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Can Penn State Make Some Noise in the Big Ten Tournament?

Penn State opens the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament on Thursday afternoon against the Indiana Hoosiers. For the Nittany Lions it will be a Big Ten record eighth time in Big Ten tournament history as the bottom seed (Northwestern is second with three bottom seeds). A tiebreaker with new member Nebraska gave the Cornhuskers the 11-seed, dropping Penn State to the 12-seed.

Clearly, Penn State has on their underdog shoes as the Big Ten converges in Indianapolis for this year's tournament.

Penn State dropped both games this season to the six-seed Indiana Hoosiers, and Penn State has never won a game in the Big Ten tournament as the bottom seed. In fact, the bottom seed has won just three games in tournament history, all picked up by Illinois in two separate seasons.

Only one bottom seed has reached the championship game, with the Illini doing so in 1999. The Illini also are the only other double-digit seed to reach the championship game, doing so in 2008 as the ten-seed after opening with a 64-63 victory against Penn State.

Penn State as Lower Seed

Penn State is 4-12 as a lower seed in the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, including a 0-6 mark as the bottom seed. In the opening round Penn State is 5-9 all-time.

Here is a breakdown by season...

  • 1998: Lost to Wisconsin as a higher seed in first round, 52-51
  • 1999: Lost to Northwestern as lower seed in 8-9 game, 54-44
  • 2000: Defeated Michigan in 8-9 game (76-66) and upset top seed Ohio State (71-66) before losing to #4 Illinois (94-44) in semifinal
  • 2001: Defetaed Michiagn as higher seed in 7-10 match-up (82-80), upset #2 Michigan State (65-63) before losing to Iowa, 94-74) in semifinal
  • 2002: Lost to Minnesota, 84-60, as bottom seed in opening round
  • 2003: Lost to Indiana, 77-49) as bottom seed in opening round
  • 2004: Lost to Northwestern, 57-52, as bottom seed in opening round
  • 2005: Lost to Ohio State, 72-69, as bottom seed in opening round
  • 2006: Defeated Northwestern in opening round as higher seed (60-42) but lost to top seed Ohio State 63-56 in quarterfinals
  • 2007: Lost to Illinois, 66-60, as bottom seed in opening round
  • 2008: Lost to Illinois as higher seed, 64-63, in 7-10 match-up
  • 2009: Defeated Indiana, 66-51, as higher seed in 6-11 match-up, then lost to #3 Purdue in quarterfinal, 79-65
  • 2010: Lost to Minnesota, 76-55, as bottom seed in opening round
  • 2011: Defeated 11-seed Indiana in opening round, 61-55, then upset #3 Wisconsin 36-33 and defeated #7 Michigan State, 61-48, to advance to Big Ten championship game, where they ran out of steam against top seed Ohio State, 71-60

Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament Pairings and Schedule

Michigan State is the top overall seed in this year's tournament. The Spartans are looking for their first tournament championship since 2000. Joining the Spartans with a bye in the first round are #2 Michigan, #3 Ohio State and #4 Wisconsin. Here is an updated schedule with team seeds and pairings.

Thursday, March 8

  • Game 1 - #8 Iowa vs. #9 Illinois,  11:30 a.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • Game 2 - #5 Indiana vs. #12 Penn State, 25 minutes after Game 1 (Big Ten Network)
  • Game 3 - #7 Northwestern vs. #10 Minnesota, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Game 4 - #6 Purdue vs. #11 Nebraska, 25 minutes after Game 3 (ESPN2)

Friday, March 9

  • Game 5 - #1 Michigan State vs. Game 1 winner, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Game 6 - #4 Wisconsin vs. Game 2 Winner, 25 minutes after Game 5 (ESPN)
  • Game 7 - #2 Michigan vs. Game 3 winner, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • Game 8 - #3 Ohio State vs. Game 4 Winner, 25 minutes after Game 7 (Big Ten Network)

Saturday, March 10

  • Big Ten Semifinal 1 - Winner of MSU vs. IOWA/ILL vs. Winner of WIS vs. IND/PSU, 1:40 p.m., CBS Sports
  • Big Ten Semifinal 2 - Winner of MICH vs. NW/MINN vs. Winner of OSU vs. PUR/NEB, 25 minutes after first semifinal game, CBS Sports

Sunday, March 11

  • Big Ten Championship Game - 3:30 p.m., CBS

You can view the entire bracket here.

Live Blog Notice

We will be hosting a live chat for Thursday's opening round game between the Nittany Lions and Hoosiers. We will open things up around 1 p.m. to catch the end of the first game, between Iowa and Illinois and lead up to the tip-off for Penn State-Indiana. You can sign up for an email reminder below.

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