6th-seeds have won big at Big Ten tourney

Three best seeds at tourney have been 1, 2, and ... 6!

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Iowa is in a pretty good slot at the Big Ten men's basketball tournament for a team that went 9-9 in league play.

The Hawkeyes are the No. 6-seed, and open play in the tourney Thursday night against Northwestern.

The No. 6-seeds have won games in all of the 15 previous Big Ten tourneys but one, that in 1999.

Sixth-seeds have an overall record of 26-14, which is pretty terrific. That's second in winning percentage only to No. 1-seeds (27-8) and No. 2-seeds (22-10). I count the games that were vacated because of NCAA sanctions, so don't throw that at me. The games were played, the results were recorded.

No. 6-seeds have played the 11th-seeds in each of the tourneys, so they've had some help from that. The 6th-seeds have won 14 of those 15 games. But when 3-seeds have met 6-seeds in the quarterfinals, the lower-seed has won 8 of the 14 meetings.

That's not all. The No. 6-seed (Iowa) won the whole shooting match in 2001, taking four wins in four games. In 2010 and 2011, sixth-seeds Minnesota and Penn State, respectively, won three times to reach the league's title-game. Sixth-seeds have produced the tourney runner-up as often as any other seed, and only the 1 and 2 seeds have had more finalists.

Here are the records of the seeds. Again, all vacated games count in my records, and wouldn't have greatly influenced these numbers, anyway.

No. 1:  27-8, 7 titles

No. 2:  22-10, 5 titles

No. 3:  11-14, 1 title

No. 4:  12-14, 1 title

No. 5:  9-15, 0 titles

No. 6:  26-14, 1 title

No. 7:  10-15, 0 titles

No. 8:  15-15, 0 titles

No. 9:  6-15, 0 titles

No. 10:  10-15, 0 titles

No. 11:  3-15, 0 titles

No. 12:  0-1, 0 titles


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