Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Nebraska are the top four seeds in the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, the conference office announced on Sunday night. The 17th annual event will be contested from March 13-16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
After winning the outright Big Ten Championship for the first time since 1986 with a 15-3 conference record, Michigan is the tournament's top seed and will open play at Noon ET on Friday. Wisconsin and Michigan State finished the year with matching 12-6 marks, but the Badgers' head-to-head win over the Spartans on Feb. 9 gave them the No. 2 seed. Wisconsin opens play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and earns a first-round bye for the 14th straight season, the longest streak in conference history. Michigan State is the No. 3 seed and begins tournament play at approximately 9 p.m. on Friday, while Nebraska knocked off the Badgers tonight to earn the No. 4 seed with an 11-7 conference record. The Cornhuskers begin postseason play at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
The opening session of the 2014 event begins at Noon on Thursday when No. 8 Indiana faces No. 9 Illinois and No. 5 Ohio State takes on No. 12 Purdue, with both games airing on BTN. Thursday's second session commences at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2 when No. 7 Minnesota squares off against No. 10 Penn State and No. 6 Iowa takes on No. 11 Northwestern. Indiana and Illinois each finished with 7-11 conference marks, but the Hoosiers' win over Michigan on Feb. 2 secured the higher seed. Penn State and Northwestern completed Big Ten play at 6-12, but the Nittany Lions' head-to-head victory over the Wildcats on March 6 gave Penn State the tiebreaker.
Friday's sessions also begin at Noon and 6:30 p.m., with the afternoon contests televised by ESPN or ESPN2, while the evening games will be carried by BTN. No. 1 Michigan takes on the Indiana-Illinois winner at Noon and No. 4 Nebraska takes on the winner of Ohio State and Purdue. No. 2 Wisconsin faces the Minnesota-Penn State victor, while No. 3 Michigan State will play the winner of Iowa-Northwestern.
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.
Six different programs have won the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State has claimed four official titles, including three of the last four years. Michigan State has won the tournament on three occasions, including the last time the event was held in Indianapolis in 2012. Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin have each won the championship twice, and Purdue has won the tournament once.
For the second straight year, the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is sold out, but fans can still reserve a face-value, premium ticket to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game through the TeamTix reservation system at bigten.teamtix.com.