ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced the 2018 Big Ten Softball Tournament bracket on Sunday night, with Michigan earning the No. 1 seed following its 20th conference title and 10th in the past 11 seasons. The Wolverines clinched the outright Big Ten Championship on May 5 with a victory over Ohio State.
The 12-team, single-elimination tournament begins Thursday with first-round games and continues through Saturday’s championship game. This year’s tournament will be held at Goodman Diamond on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. The tournament champion will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
The top four seeds for this year’s Big Ten Tournament received byes into Friday’s quarterfinal round. Defending tournament champion Minnesota is the No. 2 seed, while Indiana earned the No. 3 seed and Northwestern is seeded No. 4.
The first pitch of the 2018 Big Ten Tournament will take place at 11 a.m. (CT) Thursday when tournament host and No. 7 seed Wisconsin faces No. 10 seed Purdue, with the winner advancing to play second-seeded Minnesota on Friday. Sixth-seeded Illinois and No. 11 seed Maryland will square off in Thursday’s second game at approximately 1:30 p.m., with the winner moving on to play No. 3 seed Indiana. The eighth seed, Michigan State takes on ninth-seeded Nebraska at approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with top seed and Big Ten Champion Michigan awaiting the winner. In the last of Thursday’s first-round games at approximately 7 p.m., No. 5 Ohio State meets No. 12 seed Iowa, as fourth-seeded Northwestern gets set to face the winner.
Friday’s quarterfinal games will begin at 11 a.m. (CT), with the four victorious schools reaching the semifinals. The first semifinal will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the second semifinal beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday. First pitch for Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Once again this season, BTN will televise all 11 games of the Big Ten Softball Tournament live, with each game also available on the BTN2Go platform, either online at btn2go.com or through the BTN2Go app.