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March 8, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 9, 2011 - Coming of a regular season-ending road win at Minnesota on Sunday, Penn State (16-13; 9-9 Big Ten) will begin its final push for its first NCAA Tournament bid in 10 years Thursday when the Nittany Lions take on Indiana (12-19; 3-15 Big Ten) in a Big Ten Tournament first round game at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and air live on the Big Ten Network with Gus Johnson, Shon Morris and Charissa Thompson calling the action. The game can also be heard live on the Penn State Sports Network (1450 AM locally) with Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi.
The No. 6 seed Lions and No. 11 seed Hoosiers will be playing one of three first round Big Ten Tournament games on the day. The winner of the game will face No. 3 seed Wisconsin (23-7; 13-5 Big Ten) on Friday at approximately 9:00 p.m. Also squaring off in first round games will be No. 8 seed Northwestern (17-12; 7-11 Big Ten) facing No. 9 seed Minnesota (17-13; 6-12 Big Ten) at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2. No. 7 seed Michigan State (16-13; 9-9 Big Ten) will take on No. 10 seed Iowa (11-19; 4-14 Big Ten) at approximately 5:00 p.m. on ESPN2. No. 1 seed Ohio State (29-2; 16-2 Big Ten), No. 2 seed Purdue (25-6; 14-4 Big Ten) and No. 3 seed Wisconsin (23-7; 13-5 Big Ten) all received first round byes.
Penn State downed the Hoosier 69-60 in Bloomington to begin the Big Ten season back on Dec. 27 in the only meeting between the teams on the year. Jeff Brooks posted a career-high 23 points in that game and first-team All-Big Ten selection Talor Battle logged 19. The Lions have won five of the last six meetings with the Hoosiers, including a 66-51 victory in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis in 2009.
Battle will enter Thursday's contest with 2,119 career points, just 20 shy of surpassing Jesse Arnelle's Penn State career scoring record of 2,138 set in 1955. Battle finished second in the Big Ten in scoring on the year and is 15th in the NCAA averaging 20.4 ppg. Fellow senior Andrew Jones enters the Tournament with a career shooting percentage of 55.4 percent, on pace to be the second-best ever recorded by a Nittany Lion.
Penn State's No. 6 seed matches its highest ever in the Big Ten Tournament. The Lions were also a No. 6 seed in 2009 going 1-1 that year and losing in the quarterfinals, 79-65, to No. 3 seed Purdue. The Lions are 6-13 all-time in 14 Big Ten Tournament appearances and have twice advanced to the semifinals (2000 & 2001). Penn State is 2-8 in its last 10 Big Ten Tournament games and lost 76-55 to No. 6 seed Minnesota in the first round last year. The Lions are 4-9 in first round games having last won in the 2009 first round over Indiana. Penn State is 2-6 in six previous Tournaments held in Indianapolis, twice reaching the quarterfinals (2006 & 2009).
Indiana was led by 15 points from Verdell Jones III in the previous meeting this year in Bloomington. The Hoosiers lost eight straight games to close out the regular season, including a 72-48 defeat at Illinois in their last outing. Sophomore forward Christian Watford leads the Hoosiers scoring 16.0 points and grabbing 5.4 rebounds per game. The Hoosiers got wins over Minnesota (60-57), Illinois (52-49) and Michigan (80-61) in the Big Ten this year, all of them coming in Bloomington. The Hoosiers are 0-13 in games away from Bloomington on the season.
All-session and single-session tickets for the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament are on sale to the general public. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000, and through the Conseco Fieldhouse box office and www.consecofieldhouse.com.
For the men's tournament, single-session tickets range from $30 to $80 depending on session and seat location. All-session tickets are available for $220 or $165 depending on seat location, which represents a savings over purchasing single-session tickets for all five sessions. Orders will be limited to 12 all-session or single-session tickets.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will call Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse home through 2012. The 2011 tournament marks the seventh time Indianapolis has hosted the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The bracket for the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, along with information on tickets, travel, lodging, tournament history and more can be found at www.bigten.org and www.indianasportscorp.com.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Assistant Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.