WASHINGTON — Welcome to the Madness.
The NCAA tournament bracket was revealed on Selection Sunday, and the Big Ten has seven teams in the field of 68.
Most notable is the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for Northwestern, but after a shaky-at-times regular season for the league, eye-catching runs in this week's Big Ten Tournament by Michigan and Wisconsin have suddenly made the conference's chances of competing for a national championship look a little bit better.
Big Ten regular-season champion Purdue earned the highest seed of any team in the conference. The Boilermakers are the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region.
Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan ended up as the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, while runner-up Wisconsin is the No. 8 seed in the East Region.
The aforementioned Wildcats, who celebrated wildly at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, are the No. 8 seed in the West Region.
Three other teams made the field. Minnesota, which has flipped an 8-23 record from a season ago to a 24-9 mark heading into the Big Dance, is the No. 5 seed in the South Region. Maryland is the No. 6 seed in the West Region, and Michigan State is the No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region.
Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, three Big Ten teams some prognosticators considered to be on the bubble heading into championship week, all missed the cut.
The specific team-by-team matchups for the septet of Big Ten squads are included below along with the full NCAA tournament bracket.
No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech, Thursday in Buffalo
No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont, Thursday in Milwaukee
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State, Friday in Indianapolis
No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Miami, Friday in Tulsa
No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee, Thursday in Milwaukee
No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier, Thursday in Orlando
No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt, Thursday in Salt Lake City