The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament Championship has arrived and we are set to crown the 2011 winner.
Today's contest will be between the top-ranked and top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (31-2) and the sixth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions (19-13). The tournament final will be broadcast live on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Among the storylines, Ohio State is competing in its third-straight Big Ten Tournament final and fifth in the past six years, while looking for their fourth BTT title, although the 2002 crown was later vacated due to NCAA sanctions. Penn State makes its first-ever appearance in the championship game.
The 2011 final marks the second consecutive No. 1/6-seeded game as the top-seeded Buckeyes bested No. 6 Minnesota last year, 90-61.
It is the seventh year overall that a team will compete in the finals after playing three games in three straight days -- a history that includes 1999 (No. 11 Illinois), 2001 (No. 6 Iowa), 2002 (No. 9 Iowa), 2003 (No. 8 Ohio State), 2008 (No. 10 Illinois) and 2010 (No. 6 Minnesota). The Hawkeyes in 2001 were the lone team to actually win four games in four days.
This will mark the second consecutive Big Ten Basketball Tournament Championship featuring Ohio State and Penn State. Last week in the women's tournament, the Buckeyes defeated the Lady Lions, 84-70.
In Big Ten Tournament history, Ohio State and Penn State have met three times with the Buckeyes holding a 2-1 advantage. PSU's lone win was over the top-seeded Buckeyes in 2000. In the previous three games, the average margin of victory is five points. History tells us we should be in store for a good one tomorrow.
A complete breakdown is below:
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Penn State (3:30 p.m. ET)
Ohio State leads Big Ten Tournament series, 2-1
2000, Q, No. 9 Penn State def. No. 1 Ohio State, 71-66
2005, 1st, No. 6 Ohio State def. No. 11 Penn State 72-69
2006, Q, No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 8 Penn State, 63-56