The 2011 Big Ten Tournament schedule is out, and the brackets are getting prepped. The 2011 Big Ten Conference Tournament will begin on March 10, and will work its way to an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten Conference has been one of the most competitive conferences this season, and with three teams that could potentially be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, this postseason tournament could be an extremely interesting one.
All 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference make it into the postseason tournament, and the first day serves as a play-in to decide which eight teams will be competing in the second round of the tournament. Teams ranked from No. 6 to No. 11 in the final Big Ten 2011 standings will play in those first round games on March 10 to decide who gets to play on March 11. There will be three games taking place on March 10, beginning with the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game at 2:30 p.m. EST. That will be followed 25 minutes later by the No. 7 vs. No. 10 game, then at 7:30 p.m. EST will be the No. 6 vs. No. 11 game.
Four games will take place on March 11, opening with the No. 1 vs. No. 8/No. 9 game at noon EST. It is nice to see that the top team gets to play the first game of the day, and it will be the first of two sets of games. The second game will take place 25 minutes after the first game, pitting No. 4 vs. No. 5, then the second set of games will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST between No. 2 and the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 10 game. The night will then end with the game of the No. 3 seed against the winner of the No. 6 vs. No. 11 game.
Television coverage is going to switch off and on between several networks, with the Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports airing at least two games. The first two games on March 10 will be on ESPN2, with the nightcap game on the Big Ten Network. Then on March 11, the first two games are on ESPN and the two night games will be on the Big Ten Network. Starting with the semifinals on Saturday and working through the championship game on Sunday, coverage will be on CBS Sports. Having three big games on CBS through the weekend should help draw a lot of national attention to the conference once again.
It’s up in the air which team will be favored to emerge as the champion of the postseason Big Ten Tournament, especially with three teams playing so well. Ohio State is ranked No. 3, Purdue is ranked No. 8, and Wisconsin is ranked No. 12 in the most recent AP poll, and any one of these teams could emerge with the title this year.
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