Whether you’re headed to your favorite sports bar or posted up by your living room TV, you know it’s every basketball fan’s favorite time of the year. Tournament time is upon us, and Swish Appeal has you covered with all you need to know to impress your friends at the bar, or show off to your Twitter followers from your couch…don’t worry, we won’t judge.
Here we go!
1. Ohio State (#1) enters this tournament locked in at the front of the pack, with an overall record of 13-3 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are on the fast track to the Quarterfinals, with their first tournament tip-off on Friday, when they play the winner of Purdue (#8) v. Rutgers (#9). The Buckeyes already have plenty to celebrate as they nabbed their 16th conference title, the most of any Big Ten team.
2. Staying on the Buckeye train, senior Kelsey Mitchell will be a significant player to watch this tournament for Ohio State. Not only was she named Big Player of the Year for the third season, but she also holds the Big Ten Tournament record for scoring, putting up 43 points as a sophomore in 2016 against Rutgers.
3. Big time scorers can be found all throughout the mix of these Big Ten teams. Keep an eye on Penn State (#11) junior, Teniya Page, who put up a massive 35-point performance in the tournament last year. Despite losing that game to Minnesota in the second round, Page set a tournament record for points scored in a loss with that stellar individual effort as an underclassman. Illinois needs to keep it tight on Page as they face the Nittany Lions in the first round on Wednesday.
4. Maryland (#2) enters this tournament as the reigning conference tournament champions, three years running. However, the typically dominant Terps had a rocky final two weeks of this year’s regular season, losing three straight games on the road.
This was unfamiliar territory for Maryland, considering that before this losing streak, the Terps only had four conference losses TOTAL since joining the Big Ten in 2014. As the second seed in this tournament, Maryland slides right into the Quarterfinals on Friday against the winner of Michigan State (#10) v. Indiana (#7).
5. Iowa is coming into this tournament hot, as they ride on a seven-game winning streak. They hop right over to the second round of the tournament on Thursday, as they await their opponent from the Wisconsin (#13) v. Northwestern (#12) first-round match up.
6. Third-seed Nebraska deserves a shining bright star sticker as they’ve been called “most improved” this year, with 13 more wins than they had last year at this point, including 10 more in conference.
7. The Cornhuskers are not only doing big things on the court, but also from the sidelines. Nebraska Head Coach, Amy Williams, made her name known in the conference, as she was unanimously voted Coach of the Year. In an interview with the Big Ten Network, Williams attested her success to her incredibly selfless coaching staff and her determined team of athletes.
8. Now we can’t forget about eighth seed Purdue; although they sit in the middle of the pack, the Boilermakers are led by Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, Ae’Rianna Harris. Harris is Purdue’s first athlete to be awarded this title in over a decade. She’s ranked in the top ten in the country with 3.1 blocks per game, as well as sixth in the conference for rebounds per game (8.0 RPG).
9. This year’s tournament is being held in Bankers Life Field House in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fun fact, this will also be the home of the 2021 NBA All-Star game…just an FYI if you want to get ahead of the game (literally).
10. Finally, this is the 25th Big Ten Women’s basketball tournament in history. Throw it back to 1982, when Ohio State won the very first Big Ten tournament by just three points to Illinois. The Buckeyes clearly like that #1 spot.
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