Here we are. The B1G has crapped out of the NCAA tournament earlier than expected for a third consecutive year. How bad are things? They’re not good.
- Over the last three years, B1G teams have been involved in 12 upsets in the NCAA tournament going by the NCAA’s definition of an upset requiring a seed differential of 5 or more. In those games, the B1G is 3-9.
- The three B1G upset victories? (11) Michigan over (6) Colorado State last year (an upset in name only); (11) Michigan over (3) Tennessee last year (can I introduce you to Rick Barnes?); (7) Michigan State over (2) Marquette (who was not ranked to start the season).
- The seed breakdown of the nine upset losses by B1G teams? (11) UCLA over (1) Michigan, (8) Loyola-Chicago over (1) Illinois, (7) Oregon over (2) Iowa, (13) North Texas over (4) Purdue, (15) Oral Roberts over (2) Ohio State, (11) Iowa State over (3) Wisconsin, (12) Richmond over (5) Iowa, (15) Saint Peter’s over (3) Purdue, (16) Fairleigh-Dickinson over (1) Purdue.
- For the first time since the ‘94-’96 seasons, the conference has gone three straight years without placing a team in the Final Four.
- Over the last three years, the conference has ONE NCAA tournament victory at the Sweet 16 stage or later. Even though the conference didn’t place a team in the Sweet 16 in either ‘95 or ‘96 (I was there; it was awful. And, as usual, you can blame Purdue.), in ‘94 two teams made the Elite Eight. And, in ‘97 Minnesota made the Final Four.
You mileage may vary, but this is either the worst, or second worst, three-year stretch for the conference since the NCAA started allowing conferences to send multiple teams to the tournament.
It’s time to state the truth looking us in the face: Post-Covid, the B1G is a mid-major conference in hoops.
In the meantime, cast your eyes at Conference-USA.
- Florida Atlantic has advanced to the Elite Eight.
- UAB and North Texas have combined to go 6-0 in NIT play and they make up half of the NIT Final Four (exceeding the win total of the 3 B1G teams who got bids).
- Charlotte won the CBI.
Follow football (and volleyball) next fall. We’re all pot committed in terms of football, despite the misery it causes most of us. And the B1G is elite at volleyball.
In the winter, just pay attention to wrestling (Penn State won the title; B1G has five in top eight), men’s hockey (B1G has four of sixteen spots in tournament; Minnesota and Michigan are #1 and #3 overall seeds), and women’s hockey (Wisconsin won the title, three B1G teams in Final Four)
Ignore B1G basketball (women’s too, right Indiana fans?), and just choose some pesky mid-major to root for. Maybe I suggest giving C-USA a look?