March 3, 2008
The 2008 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360 Live begins on Thursday as No. 7 Michigan takes on No. 10 Penn State at Noon ET. For the first time in the event's history, all 10 tournament games will be nationally televised with the first nine contests airing on the Big Ten Network and the championship game broadcast on ESPN2.
2008 BIG TEN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT PRESENTED BY XBOX 360 LIVE
In February 2006, the Big Ten and Xbox entered into a three-year sponsorship agreement, making Xbox the presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Single-session tickets for the tournament are on sale from $12-$16. In addition, all-session tickets can be purchased for $65. Fans can buy tickets through any Ticketmaster outlet, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone numbers (317-239-5151 in central Indiana), www.ticketmaster.com and the Conseco Fieldhouse box office.
The 2008 Big Ten Tournament presented by Xbox 360 Live will be held March 6-9 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. This year's event is the first since 2001 in which games will be played on four consecutive days.
FIVE YEARS IN INDY
This year marks the first of a five-year agreement that puts both the Big Ten Women's and Men's Basketball Tournaments in Indianapolis for each of the next five years. 2008 marks the seventh consecutive season the women's event has been held in the Circle City and the 13th time overall. The last time both tournaments were held in Indianapolis, in 2006, the women's event set records for overall and single-session attendance. This year marks the eighth time the women's tournament has been held in Conseco Fieldhouse, as it called the arena home in 2000 and since 2002. The tournament was held at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse from 1995-96 and at the RCA Dome from 1997-99. The tournament was held outside of Indianapolis just once, in 2001, when it was played in Grand Rapids, Mich.
OSU FIRST TO GRAB FOUR STRAIGHT NO. 1 SEEDS
For the first time in the history of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, a team will enter the event as the No. 1 seed for the fourth consecutive season. Ohio State and Iowa finished tied in the final conference standings with identical 13-5 records, but the Buckeyes took the seeding tiebreaker by virtue of head-to-head competition. Last season, Ohio State became the first team in the tournament's history to secure three consecutive No. 1 seeds. The top billing also gives the Buckeyes their sixth consecutive first-round bye.
NOTES ON THE NUMBER ONE SEED
Since 1995, the tournament's No. 1 seeds have won the event on just three occasions - Penn State (1995), Purdue (1999) and Ohio State (2006). Over the last 13 tournaments, the top seeds have a combined record of 21-10 (.677). Three of the last five No. 1 seeds, Purdue in 2002, Penn State in 2003 and Ohio State in 2005, dropped out in the semifinals.
GOOD TO BE NO. 2?
The No. 2 remains the event's leader in championships having won the tournament in 2004, 2005 and 2007. In the past 13 years, the second-seed has won the tournament five times, followed by the No. 1 (three wins) and the 3 and 4 seeds, which have each won the event twice. Purdue's 1998 squad and Indiana's 2002 team were both the fifth seed when they went on to capture the title as the lowest-seed ever.
BOILERMAKERS AVOID FIRST-DAY PLAY
With the No. 3 seed in this year's bracket, Purdue has maintained its streak of never having competed on the first day of the tournament. With exception of the 1996 and 1998 seasons, when Purdue earned the No. 4 seed, and in 2005 as the No. 5 seed, the Boilermakers had never been seeded outside of the top three since the inception of the tournament. The Boilermakers own a conference-best six Big Ten Tournament crowns (1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007) and have been the top seed on four occasions.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
In the 13 editions of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, one of the teams from the state of Indiana -- Purdue and Indiana -- has advanced to the championship game on 10 occasions, including nine of the last 10 years. Four of the last six tournament titles have gone to Indiana teams, as Purdue won the 2003, 2004 and 2007 events, while the Hoosiers were crowned champions in 2002. Purdue won its sixth Big Ten Tournament title last March, advancing through the bracket to defeat No. 1 Ohio State. The Hoosiers and Boilermakers are a combined 37-19 (.661) in Big Ten Tournament play since 1995 and 34-17 (.667) when the event is held in Indianapolis.
BIG TEN AIMS FOR ATTENDANCE MARKS
In 2006, the last year the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments were both held in Indianapolis, the women's event set several attendance marks, including for overall and average session attendance. The 2006 tournament welcomed a record 38,638 fans through the turnstiles for a record average of 7,728 per session. The 2006 tournament also set single-session records for Sessions 1 (6,015), 2 (7,493), 3 (7,681) and 4 (8,780).
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament games have been highly competitive in recent years. Since 2001, 32 of the 70 tournament games (46 percent) have been decided by a margin of eight points or less. In addition, last year's 12-point Purdue victory marked the first time in the event's history that the championship game was decided by a margin greater than 10 points.
The 2007 tournament final marked just the fourth time in the event's history that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds met in the championship game. Including last year, the No. 2 seed has won three of those contests as Purdue defeated Ohio State, 64-52.
THE NATION'S BEST
Last year's final was one of several Big Ten Tournament championship games to feature two of the nation's best teams. The matchup of No. 5 Ohio State and No. 12 Purdue marked the fourth consecutive and sixth time overall in the 13-year history of the event that two of the nation's top-15 teams met in the tournament final. In 2004, the championship game was decided by two teams in the nation's top 10 for the first and only time in the event's history. Penn State entered the game fifth in the Associated Press Poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, while Purdue was seventh in both polls.
2007 marked the ninth season overall and first since 2005 that two different teams claimed the Big Ten regular-season and the tournament titles. The only four teams to take home the regular-season and tournament crowns in the same season are the 1995 Penn State team, the 1999 Purdue squad, the 2005 Michigan State Spartans, and Ohio State in 2006.
EASY AS 1-2-3-4?
Only twice in the 13-year history of the Big Ten Tournament have the top four seeds advanced to the semifinals. In 2005, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Penn State and No. 4 Minnesota all advanced, while in 2000, top-seed Penn State, followed by Michigan, Purdue and Illinois, advanced to semifinal play.
The 2007-08 Big Ten title came down to the final date of competition with Iowa and Ohio State tied for first and Purdue one game back. Entering the final week of conference play, six teams were mathematically eligible for the Big Ten championship. No other conference in the nation had as many teams in contention for its title that late in the season.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
The 2007-08 season marked the first time in Big Ten history that the first through eighth teams in the conference standings were separated by only four games. It also marked the only time in conference history that the first-place team finished with five losses and that the team in the eighth position finished with nine wins. This year's bracket featured four ties among the top eight teams as tiebreakers were needed to determine the first, third, fifth and seventh seedings. In three of the four ties, the procedure moved beyond head-to-head competition.
BIG TEN TOURNEY WINS BREED NCAA SUCCESS
Recent history has shown that winning in the Big Ten Tournament breeds success for conference teams in the NCAA Tournament. Since 1995, the teams that have won the Big Ten Women's Tournament have combined to post a 29-12 (.707) record in the NCAA Championship. Purdue captured the conference's first-ever NCAA women's title in 1999 after winning the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed. Penn State appeared in the 2000 NCAA Final Four after finishing as the runner-up in that year's Big Ten Tournament, while Purdue made an appearance in the 2001 NCAA Championship title game after finishing second in that year's conference tournament. After competing in the 2004 Big Ten Tournament, Minnesota went on to its first Final Four appearance in school history. Michigan State, the 2005 conference tournament champion, entered NCAA play as a No. 1 seed and finished 5-1 after falling to Baylor in the national championship game. Last year, Purdue extended the Big Ten's Sweet 16 appearances streak to 23 years with the conference's 14th Elite Eight bid.
OHIO STATE EARNS 11TH CONFERENCE TITLE
With a win over Northwestern to close out the season on March 2, Ohio State tied with Iowa for first in the final conference standings, giving the Buckeyes their 11th overall and fourth consecutive Big Ten title. This year marks the sixth time in program history that Ohio State has shared the conference title with another team and the fourth time the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes have split the Big Ten crown.
HAWKEYES CLAIM NINTH BIG TEN CROWN
After finishing tied with Ohio State in the final Big Ten standings at 13-5, Iowa took home its ninth overall Big Ten title and the program's first since 1998. Iowa has finished as Big Ten Co-Champion on five occasions, four of which have been shared with Ohio State.