Recently in Big Ten Tournament Category

WBB: They Want Purdue, We Want the Lion!

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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!"

WBB: 500,000th Fan Expected Friday Night

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2011WelcomeSign.JPGAfter 5,547 fans went through the turnstile Thursday, the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament is prepared to welcome its 500,000th fan on Friday night.

Through 16 tournaments and one session of the 17th event, the Big Ten has hosted 489,940 fans at its postseason event, leaving the conference just 10,060 patrons shy of the milestone mark.

The 16-year averages for Sessions 2 and 3 are 5,680 and 5,758, respectively, meaning an "Average Friday" for the Big Ten will set the mark regardless. 

However, the conference has had a strong attendance record recently, having welcomed more than 6,200 fans in each of the two Friday sessions over the past three years.

WBB: Four For Friday

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Court2.JPGAfter 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.

Among 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
1999, Q, No. 3 Illinois def. No. 6 Michigan, 86-73
2002, 1st, No. 9 Michigan def. No. 8 Illinois, 84-63
2003, 1st, No. 11 Michigan def. No. 6 Illinois, 83-59
2004, 1st, No. 7 Michigan def. No. 10 Illinois, 62-58
Game 6:  No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Northwestern  (6 p.m. ET)
Michigan State and Northwestern have never met in Big Ten Tournament play

Game 7:  No. 4 Iowa vs. No. 5 Ohio State (Approx. 8:30 p.m. ET)
Ohio State leads Big Ten Tournament series, 2-1
1998, Q, No. 1 Iowa def. No. 8 Ohio State, 72-54
2009, S, No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 4 Iowa, 72-56
2010, F, No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 3 Iowa, 66-64

WBB: Tickets Please...

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Thursday's Session 1 Attendance of 5,547 was the fifth-best attendance for an opening session in Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament history.
  1. 6,432 (2008 Tournament)
  2. 6,015 (2006)
  3. 5,684 (2009)
  4. 5,630 (2002)
  5. 5,547 (2011)

WBB: New for NU

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NULockerRoom.JPGSuffice to say, this place to the right was a good place to be Thursday night, following Northwestern's 53-44 victory over Minnesota.

The result not only gives NU its 18th victory of the season--matching last year's total--but it is the 'Cats' first win in the event since the 2000 season.

And that final note also means the victory was the first for Northwestern in Conseco Fieldhouse.  The Wildcats' previous BTT wins came in Indianapolis, but they were prior to Big Ten's first postseason event in Conseco Fieldhouse in 2002.

Overall, the program has now posted back-to-back 18-win seasons for the first time since the 1989-90 (27) and 1990-91 (21) seasons.

WBB: Tight Thursday Night

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MINN-NU.jpgTalk about a tight Thursday night...  With Purdue's four-point win (66-62) over Indiana in the first game, Illinois' seven-point victory (63-56) against Wisconsin, and Northwestern's nine-point result over Minnesota, the 20-point combined margin of victory between the three contests shattered the Big Ten Tournament of 30, set in last year's event.

Despite holding the record, the first day of the 2010 Big Ten Tournament didn't exactly produce close games across the board like the 2011 event did.  No. 7 Michigan defeated No. 10 Northwestern by 13 points, No. 6 Penn State beat No. 11 Minnesota by 11 and No. 9 Illinois topped No. 8 Indiana by six. 

WBB: Supporting Our Schools

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MiddleSchoolSigns.JPGAs part of the Big Ten Middle School Curriculum Program, central Indiana middle schools have incorporated basketball (through statistics, artwork, etc.) into their curriculum.

The middle schools have also paired with Big Ten women's basketball teams in a pen pal program. The program includes 24 central Indiana schools and more than 2,600 students, many of whom received a free ticket to attend the first tournament game of the team (either Thursday or Friday) they have been paired with all semester.

Those kids will be in lime green t-shirts and sitting in large groups, so we'll make sure to check back tomorrow and see if we can get a few shots of those lime green shirts!

WBB: Sparty came to Party!

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So what does the Big Ten Champion and top-seeded Michigan State women's basketball team do 24 hours prior to its Friday night semifinal tip-off at the Big Ten Tournament?

Sparty came to party!

Check out the MSU pep band, cheerleaders, and Sparty has they entertain a couple hundred Michigan State fans who ventured down to Indianapolis a day early!

WBB: 11 Over 6

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Earlier this evening No. 11 seed Illinois, just 8-22 overall, snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 63-56 victory over No. 6 Wisconsin. 

The No. 11 seed is now just 3-14 all-time against the No. 6 in Big Ten Tournament play, with the other two wins coming in 1997 and 2003.  In 1997, Wisconsin was the sixth-seeded team to come up short, while the Illini were the sixth-seeded squad in 2003.

WBB: Boilers and Blog Videos a Winner!

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As you can tell by the Purdue Alumni Association's Twitter account, it has been good news for the Boilermakers this afternoon. 

PurdueAlumniTweet.jpgNot only did the Boilermakers earn a 66-62 victory over rival Indiana in the opening contest of the 2011 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, but @PurdueAlumni also spread the love of the Big Ten Blog and the videos posted earlier today from the Purdue Pep Rally.