March 2, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team will be a No. 5 seed in this week's upcoming Big Ten Tournament and will face fourth-seeded Minnesota in the quarterfinals Friday, March 7 at approximately 8:30 p.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Spartans (18-12, 10-8 Big Ten) tied Indiana for fifth place in the final conference standings, but earned the first-round bye on a tiebreaker. Michigan State and Indiana split their series during the regular season, but the Spartans owned a better record against the top two conference teams, Iowa and Ohio State. This is the sixth consecutive first-round bye for the Spartans.
Minnesota (20-10, 11-7) earned the No. 4 seed after defeating Michigan in the regular-season finale. MSU lost to the Gophers in the opening game of the Big Ten season, 74-63, on Dec. 28 at the Breslin Center. Minnesota also beat the Spartans at Williams Arena on Jan. 27, 81-69.
All-session tickets for the 2008 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360 Live are on sale for $65, while single-session tickets ($12-$16) are also available. Tickets are on sale at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at (317) 239-5151.
For the fourth consecutive season, Ohio State (22-7, 13-5) earned the No. 1 seed after finishing tied with Iowa (20-9, 13-5) for first in the final conference standings. The Buckeyes earned the top spot by virtue of a 2-0 record against the Hawkeyes.
Ohio State's No. 1 seed marks the first time in Big Ten history a team has captured four straight top billings. Last year, the Buckeyes became the first conference squad to accomplish the feat in three consecutive seasons. The conference championship marks the Buckeyes' 11th overall and fourth straight as Ohio State and Michigan State were named co-champions in 2005 before the Buckeyes earned outright titles in 2006 and 2007. The Big Ten championship is Iowa's ninth overall and first since 1998. The Hawkeyes are seeded second in this year's tournament, marking the team's highest slot since 2001 when the team went on to win the tournament title.
Ohio State receives a first-round bye for the sixth consecutive year and will play in the first game of Session 3 on Friday at 6 p.m. ET. The first-round bye is Iowa's first since 2006. The Hawkeyes will play in the first game of Session 2 on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Earning the No. 3 seed in this year's bracket, Purdue (15-14, 11-7) maintains its streak of never having played on the first day in the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament. The Boilermakers finished the regular season standings tied with Minnesota (20-10, 11-7) in Big Ten play, but earned the No. 3 spot by virtue of a tiebreaker. The Boilermakers and Golden Gophers went 1-1 in head-to-head competition, but Purdue boasted the better record against the top two conference teams. Purdue has earned a seeding within the top three in all but two Big Ten Tournaments.
As the No. 6 seed, Indiana (17-13, 10-8) will face No. 11 Northwestern (5-25, 1-17) in the second game of Session 1 on Thursday.
The No. 7 seed was also determined by a tiebreaker as Michigan (16-12, 9-9) and Wisconsin (16-12, 9-9) each finished with 9-9 marks in Big Ten action with the Wolverines earning the tiebreak advantage. The No. 7 seed is the highest for Michigan since 2004 when it also captured the No. 7 slot. The Wolverines will play the first game of the 2008 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360 against No. 10 Penn State (13-17, 4-14) at noon ET on Thursday. The Badgers will take on No. 9 Illinois (16-13, 8-10) in Thursday's third and final game.
Overall, the bracket for the 2008 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360 Live featured four ties among the top eight teams as the first, third, fifth and seventh seeds were decided by tiebreakers. Three of the four tiebreakers went beyond head-to-head competition and were decided by the teams' record against the top two conference teams - Iowa and Ohio State.
Since the first Big Ten Tournament in 1995, six teams have captured postseason titles with Purdue's six tournament titles (1998-99-2000-03-04-07) setting the Big Ten record. Iowa (1997-2001) and Penn State (1995-96) have each won the tournament twice, while Michigan State and Ohio State earned their first Big Ten Tournament title in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Indiana tied Purdue's 1998 squad as the lowest seed to win the event when the No. 5 Hoosiers defeated Penn State in the 2002 final for their lone title.
2008 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament Schedule
(note: All games will be televised on the Big Ten Network except Sunday's championship game, which will be televised on ESPN2)
Thursday, March 6:
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Penn State, Noon
No. 6 Indiana vs. No. 11 Northwestern, 2:30 p.m.
No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Illinois, 5 p.m.
Friday, March 7:
Michigan/Penn State vs. No. 2 Iowa, 11:30 a.m.
Indiana/Northwestern vs. No. 3 Purdue, 2 p.m.
Wisconsin/Illinois vs. No. 1 Ohio State, 6 p.m.
No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Minnesota, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8
Semifinals, 6 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 9
Championship, 5:30 p.m.