A Conference Tournament Spotlight On: The Big 10

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Few conferences have as much history as the Big 10. With iconic names such as Bobby Knight, Magic Johnson and Chris Webber in the annals of conference history, it’s no surprise that there are many ferocious rivalries.

The Big 10 tournament is set to kick of March 10 at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, so let’s take a look at some of the best rivalries in the conference.

The Indiana-Purdue Rivalry:
These two are more than just in-state schools that don’t like each other. Both programs have been among the elite programs in the Big 10, having won an astounding 42 conference titles between the two of them. The rivalry has grown more even more recently, as Purdue has had a run of strong seasons.

Regular season history:  Although Indiana has won five national championships, Purdue holds the overall series lead with an 110-84 edge.

Post season history: The one time the two teams met in the post-season, it was a big one-Indiana downed Purdue 53-52 to capture the 1979 NIT crown.

Best games:  One of the most memorable games in recent memory was an epic, double-overtime battle on Purdue’s home court that saw Indiana come away with a 75-73 win. 

Best players:  Indiana has a long list of famous players, including 1993 National Player of the Year Calbert Cheaney and 2006 Conference Player of the Year D.J. White. As for Purdue, many of their best players are currently still active, including Robbie Hummel and JuJuan Johnson.

The Michigan State – Wisconsin Rivalry
This matchup has grown over the last decade or so thanks to the success of Spartans coach Tom Izzo and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.

Regular season history:  Michigan State leads the all-time series 68-59, but it has shifted in the Badgers’ favor as of late. Under Ryan, Wisconsin is 12-5 against the Spartans.

Post season history: It’s difficult to meet on a bigger stage than the one these two met on in 2000. Michigan State beat Wisconsin in the Final Four en route to winning the National Championship over Florida.

Best games: One of the most memorable contests between the two came in 2007 when then No.2 Wisconsin was upset 64-55 by an unranked Spartans team. Drew Neitzel had 28 points for Michigan State.

Best players: For the Spartans, the best player nod has to go to Magic Johnson, who led Michigan State to its first championship in 1979. As for Wisconsin, Alando Tucker is the school’s all-time leading scorer, while Devin Harris is the only alum currently in the NBA.