The Huskers come to Chicago with a 14-17 record and the No. 10 seed following a 74-60 loss at Iowa last Saturday. Ray Gallegos led Nebraska with 22 points, including a career-high seven three-pointers. Look for the Huskers to rely on Gallegos and senior Dylan Talley. They’ve combined to average over 30 points per game in NU’s last five contests. Plus the Huskers will have Brandon Ubel this time around against Purdue.
Purdue, which starts three freshman, won three of its final regular-season games to claim the No. 7 seed. The Boilermakers are 15-16 following an 89-73 win over Minnesota on Saturday.
Thursday’s winner faces Ohio State Friday at 5:30 p.m.
For the first time since 1993, Indiana won the outright Big Ten Championship after a one-point road victory over Michigan last Sunday. The Hoosiers, with a 14-4 record, finished ahead of second-place finishers Michigan State and Ohio State, who each finished the season with 13-5 ledgers in conference play.
Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each secured byes to the quarterfinal round after earning top four seeds in this year’s tournament. The Hoosiers secured the top seed in the tournament, while Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin also earned first-round byes.
History has indicated that any team, regardless of seed, can advance to the tournament championship game. Tournament championship games have featured teams seeded as high as first, second and third and as low as eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th. Nine different schools have advanced to the tournament’s championship game. For the first time in conference history, the 2012 semifinals saw the top four seeds advance through to the semifinal round.
A pair of Big Ten coaches reached milestone wins in their respective season finales. Iowa’s Fran McCaffery reached 300 career victories to become the sixth active conference coach to reach the marker in the win over Nebraska and Purdue’s Matt Painter became the 10th active coach to reach the 200-wins mark. Tim Miles has also won more than 200 career games.