Who was the lowest seed to ever win the Big Ten Tournament?

How much of an uphil battle do the Iowa Hawkeyes have in the 2024 Big Ten Tournament?

Iowa v Illinois
Iowa v Illinois / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

When the 2024 Big Ten Tournament gets started on Wednesday, the betting favorite to take the tournament will naturally be the top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue won the Big Ten regular-season championship with a three-game buffer with a 16-3 conference record.

On top of the Boilermakers' dominance this season, they'll be looking to make back-to-back runs through the tournament as the one seed for consecutive tournament championships. Still, being the one seed does not guarantee a championship in the Big Ten Tournament.

Since its inception in 1998, the one seed is the most common winner of the Big Ten Tournament, winning 10 times. Seeds lower than the No. 2 spot have won it seven times, making for a fairly balanced playing field.

The Iowa Hawkeyes will, of course, be one of the seeds looking to make it an eighth time as they'll be the No. 7 seed in this year's tournament. That's an uphill battle, especially since winning from that deep in the pecking order is bordering on impossibly rare.

The Lowest Seed to Win the Big Ten Tournament

The lowest seed to ever win the Big Ten Tournament was Michigan in 2017 when the Wolverines marched through as the No. 8 seed. They beat No. 2 seed Wisconsin 71-56 to take the Big Ten Tournament championship that year.

Prior to Michigan's 2017 run, Iowa held the honor as the lowest seed to win the tournament, winning from the No. 6 spot in 2001. The Hawkeyes beat Indiana 67-64 that year to score their first of three Big Ten Tournament championships.

Those are the only instances of a seed lower than No. 5 to pull it off. However, on seven occasions, a seed at No. 6 or lower has reached the tournament finals. The lowest to do so was Illinois in 1999 as the No. 11 seed. In all of these occasions, however, these teams ran into a No. 1 or No. 2 seed and lost by an average of 14.7 points.

If Iowa manages to run the table, though, it would be an automatic qualifier to the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

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