Top seed Illinois looks for Big Ten Match Play title
Thursday, February 13, 2014
All 12 Big Ten teams will get a taste for what the conference has to offer at the Big Ten Match Play Friday through Saturday.
The tournament, which will be held at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., features first-round and quarterfinal matches on Friday and semifinal and final matches on Saturday.
Host school Northwestern heads into the competition as a three-time winner of the event (2010-12) and with a 16-2 record in the past five years at the Match Play. However, Illinois is the defending champion and No. 1 seed heading into this year's tournament.
The teams are seeded based on their final fall Golfstat rankings and placed in a bracket with the top four seeds receiving first-round byes. Losers move into a consolation bracket, affording each team at least two matches.
Here is the seeding: Illinois (1), Purdue (2), Northwestern (3), Iowa (4), Ohio State (5), Indiana (6), Minnesota (7), Michigan (8), Michigan State (9), Penn State (10), Wisconsin (11) and Nebraska (12).
"We're the only team who's ever been the No. 1 seed, but we've only won it once, so that shows how fleeting match play is," Illinois head coach Mike Small said in a release. "The first day, we're only going to play one match, which means one guy on our team won't play that first day. It's going to be frustrating for that guy to sit all day, so we'll have to find something for him to do to get some repetitions in. But it will be great to go down and compete against somebody different and build our competitiveness and lay the foundation for the spring."
Four teams in the field are slotted in the top 50 of the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings: No. 5 Illinois. No. 33 Northwestern, No. 42 Purdue and No. 46 Iowa.