clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

FACT CHECK: Tom Izzo’s claim of Illinois being the best 0-8 team in the world

New, 5 comments

We just wanted to double-check.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State defeated Illinois 87-74 on Monday night, pushing the Illini’s Big Ten record in 2018 to 0-8.

Spartans head coach Tom Izzo spoke highly of the Illini after the win.

Izzo called the Illini the “best 0-8 team in the world.”

That’s a pretty bold claim Izzo is making, and it should probably be double-checked.

Before delving into this topic, we’re assuming Izzo classifies “the world” as just “the (college basketball) world,” so we’ll just be looking at NCAA Division I teams.

To start, here’s the list of all of the still-winless teams in conference play this season in Division I.

  • South Florida 0-7 American
  • Pittsburgh 0-7 ACC
  • St. John’s 0-8 Big East
  • Northern Arizona 0-7 Big Sky
  • UC Riverside 0-5 Big West
  • Delaware State 0-7 MEAC
  • San Jose State 0-7 Mountain West
  • Chattanooga 0-7 Southern
  • Incarnate Word 0-7 Southland
  • Houston Baptist 0-7 Southland
  • Northwestern State 0-7 Southland
  • Mississippi Valley State 0-7 SWAC
  • Pepperdine 0-8 West Coast
  • Chicago State 0-5 WAC

For starters, we’re going to assume Illinois is better than the three Southland teams, Mississippi Valley State, Pepperdine, Delaware State, UC Riverside and Northern Arizona. Since Illinois flew past it’s low-major schools.

Here is our updated list.

  • South Florida 0-7 American
  • Pittsburgh 0-7 ACC
  • St. John’s 0-8 Big East
  • San Jose State 0-7 Mountain West
  • Pepperdine 0-8 West Coast
  • Chicago State 0-5 WAC

Illinois narrowly lost to New Mexico State in a neutral site game at the United Center in December. Chicago State is in the same conference as New Mexico State, and the Illini would likely sprint past the Cougars, so let’s count them out.

With that same logic, Illinois nearly beat Wake Forest at the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, and Wake Forest beat Syracuse who beat Pitt. So Illinois would be better than Pitt.

By more immediate logic, Illinois beat DePaul at the Gavitt Tip-Off Games, and DePaul has already beat St. John’s this season, so knock the Red Storm off.

An updated list:

  • South Florida 0-7 American
  • San Jose State 0-7 Mountain West
  • Pepperdine 0-8 West Coast

Pepperdine has three total wins this season, and it’s almost February. Illinois would beat them. San Jose State also has three wins, and that’s not good.

And that leaves South Florida, and by no means is South Florida the second-best team in the country that still does not have a conference win. The Bulls beat Florida Atlantic by 1, Stetson by 3 and Charlotte by 2 points this season. None of those teams scream ‘powerhouse.’

So an update list:

There’s nothing there.

There you have it. Illinois is the best 0-8 team in the world.

Thanks Tom Izzo for your nice comment.