I’ve attended the past three years. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year, actually edging ahead of the opening days of the NCAA tournament. I used to live in Indy and those few days were just so much fun. A lot of friends. A lot of big bar tabs. And a lot of good basketball.
Having said that, it also left a really sour taste in my mouth toward the folks from Penn State who handle the seating. The first year we went, we ordered our tickets pretty late (like mid-February) and ended up 10 rows up behind one of the baskets. Amazing seats. Buuutttt, we also heard then from other Big Ten fans that many of them took advantage of our lack of basketball fanbase by ordering from Penn State each year. This meant we were surrounded by fans from other teams, rather than Penn State fans.
A year later (the NIT title year), I ordered my tickets first thing when I received the order form and informed the foks there the scheme being played by folks buying tickets from other schools. I was pretty kind, but said pretty clearly that I had an NLC number and I was truly a Penn State basketball fan living in Indy. Therefore, I hoped I’d be a touch closer with the actual people who were Penn State basketball fans. Well, I received my tickets and I was actually higher up than I was the previous year. Meanwhile, a friend of mine ordered four tickets from Penn State (having heard be complain about the strategy of other Big Ten fans). He ordered his tickets three weeks in advance of the tournament…I’d ordered well over three months in advance. Yep. You guessed it. He had seats that were FAR better than mine even though I had an NLC account. I was none too pleased. I met John Nitardi himself at the tournament and he actually gave me his two tickets to use for Penn State’s game against Purdue in the quarters as well as the rest of the tourney.
Lsat year, however, after sending another note and even calling to explain the situation, I experienced a similar situation. I had pretty good seats. Club level, even with the free throw line. But, of course, my friend swindled the system again and wound up front row of Conseco’s Club leve. The lesson…Penn State’s ticket folk flat didn’t care as long as someone bought the tickets. I’ve posted this before and I know it just sounds like complaining, but I’m just offering that as a warning before you buy tickets from Penn State. You’ll in all likelihood be surrounded by as many or more fans of other Big Ten fans. Two years ago in the opener against IU, I was told repeatedly to “sit down and shut up” during our Thursday rout of the Hoosiers by IU fans who were sitting in designated “Penn State” seats. That wasn’t much fun.
Aside from that, I can honestly say that the Big Ten tournament might be my favorite sporting event. I plan on being there this year, though I’m doubtful that I buy tickets from the Penn State ticket office. Rather, I’ll probably just scalp tickets. As long as Indiana isn’t amazing, there are plenty of affordable good seats available on the street.
I can offer plenty of other thoughts/advice on the tourney if you have more specific questions.