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.
The inaugural Big Ten Tournament was played at Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1995 and remained at that location until 1996, when it then relocated to the RCA Dome from 1997-99. The Tournament moved to Conseco Fieldhouse in 2000 and then left Indianapolis for a one-year stint in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2001. The Conference Tournament returned to Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse in 2002 and will remain at that venue through 2006.
Conseco Fieldhouse has provided a setting for historic Big Ten Tournament moments, most recently last year when the top two seeds met in the final for just the second time in the history of the Tournament. No. 2 seed Purdue defeated top-seeded Penn State, 59-58, in front of a record crowd, marking the third straight Big Ten Tournament Final that has been decided by three points or less. In front of a single-session record of 9,417 fans, the top two Big Ten teams battled until the final buzzer, while for the week, a Tournament record of 37,635 spectators witnessed Big Ten women's basketball at its finest.
Last year also marked the first time in Big Ten Tournament history the championship was decided by two teams ranked in the nation's top 10. Penn State entered the final game ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, while Purdue was seventh in both polls.
In the past decade of Big Ten Tournament play, the Conference has welcomed more than 283,000 fans, including over 256,000 spectators to the Indianapolis area. Four different League representatives have become Tournament champions. Purdue has captured the Big Ten Tournament Championship the past two seasons and will look for its second three-peat this season. The Boilermakers have won a League-best five titles, including three consecutive events from 1998-2000. Iowa and Penn State have each won two titles, while Indiana claimed its only title in 2002, as the fifth-seeded Hoosiers became the highest seed to clinch the Tournament crown.
Join us in celebrating our 10th year in Indianapolis and order your 2005 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament tickets today.