Big Ten sets conference record for most teams selected to the 2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament with Nine

Sun, Mar 14, 2021

ROSEMONT, Ill. — A record-setting nine Big Ten schools have been chosen to compete in the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship, it was announced Sunday on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Show on CBS. Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin will all be taking part in this year’s tournament. All games will be televised on CBS Sports, TBS, TNT or truTV.

This year’s group of nine Big Ten schools in the NCAA Tournament surpasses the previous conference record of eight NCAA Tournament participants, set in 2019. This marks just the fifth time ever that a conference has secured at least nine bids to the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten’s nine bids trail only the Big East in 2011, when the conference sent a record 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament. 

Illinois secured the Big Ten’s automatic qualifier into the tournament and a No. 1 seed after defeating Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament championship. Illinois captured its third-ever Big Ten Tournament title and its first since 2005. The Illini will be the No. 1 seed in the Midwest bracket of the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 16 Drexel on March 19.

In addition to Illinois, Michigan was awarded another of the tournament’s four No. 1 seeds and will play in the East bracket after finishing as Big Ten regular-season champions for the 15th time in school history. The Wolverines finished the regular season 19-3 overall and 14-3 in conference play before advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines will open tournament play on March 20 against the winner of the Mount St. Mary’s-Texas Southern First Four matchup on March 18.

Both Iowa and Ohio State earned No. 2 seeds in the tournament and were placed in the West and South brackets, respectively. The Hawkeyes will take on No. 15 Grand Canyon on March 20, while the Buckeyes will face No. 15 Oral Roberts on March 19.

No. 4 Purdue was placed in the South bracket and will play No. 13 North Texas on March 19. Elsewhere in the South bracket, No. 9 Wisconsin will also open tournament play on March 19 with a contest against No. 8 North Carolina.

Two Big Ten teams, Maryland and Rutgers, earned No. 10 seeds in the tournament. Maryland will compete in the East bracket and open its tournament on March 20 against No. 7 Connecticut. Rutgers will play in the Midwest bracket and faces No. 7 Clemson on March 19.

The Big Ten’s final tournament team, No. 11 Michigan State, will tip off the tournament on March 18 with a First Four contest against No. 11 UCLA. With a victory, the Spartans would advance to play No. 6 BYU in the East bracket on March 20.


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