big four.”
Many questioned how effective Michigan would be following the loss of point guard Darius Morris, but freshman Trey Burke has been phenomenal and leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and assists (4.8 apg). The other five key members of the Michigan rotation all score at least 7.6 points per contest with Zack Novak and Evan Smotrycz both draining more than 40 percent from three-point range. The Wolverines have shown they can beat pretty much anyone in the league, so if they get hot from the outside, they could make a deep run in the tournament.
Wisconsin and Indiana are the other teams considered safely in the NCAA Tournament at this point. The Badgers have struggled at times, but Jordan Taylor (14.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.2 apg) has the ability to put the team on his back. IU seems to be a year ahead of schedule in the rebuilding process, and the combination of Cody Zeller (15.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 64.5 FG%) and improved depth should pay dividends in the tournament. These two teams are battling it out for the last first-round bye, so their last few regular season games will be critical.
A handful of bubble teams will also be looking to make a strong impression on the selection committee by playing well in this event. Purdue is the safest of the tournament hopefuls at this point, but an early exit could bring doubt into the equation. Northwestern is continuing to fight for their first NCAA berth, and a win or two in the conference tournament would go a long way towards earning a bid. Minnesota, Illinois, and even Iowa could play their way into the discussion, but right now they’re on the outside looking in.
From top to bottom, the Big Ten is the best league in the country, which should make for an outstanding tournament. With virtually every team playing for something, look for four days of hard-fought and compelling basketball.
Big Ten Tournament Past Champions, MVPs, Sites
|Year||Big Ten Tournament Champions||Big Ten Tournament Runner-Up||Score||Big Ten Tournament MVP||Big Ten Tournament Site|
|1998||Michigan||Purdue||76-67||Robert Traylor||United Center - Chicago|
|1999||Michigan State||Illinois||67-50||Mateen Cleaves||United Center|
|2000||Michigan State||Illinois||76-61||Morris Peterson||United Center|
|2001||Iowa||Indiana||63-61||Reggie Evans||United Center|
|2002||Ohio State||Iowa||81-64||Boban Savovich||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2003||Illinois||Ohio State||72-59||Brian Cook||United Center|
|2004||Wisconsin||Illinois||70-53||Devin Harris||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2005||Illinois||Wisconsin||54-43||James Augustine||United Center|
|2006||Iowa||Ohio State||67-60||Jeff Horner||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2007||Ohio State||Wisconsin||66-49||Mike Conley||United Center|
|2008||Wisconsin||Illinois||61-48||Marcus Landry||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2009||Purdue||Ohio State||65-61||Robbie Hummel||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2010||Ohio State||Minnesota||90-61||Evan Turner||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2011||Ohio State||Penn State||71-60||Jared Sullinger||Conseco Fieldhouse|
|2012||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|2014||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|2016||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
Click to see Andy’s complete Championship Week Preview.