While the Indiana Hoosiers were preparing for their Big Ten Tournament opener just a few blocks away, the Purdue squad was already lacing it up at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Just steps away from the Fieldhouse's front door at Scotty's Brewhouse, the Boilermaker faithful finished up lunch and got into game mode as the Purdue cheerleaders performed to "Hail Purdue!" and got the place rockin'!
It is the opening day of the 2011 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament and the doors will soon open!
If you don't have your tickets yet, shame on you!!! Luckily for you, though, tickets are still available and not only do they provide you great value, but this year in particular, they will provide you great seats.
Other than the fan blocks for that university's games, the women's
tournament will feature general admission seating for the first time,
allowing fans to witness the action from the best available seats in
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com, or the Conseco Fieldhouse box office.
All-session tickets are available for $65. Single-session prices are as follows:
Session 1 (Thurs., March 3) - $12 Session 2 (Fri., March 4) - $14 Session 3 (Fri., March 4) - $14 Session 4 (Sat., March 5) - $16 Session 5 (Sun., March 6) - $16
Welcome to the opening day of the 2011 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament!
We have three games on today's slate and there is no better way than opening the event than with an in-state rivalry game that is actually in-state!
No. 7 seed Purdue (19-10) faces No. 10 Indiana (9-19) at 2 p.m. ET (Gametracker), followed by No. 6 Wisconsin (15-13) against No. 11 Illinois (7-22) (Gametracker) and No. 8 Northwestern (17-12) versus No. 9 Minnesota (12-17) (Gametracker).
Among the storylines, Purdue, which holds a 4-2 advantage over the Hoosiers, will be playing on the first day of the tournament for the first time in program history.
In Game 2, Illinois is 2-0 over Wisconsin in BTT play and both wins have come with Illinois has the lower seed. The Illini are the lower seed once again, so we'll see if Bucky can buck the trend.
In the nightcap, Minnesota has twice routed Northwestern as the higher seed in the 6/11 game, winning by 17 points in 2007 and 21 points in 2004. But now the Wildcats enter as the higher seed. Historically, the 8/9 game as been the second-most competitive game in BTT history with the No. 9 seed owning a 9-7 advantage in the past 16 contests.
Check out the breakdown below:
Game 1: No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Indiana(2 p.m. ET) Purdue leads Big Ten Tournament series, 4-2
The Indiana Sports Corporation (ISC) and the City of Indianapolis know a thing or two about hosting big sporting events. Dubbed as the "amateur sports champion," the ISC has long been a supporter of the Big Ten Conference. It has helped host the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in all but one year since 1995 and the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament in six previous seasons.
The ISC hosted the NCAA Men's Final Four last year, and will soon host the 2011 NCAA Women's Final Four and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. A few months ago, the Big Ten announced the ISC and Lucas Oil Stadium will serve as host of the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game in 2011.
At Wednesday night's Big Ten Tournament volunteer meeting, John Dedman, ISC Vice President of Communications, said the ISC has been active in the planning of this year's tournament since the end of the 2010 event.
"We're ready to welcome the 11 Big Ten universities, their student-athletes and coaches, and their fans to Indianapolis for another year of great basketball," said Dedman. "Our local organizing committee has been hard at work since the 2010 tournaments concluded, preparing for this year's tournaments and the surrounding fan events."
Dedman was busy Wednesday working with his fellow ISC staffers to educate the 300 volunteers scheduled to work this week's tournament, many of whom, Dedman said, have volunteered at this event for years.
Meanwhile the City of Indianapolis continued installing street-pole banners and signs throughout the downtown area near Conseco Fieldhouse, making sure Big Ten Country feels right at home in the Circle City.
"Obviously, Conseco Fieldhouse is built to host first-class events like the Big Ten Basketball Tournaments and Indianapolis, downtown in particular, carries a distinct buzz this time of year," said Dedman.
Now all that's left to do is turn on the lights and the television cameras tomorrow and throw the ball in the air!
The moment the final buzzer sounded in last night's Indiana Pacers' 109-100 win over the Golden State Warriors, which was approximately 9:24 p.m. ET, the Conseco Fieldhouse staff was eager to show everyone the doors because they had to get to work.
The priority now became the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, which begins Thursday. Big Ten Conference staff arrived at Conseco Fieldhouse Wednesday morning to see the tournament hardwood, freshly painted with the new conference logo, had already been installed.
What makes Conseco Fieldhouse such a first-class venue is the staff they have on board to handle all the diverse events that come to the building. You wouldn't necessarily think that changing the venue from a professional basketball setup to a college basketball setup would take that long, but it does.
Courtney Howell, Associate Director of Event Production at Pacers Sports & Entertainment, has seen her share of Big Ten Tournaments. Suffice to say, it is not her first rodeo, which by the way Conseco Fieldhouse also played host to the night after a Pacers game recently. Think about the overnight change!
Howell noted that last night's Pacers-to-Big Ten conversion, which primarily consisted of the swapping of the courts, took eight hours with a crew of 25 people.
"We first worked on the court and the media seating that surrounds it," said Howell. "We then moved our focus to the rooms and today is all indoor and outdoor signage."
In the picture above, you can see that around 1 p.m. ET today some of the Big Ten's interior signage has gone up, while some of the Pacers' exterior signage had yet to come down.
One thing is for sure, come Thursday there will be no doubt that Conseco Fieldhouse is the home of Big Ten Basketball for the next two weeks.
Except for next Tuesday, of course, when the Pacers host the Philadelphia 76ers and they have to do it all over again!
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.
Each 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, which indicates the restaurant is one of the 11 school locations.
The host establishments with their Big Ten university partner are listed below.
One of the unique elements to the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership's winning bid to host the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments from 2008-2012 was the implementation of the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award. The award, which was first given out in 2008,
is an annual scholarship recognizing one male and one female Big Ten
senior student-athlete pursuing a postgraduate degree for achievements
in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership. It
is given out in conjunction with the Big Ten Men's and Women's
On Tuesday, the Big Ten Conference office and the Indiana Sports Corporation announced that Minnesota cross country and track runner Mike Torchia and Purdue swimmer Allie Smith have been named the recipients of the 2011 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award
presented by the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership.
Each Big Ten institution was asked to nominate one male
and one female student-athlete for 2011, with a $5,000 scholarship
awarded to each winner. Torchia and Smith will be honored during a
presentation at halftime of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament
quarterfinal game on Friday, March 11, at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is named for the former Big Ten
Conference commissioner who served from 1971-89. While leading the Big
Ten, Duke spent much of his time working to improve academic standards
and graduation rates for student-athletes.
It's time to pack up the bags in Park Ridge and head down to Indianapolis for the next two weeks as the Big Ten Conference is prepared to host both the Women's and Men's Basketball Tournaments in consecutive weeks at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Just as we did last year, BIgTen.org will be here to provide you all sorts of coverage surrounding both tournaments.
So let's get you set for the 2011 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, which begins Thursday, March 3!!!
Click here to check out Big Ten Tournament Central.
Click here to check out the Big Ten Tournament Bracket Release.
Click here to check out the Big Ten Tournament Notes.