After a one-year hiatus, the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis to crown the 2006 tournament champion at Conseco Fieldhouse from March 9-12. The 2005 tournament was played at the United Center in Chicago and will return to the Windy City in 2007.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament has made its mark both nationally and locally in its first eight years of existence. Sell-out crowds, exciting and competitive games, national television coverage and throngs of media have been featured in past conference tournaments. It is a highlight reel of college basketball that showcases the finest coaches and athletes in the nation.
All 11 teams participate in the men's tournament with the winner receiving the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The team that finishes atop the regular season standings is the Big Ten champion. The bracket will be seeded according to the final regular-season standings with the league champion earning the top seed and the top five finishers receiving first-round byes.
After eight years of Big Ten Tournament play, the conference has welcomed more than 779,000 fans and issued over 4,800 media credentials. Six different league representatives have become Big Ten Tournament champions, with Michigan State (1999, 2000) and Illinois (2003, 2005) claiming the honor twice along with triumphs by Michigan (1998), Iowa (2001), Ohio State (2002) and Wisconsin (2004). The strength and depth of the league have also been displayed, as the tournament final has featured teams seeded 11th, 9th, 8th and 6th, while the No. 4 seed has advanced to the championship game on three occasions.