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Two Decades of Not Quite, Part IV

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We discuss the three schools who have had the most opportunities to disappoint the conference.

Banners hang forever, right? Even pre-WWII ones?

Michigan Man

3. Michigan Wolverines: 22 wins since 2000

Yes, Michigan jumped into 3rd place this year. Don’t like it Buckeyes? Don’t lose to Oral Roberts. 20 wins in the last 8 tournaments deserves some credit. A lot more credit than being 1-6 in NCAA title games. For crying out loud, Wolverines, nobody is making you match Bo Schembechler’s Rose Bowl record, okay? I mean, that would require winning a second title.

Wait, do you hear that? Off in the distance? Dozens of voices not-quite-harmonizing, but with a clear, unmistakable lament...RRRREFFFFFFFFSSSSSS!!! Ah, yes, Michigan fan won’t let you forget 2013. True, Trey Burke did cleanly block Peyton Siva and was wrongly called for a foul...with over 5:00 left to play. On the other hand, the only reason Michigan isn’t 0-7 in title games is this bullshit:

Get Off My Lawn: Yes, let’s talk about that 1989 Michigan team again. For all the grief my tightly-wound acquaintance has thrown Lou Henson’s way, the reality is that Bill Frieder made Lou Henson look like Gary Kasparov in terms of strategic acumen. Michigan was a lot more than Glen Rice that year. Five different guys on their roster averaged double-digit scoring and each had at least 1,000 points the NBA. The common memory is that Illinois had the most talented team and Michigan just played great that one Saturday in April. The more accurate way of describing it might be that Michigan was doing a truly world-class bit of under-achieving (they were #3 preseason!), before Bill Frieder’s decision to leave for Arizona State inadvertently galvanized a roster that had just been blown out by Illinois in Crisler on Senior Day.

And it’s not as if they gelled and went on some run of dominance. 14-seed Xavier led them with under 4:00 in the first round. They were tied with 11-seed South Alabama with under 3:00 to play in the 2nd round. Rice, Vaught, Mills, Robinson, and Higgins scored over 36,000 points in their NBA careers (The Flying Illini quintet of NBA players scored over 27,000; The Fab Five scored over 47,000). Has any champion since the field expanded to 64 scored more? [ed. Yes. 1996 Kentucky and 2001 Duke, and those teams are both remembered as powerhouses.] Seton Hall’s roster from the title game scored 2,567 NBA points, and 1,958 of them came from Anthony Avent, who played 11 minutes that night. I guess now we know why P.J. Carlesimo was chosen as an assistant coach for the Dream Team.

Poll

You’ve been hit on the head and placed in a time machine. You don’t know what year you’re headed to, but you’re told that you can take one CBB coach with you. Which head man that vanquished Michigan in a title game are you taking with you?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    John Wooden
    (53 votes)
  • 9%
    Bob Knight
    (10 votes)
  • 11%
    Mike Krzyzewski
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    Dean Smith
    (5 votes)
  • 9%
    Rick Pitino
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    Jay Wright
    (15 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now
Does Kiwi cool trump UW’s boring style? Don’t answer that.

2. Wisconsin Badgers: 30 wins since 2000

Welcome to the countdown team “Purdue + 5%.” The REFS!!! brigade in Madison will claw your ear off discussing 1st half/2nd half foul discrepancies in the 2015 title game, but if UW could’ve stopped Ty Jones from penetrating, it would’ve been irrelevant. And, really, Kaminsky DNP (concussion) or no Kaminsky DNP, do you really want to live in a world where the national champs lost to a team who went 2-16 in conference play, including 0-15 to end the season?

[drstre mentioned in the comments to a previous entry that the 2015 Badgers had to play the best possible seed each round of their run, including KenPom #10 UNC in the Sweet 16, #4 Arizona in the Elite Eight, all-time KenPom #1 Kentucky in the Final Four and #3 Duke in the title game. THAT was my acquaintance’s reference in the Maryland discussion. Nobody has ever had a tougher run. I’m sure you all feel bad for Bo Ryan.]

Get Off My Lawn: Since we’re bringing up KenPom, can we talk about the toughest regional ever? 2004, UW blows out Illinois to win the B1G tournament...and gets a 6-seed. So the East that year featured teams that finished 3, 4, 5, and 6 in KenPom’s rankings. That said, before you let Badger fan whine too much, realize that the committee did send UW to Milwaukee. Pitt—who for the 3rd straight year got a top-3 seed and couldn’t get past the Sweet 16—was able to defeat the Badgers despite shooting 21-59 from the field. It’s almost as if the basketball gods were pre-emptively providing satisfaction to B1G fans who would grow tired of UW’s “physical” defense. From 2003-2005, UW’s season ended at the hands of a very physical Kentucky squad (Marquis Estill had 28), the aforementioned Pitt team (remember Chevon Troutman (6’7”, 240) and Chris Taft (6’10”, 260)?), then UNC, with Scott May bulling his way to 29 and 12. In a sense, it’s a microcosm for this whole damn series: a B1G team asserts itself physically in the regular season, but then runs into a real bully when it leaves its home neighborhood.

Poll

Toughest poll yet, but can only provide one answer: Why do you MOST hate Wisconsin

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Bo Ryan
    (15 votes)
  • 24%
    Brad Davison
    (26 votes)
  • 0%
    Physical defense
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    Plodding Offense
    (11 votes)
  • 50%
    General trauma that their shit actually works for them
    (53 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now
In retrospect, is this man a wizard who placed a curse on his way out the door?

1. Michigan State Spartans: 40 wins since 2000

Dean Smith didn’t win a national title until his 7th Final Four appearance. So MSU’s streak of six Final Four appearances without a title is only tied for worst ever. Since Houston just made their 6th Final Four, you might get more company. If Wisconsin is Purdue + 5%, does that make Sparty UW +5%? True, those Final Four runs ended at the hands of Lute Olson, Roy Williams (x2), Brad Stevens, Mike Krzyzewksi, and Chris Beard, so maybe a little slack should be cut. Then again, Tom Izzo is supposed to be pretty good, too, right?

More damning, frankly, is a different, more eclectic list:

-Giving Rick Barnes his only Final Four appearance

-Giving up a 9 point second half lead (85.6% win probability) to Kevin Ollie

-Whatever the hell explains the MTSU faceplant in 2016

-Being flummoxed by 11-seed Syracuse’s zone despite there being 40+ years of tape on it. (Nobody from that Syracuse team made the NBA. You basically lost to 2000 Wisconsin)

Things look a lot different than they did in 2000. Back then, Napster was just becoming a thing. Before that, people had record/cassette/CD collections. Occasionally you’d go through yours and see a record from an act that was still putting out musical regularly, but you just knew would never match the peak of their early work. Why do I mention this? No reason.

Get Off My Lawn: Here we are, at the end of this cursed countdown. It’s sad enough that it’s 21 years and counting without a B1G title. But, and holy shit, do you realize that but for a whistle-happy ref in ‘89 and Kenyon Martin getting hurt, we’d be looking at 34 years and counting? How pathetic is that? Am I certain that Cincinnati wins it all in 2000? No. But I do know that people like to point out that MSU won all their tournament games by double-digits to imply they went on a rampage or something, when the fact of the matter is that MSU trailed Utah at halftime in the 2nd round; trailed Syracuse by 14 in the 2nd half in the Sweet 16, and were down 6 to Iowa State with less than 5:00 to play in the Elite Eight, with the latter two games being played in Auburn Hills. When it’s going well, you think you’ll be on top forever, but sooner or later, you gotta realize that time passes, right?

Right?

Poll

Who will be the next B1G team to win the NCAA title in men’s basketball?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Michigan State
    (21 votes)
  • 20%
    Michigan
    (32 votes)
  • 6%
    Wisconsin
    (10 votes)
  • 16%
    Purdue
    (25 votes)
  • 6%
    Illinois
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    Ohio State
    (9 votes)
  • 18%
    Other
    (28 votes)
  • 11%
    Praying for expansion
    (18 votes)
153 votes total Vote Now