The Big Ten women's basketball regular season came to a close Sunday, and that means it's Big Ten Tournament time. The women's tournament will tip off Wednesday at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and like the men's version, is a five-day event comprising five rounds of games. Ten of the 14 teams get at least single byes, and four of those 10 get double byes.
Northwestern fell to No. 5 and Big Ten regular season champion Maryland Sunday, but based on results elsewhere, the Wildcats finished as the 4-seed and claimed the last of those double byes. That means the Wildcats will open their Big Ten Tournament campaign Friday against either Rutgers, Indiana or Penn State.
Here is the full bracket, complete with game times and TV information:
(Bracket via the Big Ten Conference's press release)
The double bye is nice, but it's actually a bit of a rough draw for the Wildcats. Northwestern would likely have to beat both Rutgers and Maryland just to get to Sunday. And while Joe McKeown's team did dominate Rutgers this past Thursday, beating Maryland a day later would be an incredibly tough ask.
The good news though is that, barring an improbable run from either Penn State or Indiana, there isn't anything that could scar Northwestern's NCAA Tournament résumé. Maybe a loss to Rutgers could knock them down one seed line, but it wouldn't be catastrophic. And a loss to Maryland certainly wouldn't do any damage. We'll have a bracketology update tomorrow, but the Wildcats are sitting pretty.