ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference broke new ground Wednesday with a conference-record four women’s basketball programs (Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan) advancing to the Sweet 16 (regional semifinals) of the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio, Texas. The four Sweet 16 teams eclipses the previous Big Ten record of three that had been set on four prior occasions (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009).
Indiana (20-5) is making its second trip to the Sweet 16 and first since 1983, when the NCAA Tournament was a 36-team event. The Hoosiers are the No. 4 seed in the Mercado Region and advanced to this year’s Sweet 16 with wins over VCU (63-32) and Belmont (70-48), setting records for the fewest points allowed by a Big Ten program in a single game and in its first two games (80) at one NCAA Tournament. Indiana will take on top-seeded NC State in the regional semifinals at 6 p.m. (ET) Saturday live on ESPN2 and the ESPN app at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Iowa (20-9) has reached the Sweet 16 for the eighth time in program history and the third in its last four NCAA Tournament appearances, all under current head coach Lisa Bluder (2015, 2019, 2021). The Hawkeyes are the No. 5 seed in the River Walk Region and earned this year’s Sweet 16 berth by defeating Central Michigan (87-72) and Kentucky (86-72). Iowa next will play No. 1 seed UConn in the regional semifinals at 1 p.m (ET) Saturday on ABC, also at the Alamodome.
Big Ten Champion Maryland (26-2) has booked its 14th NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and ninth under head coach Brenda Frese, as well as its first since 2017. The Terrapins lead the nation in scoring offense at 91.8 points per game and rolled through their opening week at this year’s NCAA Tournament, defeating Mount St. Mary’s (98-45) and Alabama (100-64) while amassing the most combined points (198) a Big Ten team has ever scored through its first two NCAA Tournament games in a single year. As the second seed in the HemisFair Region, Maryland will square off with either No. 3 seed UCLA or No. 6 seed Texas in the Sweet 16 at 9 p.m. (ET) Sunday on ESPN2 and the ESPN app at the Alamodome.
Michigan (16-5) made history on Tuesday, earning the program’s first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 with a 70-55 win over Tennessee. The Wolverines, who are seeded sixth in the River Walk Region, also tipped off the tournament with an 87-66 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in the first round. Michigan will face No. 2 seed Baylor in the Sweet 16 at 3 p.m. (ET) Saturday on ABC at the Alamodome.
The Big Ten sent a total of seven teams to this year’s NCAA Tournament, tying a conference record for most bids in a single season (first set in 2012 and 2015). Northwestern was the No. 7 seed in the Alamo Region and defeated UCF in the first round, 62-51, collecting the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 1993. The Wildcats then nearly defeated No. 2 Louisville in the second round before falling late, 62-53.
Rutgers and Michigan State also earned NCAA Tournament berths this season. The Scarlet Knights dropped a narrow 69-66 first-round decision to BYU, while the Spartans were just edged out in the opening-round game by Iowa State, 79-75.