Jan. 27, 2004
The return of the Big Ten Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments to Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse in March of 2004 means a reprise of the “Big Ten …Big Times” celebration of Big Ten Basketball.
Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis will be the site of the Women’s Tournament March 4-8 and the Men’s Tournament March 11-14.
Indianapolis last hosted both tournaments in 2002, becoming the first city to do so. Indianapolis has hosted the women’s tournament annually since 1995, with the exception of 2001.
“We are excited to return to the city of Indianapolis, the capital of amateur sports, for a two-week showcase of the best of Big Ten basketball,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “The state of Indiana has a true affection for the sport and that love of basketball produces a special atmosphere for this event. Previous Big Ten Tournaments in Indianapolis have been a rewarding experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans and we expect more of the same in 2004.”
The “Big Ten . . . Big Times” theme established in 2002 will be carried over into 2004. Some of the activities included the re-naming of downtown streets in honor of the 11 Big Ten universities, a “Big Ten Fight Song Karaoke Night,” pre-game pep rallies and signage throughout the downtown area.
“We received wonderfully positive feedback from our efforts in 2002 and again in 2003 for the women’s tournament,” said Amy Minick Peterson, co-chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee.
“Our goal is to take what we have done and improve on it, while using our creativity to come up with new ways to enhance the fun and festivity of the tournament environment.”
Of course, basketball will be the main ingredient, and with an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament on the line, competition is certain to be intense.
Indiana won the women’s tournament in 2002 while Purdue captured the 2003 title. In the 2002 men’s tournament Ohio State defeated Iowa in the championship game. The defending men’s tournament champion is Illinois, which claimed the 2003 title in Chicago’s United Center.
Another star of the Big Ten Tournaments in Indianapolis is Conseco Fieldhouse, the arena that opened in 1999 to reviews as the best basketball facility in the world. The retro-style arena combines the tradition of historic Indiana gymnasiums with the modern amenities of a world-class facility.
“We look forward to welcoming back the women’s and men’s tournaments to Indianapolis,” said Conseco Fieldhouse Executive Director Rick Fuson. “We consider it an honor to be able to present the best in intercollegiate women’s and men’s basketball in the inspiring setting of the fieldhouse.”
Indiana won the women’s tournament in 2002 while Purdue captured the 2003 title. In the 2002 men’s tournament, Ohio State defeated Iowa in the championship game. The defending men’s tournament champion is Illinois, which claimed the 2003 title in Chicago’s United Center.
As has been the case with the women’s tournament, the three first-round games will be played on Thursday, March 4, and the quarterfinals on Friday, March 5. The tournament will then take a day off to allow Conseco Fieldhouse to host the Indiana girls high school state championships on Saturday, March 6.
The women’s tournament semifinals will be on Sunday, March 7, and the championship game on Monday, March 8.
The men’s tournament will begin with the three first-round games on Thursday, March 11, followed by the quarterfinals on Friday, March 12; the semifinals on Saturday, march 13, and the championship game on Sunday, March 14.
All-session ticket orders for both tournaments can be placed with the university athletic ticket offices. All-session public ticket sales for the women’s tournament will begin in mid-November with single-session ticket sales for the women’s tournament beginning in February. For the men’s tournament, unsold tickets from institutional allotments, if any, will be made available for public sale in January.
Attendance for the women’s tournament the past two years in Indianapolis has eclipsed the 30,000 mark, with a record 35,846 fans (an average of 7,169 per session) turning out in 2002. The men’s tournament drew 94,402 fans (an average of 18,880 per session) in 2002.