A Michigan Sports Bettors Guide For Traveling To The Big Ten Tournament

Written By Drew Ellis on March 6, 2023 - Last Updated on March 7, 2023
Big Ten Tournament visitors guide.

A common mistake is that March Madness is limited to the NCAA Tournament.

The madness actually is very much alive this week, especially in Michigan. This week sees the 2023 Big Ten Tournament taking place.

Both Michigan and Michigan State will be vying for a conference title at the United Center in Chicago.

Plenty of Wolverine and Spartan fans will be making the trip to root on their squad. If you’re heading that way, here’s what you need to know about the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks.

2023 Big Ten Tournament schedule

The Big Ten Conference Tournament is a yearly postseason event. This year’s event begins on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday.

All 14 teams are included in the tournament. The winner receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Wednesday-Friday, the games will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. The semifinals on Saturday, and Sunday’s championship will air on CBS.

Here’s a look at the bracket.

Wednesday, March 8

  • G1: No. 13 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Wisconsin, 6:30 p.m.
  • G2: No. 14 Minnesota vs. No. 11 Nebraska, 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 9

  • G3: No. 9 Rutgers vs. No. 8 Michigan, noon
  • G4: G1 winner vs. No. 5 Iowa, 2:30 p.m.
  • G5: No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 7 Illinois, 6:30 p.m.
  • G6: G2 winner vs. No. 6 Maryland, 9 p.m.

Friday, March 10

  • G7: G3 winner vs. No. 1 Purdue, noon
  • G8: G4 winner vs. No. 4 Michigan State, 2:30 p.m.
  • G9: G5 winner vs. No. 2 Northwestern, 6:30 p.m.
  • G10: G6 winner vs. No. 3 Indiana, 9 p.m.

Saturday March 11

  • G11: G7 winner vs. G8 winner, 1 p.m.
  • G12: G9 winner vs. G10 winner, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 12

  • Championship Game, 3:30 p.m.

Michigan State (19-11, 11-8 Big Ten) seems to be firmly planted in the NCAA Tournament regardless of any outcome this week. Michigan (17-14, 11-9) isn’t in the same boat.

Following Sunday’s OT loss at Indiana, ESPN Bracketology lists Michigan among the “Next Four Out.” That means Michigan has to work past multiple teams to get an at-large bid in ESPN’s eyes.

That means the Wolverines need some solid wins this week, or even win the whole thing to make the NCAA Tournament.

Big Ten Tournament tickets

Tickets are still available for the Big Ten Tournament, and you can purchase them for one of seven sessions or the entire tournament.

Officially, they are available through Ticketmaster, but there are also tickets on Stubhub and SeatGeek.

Full tournament tickets start around $350. Single-session tickets vary wildly in price, as you can get into the early sessions for less than $5, while championship tickets start at around $60-$70.

Directions to the United Center

Chicago is conveniently located within driving distance of Michigan.

You can fly, but it’s a lot of money for a very short stint in the air.

If driving is completely out of the question, consider taking the train. Amtrak has a lot of options around the state that can get you to Chicago for a reasonable round-trip price.

Should you be hitting the road in your own vehicle, you likely have one of two options coming from Michigan.

  • Coming from the East: Most Michiganders will work their way onto I-94W, which will take you into Indiana. As you get into the Hoosier State, you will merge onto I-90W, a toll road. Continue onto I-90W until you reach I-290W, where you will merge. A few miles on I-290W will take you to exit 28A for Damen Ave. Turn right onto Damen Ave and in half a mile down the road, turn right onto Madison St. The United Center will be on your right at 1901 W Madison St.
  • Coming from the North: Should you be coming from the Upper Peninsula, work your way to US Hwy 41S. That will take you to I-43 S around Green Bay. Merge onto I-43 S. Take that for 125 miles and merge onto I-94 E. That will lead you into Chicago. Take exit 50A toward Ogden Ave. Take a right onto Ogden Ave and take that for a mile. You then turn right onto Madison St. The United Center will be on your left.

If staying in Chicago this week, you can use the Chicago Transit Authority to get to the arena. The Orange, Green, Purple or Brown lines all make stops at Madison St.

The No. 19 United Center Express Bus and No. 20 Madison Bus provide travel to and from the arena as well.

Parking at the United Center

United Center

The United Center advertises 11 different public parking lots on its parking map.

Lots, as well as the Uber lot, are open two hours and 30 minutes prior to the start of any event.

You are able to purchase parking spots in advance for most lots through Ticketmaster. Pre-purchased tickets are $4 cheaper than paying on-site.

On-site costs for the lots are:

  • Lot H: $42
  • Lots C&K: $31
  • Other Lots: $26

For those using Uber or other ride-sharing apps to get from the arena, you will be picked up at the Uber Zone, similar to where you are dropped off.

Does Illinois have legal sports betting?

If you are sports bettor in Michigan and making your way to Chicago, you can bet on sports in Illinois as well. Online sports betting in Illinois has been legal since 2020, which means you can bet on March Madness while at the Big Ten Tournament.

Top sportsbooks in Illinois are similar to the top Michigan sportsbooks.

Inside of the United Center, you will find the FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge, which opened last October.

The FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge features 1,300 square feet of LED screens and is a 2-story space on the south side of the United Center atrium.

Retail betting at the FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge is still awaiting approval from the Illinois Gaming Board, but online betting can be done anywhere in the arena.

What to know when visiting the United Center

Like Michigan’s pro sports venues, the United Center is a cashless venue.

Mobile ticketing is used to enter, and all merchandise, food and drinks will require digital payment.

Accepted at the United Center is Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or credit/debit cards.

The United Center has a wide variety of food and beverage options that should satisfy any dietary restrictions.

However, the concession workers at the United Center staged a walkout on Sunday and have an open-ended strike that could impact this week’s tournament.

Negotiations to end the strike are ongoing. Should it remain intact during the tournament, food and drink options will be limited.

A complete guide to dining options, as well as any questions you may have about what you are permitted to bring into the arena, can be answered here.

Photo by Darron Cummings / Associated Press
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Written by
Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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