2023 Big Ten women's basketball tournament: Here's who Michigan, Michigan State will play
Timing is everything.
For the first time in 30 Big Ten women’s basketball tournaments, Indiana enters as the No. 1 seed — just in time for the tourney to move from home-state Indianapolis, where it had been played every year since 2013, to Minneapolis.
The two teams from Michigan, meanwhile, will be hoping they have better timing at the Target Center than the top-seeded, No. 2-ranked Hoosiers, who dropped their finale Sunday to No. 6 Iowa on a Caitlin Clark buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Michigan women, ranked No. 17 in the USA TODAY Sports coaches poll, had the No. 5 seed locked in prior to their game Sunday afternoon on the road against in Wisconsin. That didn’t help against the Badgers, who shot 57.1% in the second half to upset the Wolverines. Michigan is fighting for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, which would bring first- and second-round games to Crisler Center for the second straight year.
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The Wolverines will likely need a couple wins in Minneapolis, though, as they entered Sunday at No. 19 in the NCAA’s NET rankings before their loss to the No. 121 Badgers. U-M will face the winner of Wednesday’s first-round game in Minneapolis, either Penn State or Minnesota. Michigan played both just once in the regular season, beating the Nittany Lions by 10 on Jan. 3 and the Golden Gophers by 36 on Jan. 29. Should Michigan win Thursday, it will face No. 4-seed Ohio State; the Buckeyes are ranked No. 15 in NET and swept the Wolverines decisively in Ann Arbor (74-61 on Feb. 20) and Columbus (66-57 on Dec. 31).
The Michigan State women are coming in hot; since losing to No. 3-seed Maryland on Feb. 18 in their first game following the campus shooting that killed three MSU students and seriously wounded another five, the Spartans have won twice, beating Minnesota by four on Wednesday and Penn State by 15 on Saturday. They’ll face a tougher task this week though: MSU opens Thursday’s second-round action against No. 8-seed Nebraska. The Cornhuskers dominated the first half against the Spartans on Feb. 2 in Lincoln before MSU rallied for a 71-67 loss. The winner of that game faces the Hoosiers, who were upset by the Spartans, 83-78, in East Lansing on Dec. 29 — Indiana’s only loss before Sunday’s stumble against Iowa.
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Here’s the full schedule for the tournament, which wraps up Sunday. The Big Ten squads will then have to wait a week for their NCAA futures, with the selection show slated for March 12 and the Final Four located in Dallas.
All games at Target Center, Minneapolis and televised on Big Ten Network, except where noted.
Game 1: No. 12 Penn State vs. No. 13 Minnesota, 2 p.m.
Game 2: No. 11 Rutgers vs. No. 14 Northwestern, approximately 4:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 8 Nebraska vs. No. 9 Michigan State, 12:30 p.m.
Game 4: No. 5 Michigan vs. Game 1 winner, approx.. 3 p.m.
Game 5: No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Wisconsin, 6:30 p.m.
Game 6: No. 6 Illinois vs. Game 2 winner, approx.. 9 p.m.
Game 7: No. 1 Indiana vs. Game 3 winner, 12:30 p.m.
Game 8: No. 4 Ohio State vs. Game 4 winner, approx.. 3 p.m.
Game 9: No. 2 Iowa vs. Game 5 winner, 6:30 p.m.
Game 10: No. 3 Maryland vs. Game 6 winner, approx.. 9 p.m.
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2:30 p.m.
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, approx.. 5 p.m.
Game 13: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 5 p.m., ESPN.
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