Earlier today, BigTen.org made a quick stop on the Northwestside of Indianapolis, just 20 minutes away from the action at Conseco Fieldhouse, when it saw a resident sporting its Spartan pride. We saw the "Welcome Party" for Michigan State in last night's post, but who knew a little bit of Sparty was here all along?
In a city full of Boilermakers and Hoosiers, it was nice to see Sparty getting some love as well.
Big Ten Champion and top-seeded Michigan State will tip off against No. 8 seed Northwestern in semifinal action tonight at 6 p.m. ET.
For the first time at this year's Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, we have a game where one team has really outdistanced itself from another. And who would have believed it to be the No. 11 seed on top?
Illinois. Been there. Done that.
At halftime of our second quarterfinal matchup today, No. 11 seed Illinois has shocked No. 3 seed Michigan, leading by 21 at intermission, 37-16.
"And we're going to party like it's 2008," doesn't quite have the ring to it as Prince's "1999" classic, so please don't cue the music.
But this little run by the 11th-seeded Illini does remind us of their BTT journey in 2008. As the No. 9 seed, Illinois played all four days and fell by just two points to Purdue in the tournament final. To date, the Illini are the lowest-seeded team to have ever advanced to semifinals and finals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Counting this year, the No. 11 seed has advanced out of first-round action only three times, with all three of those occasions involving the two teams in this game. No. 11 Minnesota fell to No. 3 Illinois, 98-76, in the 1997 quarterfinals, while 11th-seeded Michigan lost 72-50 to third-seeded Purdue in the 2003 quarterfinals.
Twenty minutes to play, but we think Illinois' Jolette Law is still loving Conseco Fieldhouse!
We are at halftime of today's first game and the No. 7 seed Purdue Boilermakers hold a slim advantage over second-seeded Penn State.
The 2/7 game has taken place 14 times in Big Ten Tournament history with the No. 2 seed owning a 10-4 record.
We saw No. 11 Illinois top No. 6 Wisconsin last night... might we have another "upset" boiling?
Of course we only use the term "upset" for the purposes of tourney talk. Purdue swept the regular-season series against Penn State, including a 51-49 victory in State College on Feb. 24.
By the way, you see "Mingo" in the tweet for having scored 8 points at intermission. That's Drey Mingo, who recently was named a finalist for the V Foundation Comeback Award and has been the subject of several features by the Indianapolis media this week, including NBC's WTHR affiliate and the Indianapolis Star.
Turn on the Big Ten Network or follow along online with GameTracker as we get set for a full day of action at the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament!
Game 4: No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 2 Penn State(11:30 a.m. ET) Game 5: No. 11 Illinois vs. No. 3 Michigan (Approx. 2 p.m. ET) Game 6: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Northwestern (6 p.m. ET) Game 7: No. 4 Iowa vs. No. 5 Ohio State (Approx. 8:30 p.m. ET)
Prior to today's first Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament game between Penn State and Purdue, the Lady Lions gathered for a pep rally at their Omni hotel in downtown Indianapolis around 9:30 a.m. ET. The Lady Lion pep band and cheerleaders were in attendance along with Nittany himself, who made a grand appearance in the downstairs ballroom to the chants of, "We want the Lion! We want the Lion!"
Now it's off to Conseco Fieldhouse, where presumably the chant has changed to "We want Purdue!"
After a very tight night of action, where the three first-round winners were victorious by a combined 20 points, four games are on the slate for Friday.
No. 7 seed Purdue (20-10) faces No. 2 Penn State (22-8) at 11:30 a.m. ET, followed by No. 11 Illinois (8-22) and No. 3 Michigan (17-11). In the evening session, No. 8 Northwestern (18-12) will face top-seeded Michigan State (25-4) at 6 p.m. ET with No. 4 Iowa (22-7) and No. 5 Ohio State (19-9) doing battle in the nightcap.
the storylines, Friday's opener marks the fifth time Purdue and Penn State will tangle in Big Ten Tournament play, but the first time the two with play outside the finals. The two teams previously battled for the 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004 tournament titles.
In the final game of Session 2, Michigan will look to extend its Big Ten Tournament record over Illinois to 4-1. Of note, the only close game in the tournament series between the two came in their last meeting in 2004, a 62-58 win by the Wolverines, which was also the lone meeting where Michigan was the higher seed. A good omen for Michigan this time around???
Top-seeded Michigan State opens the evening session with its first-ever Big Ten Tournament contest against Northwestern. Iowa and Ohio State meet for the fourth time in tournament play, but for the first time when neither team is the event's top seed. Friday night's contest will also serve as a rematch of last year's championship final, which the Buckeyes won 66-64.
Check out the breakdown below:
Game 4: No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 2 Penn State(11:30 a.m. ET) Purdue leads Big Ten Tournament series, 3-1
1996, F, No. 2 Penn State def. No. 4 Purdue, 71-69 1998, F, No. 5 Purdue def. No. 7 Penn State, 59-49 2000, F, No. 3 Purdue def. No. 1 Penn State, 71-63 2004, F, No. 2 Purdue def. No. 1 Penn State, 59-58
Game 5: No. 11 Illinois vs. No. 3 Michigan (Approx. 2 p.m. ET) Michigan leads Big Ten Tournament series, 3-1