INDIANAPOLIS — Nittany Lions, Rutgers and Buckeyes, oh my! All 14 women’s basketball teams of the Big Ten have descended on Indianapolis Wednesday ahead of the opening tip of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The sporting event joins the NFL Scouting Combine downtown, which began Tuesday, quickly followed by the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament starting next week and several games of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Oh, and the Pacers play in town next Tuesday as well…
All told, there will be 49 basketball games played inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the next 34 days. Visit Indy Senior Communications Manager Nate Swick says no better city – than Indy.
“This is really, truly, basketball central as we start the month of March on a really strong foot,” Swick said. “March in Indy is definitely basketball season, and we’re excited to be a part of it once again.”
Visit Indy says having the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament back in town has brought thousands of fans to The Circle City. They expect the busiest crowds to be during the championship game to top 7,000 inside the fieldhouse.
That’s not including the thousands already in town for the NFL Combine.
All told, Visit Indy believes the women’s tournament will tout $2 million into downtown businesses – which is big – especially when considering the event was canceled, thanks to the pandemic, in 2020.
“We are so excited to have both the Big Ten women’s and men’s basketball tournaments back in Indy this year. [It’s] for the first time since 2020 when the tournament was canceled because of COVID,” Swick said.
“We’re right in the heart of Big Ten country, and so all of these schools are within a day’s drive of Indianapolis so it really makes sense for this to be kind of the HQ for Big Ten women’s basketball, Big Ten men’s basketball…but we do roll out the red carpet and really make sure that everybody feels welcome… bring out that Hoosier Hospitality and we have such great relationships with these entities; like the Big Ten, that really make this a success.”
It all gets started Wednesday with the opening tip of the Big Ten Women’s Tourney when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Penn State Lady Lions at 2 p.m. followed by the Illinois Fighting Illini against the Wisconsin Badgers at 4 p.m.
A full slate of games is scheduled to follow Thursday and everyday culminating with the championship game Sunday.