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Ohio State earns No. 1 seed for fifth time in tournament history.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Ohio State earns No. 1 seed for fifth time in tournament history. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.


The Big Ten announced on Sunday the bracket for the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, which will be played Thursday through Sunday, March 10-13, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Ohio State is the No. 1 seed for the fifth time in history after winning the outright conference title with a 16-2 Big Ten record. Purdue earns the No. 2 seed with a 14-4 record, while Wisconsin is the No. 3 seed at 13-5. No. 4 Michigan (9-9) and No. 5 Illinois (9-9) also earned first-round byes.


The tournament will tip off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 10, as No. 8 Northwestern (7-11) takes on No. 9 Minnesota (6-12) on ESPN2. The second game will feature No. 7 Michigan State (9-9) vs. No. 10 Iowa (4-14) on ESPN2. The final game of the day will be between No. 6 Penn State (9-9) and No. 11 Indiana (3-15), broadcast on the Big Ten Network.


Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State all tied for fourth in the conference standings, but the Wolverines earned the top spot in the tiebreaker with a 4-1 record against the other three teams tied for fourth. Illinois had the second-best winning percentage in the group, going 3-2, while Michigan State and Penn State each had 2-4 records among the other tied teams. Penn State earned the No. 6 seed by virtue of its 1-0 record against Iowa.

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The second day of the tournament begins with Ohio State taking on the winner of the Northwestern-Minnesota matchup at Noon ET on ESPN. The second game of the day features No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 5 Illinois, also on ESPN. The second session of the day matches No. 2 Purdue with the winner of the Michigan State-Iowa game at 6:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. Friday’s games conclude with No. 3 Wisconsin facing the winner of the Penn State-Indiana game, also on the Big Ten Network.


Big Ten Tournament semifinal games will be played on Saturday, beginning at 1:40 p.m. ET on CBS Sports. The championship game tips off at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday and will also be broadcast by CBS Sports.


Ohio State’s Big Ten title is the program’s second consecutive, fourth in the last six years and 19th overall. The Buckeyes were the No. 1 seed in the 2010 tournament, eventually winning the program’s second event championship. Purdue is making its second consecutive and third overall appearance as the No. 2 seed. The Boilermakers are looking for their second tournament title and received a first-round bye for the fifth straight season. Wisconsin earns the No. 3 seed for the second time and earns a first-round bye for the 11th straight year. The Badgers are seeking their third tournament title, most recently having won the event in 2008. Michigan earns its highest spot in the bracket since 2003 when the Wolverines were seeded third, and its first first-round bye since 2004, when the team held the No. 5 spot. Illinois earns a first-round bye for the third straight season and is the No. 5 seed in the bracket for the second year in a row.


Since the first Big Ten Tournament in 1998, six teams have captured the event’s title with Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each owning two tournament trophies. Purdue also has one tournament title. Tournament championship games have featured teams seeded as high as first, second and third and as low as eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th. Eight different schools have advanced to the tournament’s championship game.