staff, February 26, 2012

The Big Ten Conference announced the bracket on Sunday for the 2012 Big Ten Women?s Basketball Tournament, with conference champion Penn State earning the No. 1 seed and one of four first-round byes. The tournament is set for Thursday-Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, previously known as Conseco Fieldhouse. BTN and BTN2Go will air the tournament's first 10 games, starting with No. 7 Michigan-No. 10 Illinois at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday. The championship game will be played at 4 p.m. ET Sunday.

[View the official Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament bracket]

After finishing the season with a 13-3 mark in Big Ten play, Penn State receives the tournament?s top seed for the fifth time in school history, and the first since 2004. The Lady Lions put together their second consecutive 20-win season, closing out the regular season with a 23-5 overall record. They will play their first tournament game in Friday?s second session at 6 p.m. ET.

Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue all put together 11-5 conference records, creating a four-way tie for second place. By virtue of their 3-0 combined record against other teams, the Buckeyes earned the tournament?s No. 2 seed. The Hawkeyes enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed, the Boilermakers receive the No. 4 seed and the Spartans earn the No. 5 seed.

Three-time defending tournament champion Ohio State enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed after compiling an 11-5 conference record and a 24-5 overall mark this season. The Buckeyes prevailed as the tournament?s fifth seed last season, which was the third time a No. 5 seed had won the tournament. They will face their first competition in Friday?s first game at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Iowa rounded out the campaign with a 19-10 overall record and heads to Indianapolis having won eight straight contests. This year?s tournament marks the fifth-straight season the Hawkeyes have received a top-four seed. Iowa will play in Friday?s second game, which is slated for 25 minutes after the first game?s completion.

Fourth-seeded Purdue finished the campaign with a 21-8 overall record, marking its 20th season of 20 or more wins in the last 24 seasons. The Boilermakers boast their highest seed since the 2009 tournament when they advanced to the tournament final. Their first tournament game is scheduled for approximately 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

Michigan State enters as the fifth seed after putting together a 19-10 overall mark this season. The Spartans will take on No. 12 Indiana in the final game of the first round at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Nebraska opens its first Big Ten Tournament as the No. 6 seed after finishing 10-6 in conference and 21-7 overall this season. The Huskers will take on No. 11 Northwestern in Thursday?s second tilt, scheduled for 25 minutes after the first game?s completion.

Michigan receives the No. 7 seed after closing out the regular season with an 8-8 record in conference play and a 19-10 overall record. The Wolverines will square off with No. 10 seed Illinois in the first game of the tournament on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Minnesota enters the tournament as the No. 8 seed and is slated to take on Wisconsin, which holds the No. 9 spot, in Thursday?s third contest. The Golden Gophers finished the regular season at 6-10 in Big Ten games and 14-16 overall. The Badgers own a 5-11 Big Ten record and a 9-19 overall mark.

Six conference teams have taken home the Big Ten Tournament title since the event?s inception in 1995, led by Purdue?s record seven titles (1998-99-00-03-04-07-08). Ohio State owns four tournament titles (2006-09-10-11), including three straight entering this year?s event. Iowa (1997-01) and Penn State (1995-96) have each won the title twice, while Indiana earned the crown in 2002 and Michigan State took home the title in 2005.

All-session ($70) and single-session ($10-16) tickets for the 2012 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament are still available and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at or by calling (800) 745-3000, and through the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office.