Also of note...that is now two straight Big Ten Tournament contests at Conseco Fieldhouse where the event record for points in a single game has fallen. In the championship final of the women's tournament last Sunday, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender set a new record by two with 37 points in the win.
BigTen.org stopped by the downtown Westin today for the Michigan State men's basketball pep rally.
The MSU Alumni Association, Spartan Fund and Rebounders Club put on the event, which featured Head Coach Tom Izzo, Athletics Director Mark Hollis (below), MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons, Spartan Brass, the MSU Cheerleaders & Dance Team and Sparty!
Welcome to Thursday -- the first day of action at the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament.
Three games highlight today's slate, beginning with No. 8 seed Northwestern against No. 9 Minnesota at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. No. 7 Michigan State and No. 10 Iowa follow at approximately 5 p.m., while No. 6 Penn State and No. 11 Indiana battle in the nightcap at approximately 7:30 p.m. How do you follow along? Below are the Gametracker links for each game:
the storylines, Minnesota and Northwestern played the first-ever Big Ten Tournament game in 1998, with the No. 8 Golden Gophers defeating the No. 9 Wildcats, 64-56. The Minnesota win was later voided due to NCAA infractions.
In Game 2, Iowa leads the Big Ten Tournament series 2-1 over the Spartans, but in all three past matchups, one team has been the No. 2 seed. This is the first time the two teams have met on the first day of action and the No. 7 seed is also the lowest seed ever for the Spartans.
In the nightcap, Indiana and Penn State each have a victory in the series, which have both come in the No. 6/11 matchup. But how close will the game be? The sixth-seeded Hoosiers earned a 28-point win in 2003, while the No. 6 Nittany Lions dropped IU by 15 in last year's meeting. In the lone regular-season contest this year, Penn State topped Indiana by nine, 69-60.
Check out the breakdown below:
Game 1: No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Minnesota(2:30 p.m. ET) Minnesota leads Big Ten Tournament series, 2-1 ('95 win vacated due to NCAA infractions)
We are just one day away from the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament and tickets for all sessions are still available.
Single-session tickets range from $30 to $80
depending on session and seat location. All-session tickets are
available for $220 or $165 depending on seat location, which represents a
savings over purchasing single-session tickets for all five sessions.
Orders will be limited to 12 all-session or single-session tickets.
The tournament schedule is as follows with single-session ticket prices listed for each session (game times are Eastern):
Make sure you get to Conseco Fieldhouse this week and take in what is expected to be a very competitive Big Ten Tournament!
Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament (single-session ticket pricing):
Session 1 (First Rd.; 3 games beginning at 2:30 p.m.) - Thurs., March 10 - ($30-$55)
Session 2 (Quarterfinals; 2 games beginning at Noon) - Fri., March 11 - ($40-$70)
Session 3 (Quarterfinals; 2 games beginning at 6:30 p.m.) - Fri., March 11 - ($40-$70)
Session 4 (Semifinals; 2 games beginning at 1:40 p.m.) - Sat., March 12 - ($45-$80)
Session 5 (Championship Game; beginning at 3:30 p.m.) - Sun., March 13 - ($45-$80)
On the eve of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, BigTen.org had a chance to meet up with Chris Gahl, the Director of Communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, to talk about the impact the Big Ten Tournament has on the city.
As has been the case since 2008, the Big Ten has brought both of its men's and women's basketball tournaments to the Circle City, and this year Gahl noted that the back-to-back tourneys will provide a $10 million boost to Indianapolis.
"Our restaurants are full, our hotels are virtually sold out... this is big business," said Gahl. "We know that these 11 schools travel and travel well to Indianapolis to soak in this activities, and to do the little things like pairing each school with a bar or restaurant where fans can gather, adds to the fan-festive environment here in the city."
Ask any Big Ten fan here this week what they like about coming to Indianapolis, and most -- if not all -- will tell you how much they enjoy everything being centrally located.
One of Gahl's favorite terms in describing the downtown area is "walkability," meaning for visitors, it is so easy to dine, shop and watch basketball all by walking a short distance. In a way, once you come to town and park your car, you won't be getting back in it until it's time to go home.
"In the last 30 years, the city has hosted more than 400 national and international sporting events, including the Big Ten tournaments and certainly the NCAA men's and women's Final Fours," he said. "One of the key points back 30 years ago that the city leaders were then adamant about was keeping everything centralized and connected. We now have more hotel rooms connected into the Indiana Convention Center and subsequently into Lucas Oil Stadium than any other convention city in the United States. (This helps) breed the camaraderie, that fan-festive environment, that you see when you take to the streets during an event like the Big Ten Men's Tournament."
Gahl and his staff recently joined members of the Indiana Sports Corporation in North Texas for a Super Bowl-planning trip and agrees that despite all the activity and games held in Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis' true test run to hosting Super Bowl XLVI will be 60 days prior when they host the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship.
"We are honored to have the first Big Ten Football Championship in Lucas Oil Stadium. We hope to continue to bring back the Big Ten Championship for many, many years."
For more on the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, click here.
Keeping the tradition alive, Indianapolis Downtown Inc. recently
announced the Big Ten University Restaurant Pairings locations, which
have become the place to be
before, during and after your favorite team's tournament games.
year 11 establishments are paired with the 11 conference schools to
create a home away from home for fans. All pairings are located just
blocks from Conseco Fieldhouse.
This year fans who are not
familiar with the downtown area can simply look down on the sidewalk for
the Big Ten Tournament's pinwheel logo or near the entrances for school flag stands, which indicate the restaurant
is one of the 11 school locations.
Shown above is Rock Bottom, the Big Ten Tournament-home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The host establishments with their Big Ten university partner are listed below.
The 2011 season begins for all seven Big Ten women's gymnastics teams this weekend, as the squads will be competing in their first meets of the campaign on Jan. 7 and 8.
Action begins on Friday with Michigan State hosting Iowa, Michigan and Western Michigan. Penn State visits second-ranked Alabama to round out the day's competition. On Saturday, Ohio State hosts Minnesota, while Illinois and Northern Illinois visit No. 24 Kentucky.
Click here to see the complete release from the Big Ten.