The eyes of the Midwest will be on the United Center in Chicago, Illinois when the 2016 Big Ten basketball tournament begins on Thursday, March 14th. The championship game for one of the toughest conferences in the nation will take place on March 17th. Fans and basketball enthusiasts can get a Big Ten tournament bracket sheet here. The brackets are free and can be downloaded instantly below.
Big Ten Basketball Tournament History
The Big Ten tournament has only been in existence since 1998. That year, tournament Most Valuable Player Robert “Tractor” Traylor led the Michigan Wolverines to a 76-67 victory over Purdue in the first-ever championship game in Chicago. However, Michigan later vacated the victory after a scandal involving booster Ed Martin.
Michigan State and Ohio State have captured the tournament crown three times apiece. The Spartans sunk the Buckeyes in the 2012 final, while Ohio State won the title in both 2010 and 2011. After winning the tournament in 2000, Michigan State went on to win the national championship.
Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa have each won the title twice. Purdue has the only other recognized tournament win. At #6, Iowa was the lowest seed to ever win the tournament in 2001.
Future NBA players Mateen Cleaves and Reggie Evans are among those who won Big Ten tournament MVP honors. Others include Brian Cook, Devin Harris, Mike Conley Jr., Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and Draymond Green.
The first four tournaments were held at the United Center, while Conseco Fieldhouse/Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana has also hosted the event eight times.
The history of the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament actually pre-dates that of the men. The first women’s event took place at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Penn State slipped past Ohio State, 68-63, in the first championship game. The Nittany Lions also won the tournament the following year. Purdue has won a league-best eight tournament titles, the last of which came in 2012. Ohio State has won a four tournament titles with the last coming in 2011. To 2012, the tournament had been won by either of the two schools every year since 2006.
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