Here's a link to the Big Ten's BTT page, which includes a bracket. The schedule:
Thursday, March 13:
12 pm: #8 Iowa v. #9 Michigan
2:30 pm: #7 Penn State v. #10 Illinois
5:00: #6 Minnesota v. #11 Northwestern
Friday, March 14:
12 pm:#1 Wisconsin v. 8/9 winner
2:30 pm: #4 Michigan State v. #5 Ohio State
6:30 pm: #2 Purdue v. 7/10 winner
9:00: #3 Indiana v. 6/11 winner
1:40: Winners of first two Friday games
4:05: winners of last two Friday games
3:30 pm: championship
I may be in the minority among IU fans, but I like the Big Ten Tournament. It's not much of a measure of full-season excellence, and I value the regular season championship more, but before this season my main objection to the BTT was the 16-game schedule. Now that the Big Ten has resumed the 18 game schedule, even that minimal basis for objection is gone. Here's a little history:
Illinois, 2 (2003, 2005)
Iowa, 2 (2001, 2006)
Michigan State, 2 (1999, 2000)
Ohio State, 2 (2002, 2007)
Michigan, 1 (1998)
Wisconsin, 1 (2004)
Ohio State, 13
Michigan State, 11
Penn State, 5
Illinois, .692 (18-8)
Iowa, .619 (13-8)
Ohio State, .619 (13-8)
Michigan State, .579 (11-8)
Wisconsin, .550 (11-9)
Indiana, .444 (8-10)
Michigan, .438 (7-9)
Minnesota, .400 (6-10)
Penn State, .333 (5-10)
Northwestern, .250 (4-10)
Purdue, .250 (4-10)
When the Big Ten Tournament was conceived in the mid-1990s, IU and Purdue had been the two best programs of the previous quarter-century. Who could have foreseen just how undistinguished those two programs would be during the first decade of the tournament? In the 25 seasons before the advent of the BTT, IU and Purdue won a combined 18 (outright or shared) Big Ten championships and one or the other was at least a co-champ in 17 of 25 seasons. In the BTT, neither team has played well. Purdue advanced to the title game in 1998, the first year of the BTT, but didn't return to the weekend until last season, and won only one BTT game from 1999 through 2006. IU has reached the weekend semifinals only four times, and like Purdue has no championships and one runner-up finish.
To date, the BTT has been played in Chicago 7 times and Indianapolis 3 times. The Big Ten has committed to play the BTT at Conseco through 2012. The three previous Indianapolis based tournaments have been won by Ohio State (2002), Wisconsin (2004), and Iowa (2006). Here are the teams' overall records in Indianapolis:
Ohio State: 5-2
Michigan State: 3-3
Penn State: 1-3
- As I said yesterday, the Big Ten brass must be happy to see IU and Purdue on the same side of the bracket. If both teams win their opening games (by no means assured, especially the way IU has been playing) the conference would get not just a high-interest semifinal matchup, but would be guaranteed a local team in the title game (and the resultant full house).
- It's been ten years since the only IU-Purdue game in the BTT. #3 Purdue defeated #6 IU 76-71 in the first-ever BTT.
- IU is 1-5 against Illinois and 7-5 against everyone else. If yesterday's result has any positive, it's that IU likely will not have to play Illinois.
Illinois has never failed to reach the semifinals, not even in 1999, when the Illini were the #11 seed but upset #6 Minnesota, #3 IU, and #2 Ohio State to reach the final.TAFKABTW informs me that Illinois did lose in the quarterfinals in 2006 as the #3 seed, suggesting that the slot is cursed. IU has indeed lost its first game the two previous times that IU was the #3 seed.
- There have been only two overtime games in BTT history: in 1999, #10 Michigan defeated #7 Purdue; last year, #6 Illinois beat #3 Indiana.
- ADDENDUM: unsurprisingly, the Wonk is on to something. Purdue in 1998 [plus Wisconsin in 2004; at least I can blame the Big Ten results page for that error] is the only #3 seed to reach the final, and no #3 seed has won the BTT. Indeed, the #3 seed is 4-6 in the quarterfinal round, meaning that the majority of the time, the third-best team in the conference has lost its first BTT game. Given the Hoosiers' stellar BTT history, I'm even more encouraged about our prospects. Of the 20 participants in the title game, 7 have been seeded lower than #3: #4 seeds are 1-2, #6 seeds are 1-0, # 8 seeds are 0-1, #9 seeds are 0-1, and #11 seeds are 0-1. I guess that means Ohio State is the real loser here: only the #5 seed has never reached the final.
- ADDENDUM: In the first six Big Ten Tournaments, every final game included a team seeded #4 or lower. But #1 has faced #2 in three of the last four tournaments, and no seed lower than #3 has reached the final.