The Big Ten was once again among the premier college basketball conferences in America this year, which should make for an exciting tournament. With so many talented teams either battling to secure an NCAA berth or hoping to improve their seeding, it'll be a perfect start to March Madness.
There were six teams with at least 20 wins during the regular season, and all but two of the conference's teams finished with a winning record. That shows how competitive the four days of play should be leading up to Selection Sunday.
Here's a look at all of the key information for the Big Ten Tournament, followed by a complete schedule, a look at the top contenders and a predicted champion.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
When: Thursday, March 8 to Sunday, March 11
Watch: Early-round games on the Big Ten Network, ESPN2 or WatchESPN.com. Semifinals and Final on CBS Sports.
Bracket: Complete Big Ten Tournament Bracket
Full Schedule (via Big Ten website, all times ET)
Thursday, March 8
Game 1: No. 8 Iowa vs. No. 9 Illinois, 11:30 a.m., BTN
Game 2: No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Penn State, 25 minutes following Game 1 conclusion, BTN
Game 3: No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Minnesota, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4: No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Nebraska, 25 minutes following Game 3 conclusion, ESPN2
Friday, March 9
Game 5: No. 1 Michigan State vs. Game 1 Winner, Noon, ESPN
Game 6: No. 4 Wisconsin vs. Game 2 Winner, 25 minutes following Game 5 conclusion, ESPN
Game 7: No. 2 Michigan vs. Game 3 Winner, 6:30 p.m., BTN
Game 8: No. 3 Ohio State vs. Game 4 Winner, 25 minutes following Game 7 conclusion, BTN
Saturday, March 10
Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner, 1:40 p.m., CBS Sports
Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner, 25 minutes following Game 9 conclusion, CBS Sports
Sunday, March 11
Game 11: Tournament Championship, 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports
Teams to Watch
Ohio State Buckeyes
Jared Sullinger attracts most of the attention for Ohio State, and rightfully so. The dominant sophomore is averaging 17 points and nine rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field.
It's important not to overlook Deshaun Thomas and William Buford, though.
The duo helps keep defenses honest so they can't focus solely on slowing down Sullinger. They are also the only two players averaging more than one three-pointer per game, which will become important in tight-battle games over the next month.
As long as the Buckeyes get some semblance of production from players outside of the big three, they are going to be very difficult to beat.
Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans enter on a two-game losing streak, having lost to Indiana and Ohio State. That said, they are still one of the top contenders to cut down the nets on Sunday because their depth will keep them in every game they play.
Draymond Green leads the way, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. He's improved every season at Michigan State and has become a much more polished player in the post this year. Add in his ability to stretch the floor, and he becomes a nightmare matchup for any opposing forward.
If the guard trio of Keith Appling, Branden Dawson and Brandon Wood is able to limit its turnovers, the Spartans will be dangerous.
It's tough to call a team ranked inside the Top 25 a sleeper, but that's exactly what the Badgers are heading into the Big Ten tourney. They aren't getting as much respect as they usually do despite another solid campaign to this point.
Wisconsin's plan of attack remains the same. Bo Ryan wants his players to limit possessions, because he believes their efficiency will ultimately rise to the top. More often than not, he's right. So don't expect anything to change just because it's March.
Jordan Taylor leads the team in scoring, but if the Badgers are going to emerge from Indianapolis with the title, it will because their defense came up with key stops in the second half.
Ohio State Buckeyes
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