The Big Ten Conference is the oldest collegiate athletic conference in the United States dating back to the late 1890’s. The member universities are predominately Midwestern public schools with large student bodies. Only one conference member is a private institution (Northwestern), and only two have student enrollments of fewer than 30,000 (Northwestern and Nebraska). The Big Ten Conference has a long history of winning and challenging for national championships in a number of collegiate sports including football and basketball.
Despite the ‘Big Ten’ name, there are actually fourteen schools in the conference. Penn State would join the conference in 1990 followed by the University of Nebraska (2010), Rutgers (2013) and the University of Maryland (2013). Men’s lacrosse powerhouse Johns Hopkins is an associate member of the Big Ten in that sport alone. Conference universities have won a total of eleven NCAA Men’s Basketball championships led by the University of Nebraska with five titles.
THE BIG TEN COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT:
As is the case with all of the ‘power elite’ basketball conferences, the Big Ten basketball tournament attracts interest from all over the country. The conference began the postseason tournament in 1998 with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. In the past decade or so it’s become something of a tradition that the Big Ten tournament final is the last game played before the announcement of the ‘March Madness’ field.
Four Big Ten tournament champions advanced to reach the NCAA Final Four (Michigan State in 1999 and 2000, Illinois in 2005, Ohio State in 2007. The 2000 Michigan State Spartans are the only Big Ten tournament champions also to win the NCAA basketball championship. Big Ten Conference teams have also won the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) nine times.
WATCH THE 2015 BIG TEN BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT:
The 2015 Big Ten basketball tournament will take place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois beginning on Wednesday, March 11. The tournament currently alternates between Chicago and Indianapolis–the 2016 tournament will switch back to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The top ten teams in the regular season receive a bye with the top four teams receiving a ‘double bye’.
Four separate television networks will broadcast the 2015 Big Ten Tournament. First and second round games will air on ESPN2 and the Big Ten Network. Quarterfinal games will air on ESPN and the Big Ten Network. Saturday’s semifinal games and Sunday’s championship game will be presented by CBS. 2015 marks the first time that the Big Ten Network will broadcast conference basketball tournament games.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT LIVE ONLINE STREAMING ACCESS:
If you’re a cable/satellite TV subscriber in the United States you should be able to watch the entire Big Ten Tournament via the streaming platform of the individual networks. The Big Ten Network will live stream the tournament games that they broadcast online through the BTN.com website and with the BTN2Go mobile application. ESPN and ESPN2 games should be available on ESPN3, the streaming platform for all of the ESPN brands. The only question mark at this point is the CBS games. CBS owns a live streaming brand called ‘College Sports Live’ that features coverage from over 100 schools in 30 sports. So far, however, they’ve been very vague about their tournament streaming plans. If they do provide streaming coverage they are likely to offer the games on a pay per view basis as well as to their subscriber base.
International fans looking to enjoy live streaming coverage of the Big Ten basketball tournament will have to use alternative methods. The more tech savvy will be able to use a US proxy server to connect to the same streams listed above. ESPN3 offers PPV and subscription access to their live streaming platform to viewers in certain countries. There may also be international broadcast affiliates providing TV coverage in the countries they serve. In some cases, the same broadcast affiliates might serve live streaming as well.
ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO WATCH THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT:
US and International viewers that aren’t able to access a Big Ten basketball tournament live stream as outlined in this article will still be able to watch the action. There will be plenty of ‘unofficial’ live streams online throughout the conference and NCAA tournaments. To find these streams you’ll need to search on a live sports website such as ADTHE, FirstRowSports or SportsStream.TV. The web addresses of live streaming sites occasionally change and new sites come online. For that reason, a Google search is the best place to start.
There is an abundance of ways to watch the Big Ten college basketball tournament live streaming online. US cable, satellite, and broadband customers have the highest quality options and ability to stream on the most types of devices. International college hoops fans might not have it as easy, but they’ll definitely be able to find a stream to watch the action.