Six Conference Teams Prepare for Opening Rounds of NCAA Championship
Nov. 30, 2005
The Big Ten will six league teams to the NCAA Championship, which ties the Pac-10 and the SEC for the second-highest conference representation. The Big 12 will field seven teams.
This season marks the 11th time in league history the Big Ten has had six or more teams selected to the NCAA Championship. The conference sent a record eight teams to the NCAAs in 1999 and 2002 and boasted seven NCAA participants in 1995, 2003 and 2004.
The Big Ten is 51-30 (.630) with six participants in the tournament. In addition, the league is 40-21 (.656) when seven teams participate in the tournament and 22-15 (.595) when eight teams advance to postseason play.
The Big Ten holds an overall NCAA Championship record of 168-104 (.618), dating back to 1983. The conference has boasted a combined winning percentage of .600 or higher in 11 of the last 13 years and a .500 or better record in each of the past 14 tournaments.
With Minnesota defeating USC in the 2004 national semifinals, the Big Ten (15-7) recorded a league-best 15 wins in the NCAA Tournament. The conference posted previous bests of 14-7 records in both 1995 and 1999.
Ironically, this year's opening match between Wisconsin and Loyola (Chicago) is a rematch of the first-round match from last season where the Badgers defeated Loyola in three games.
Three Big Ten teams -- Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin -- will all serve as host for first and second round action for the second straight year. Penn State could potentially remain at home throughout regional competition as the Nittany Lions will host the third and fourth rounds in the State College Regional.
With five of the six Big Ten teams on the right-side of the bracket, there is a distinct possibility that a pair of conference teams will square up against one another in the later rounds. With Minnesota and Ohio State meeting in the 2004 regional finals, it marked the 10th time two conference teams battled against each other in the history of the NCAA Championship.
In 1999, Penn State (36-1) became the lone school in the league to win the NCAA Championship.
Of the six Big Ten squads in the NCAA field, four have an all-time winning percentage of .500 or better, led by Minnesota, which makes its 11th appearance with a 21-10 record (.677). Penn State follows at .652 (43-23) over 24 years, while Wisconsin's 13-year mark is 23-13 (.639). Ohio State's record of 23-15 (.605) spans 15 years, while Purdue is 7-8 (.467) over seven years and Northwestern is looking for its first win in six.