“Eighteen years, eighteen years. No Big Ten team has won the NCAA Tournament in eighteen years” — Kanye West [sort of].
Kanye knows what’s up. It’s been 18 years since a Big Ten team hoisted the NCAA Tournament Trophy. Michigan State, led by guards Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson (AKA Mo-Pete) defeated the Florida Gators 89-76 on April 3, 2000.
With a week-long hiatus between the end of Big Ten Tournament play and the start of the NCAA Tournament, commissioner Jim Delany hopes his conference can finally reclaim college basketball’s biggest prize.
Final Big Ten Bracketology
Final Record/Trophy: Big Ten regular season champions. 29-4, 16-2 in conference.
Biggest win(s): Versus North Carolina (neutral site), versus Purdue
Top players: Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Cassius Winston
Predicted seed: 2
Final Record: 28-6, 15-3 in conference
Biggest win(s): Versus Arizona (neutral site), sweep of Michigan in regular season.
Top players: Carsen Edwards, Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas
Predicted seed: 3
Final Record: 24-8, 15-3 in conference
Biggest win(s): Versus Michigan State, at Purdue
Top players: Keita Bates-Diop, JaeSean Tate
Predicted seed: 5
Final Record/Trophy: Big Ten Tournament Champions. 28-7, 13-5 in conference
Biggest win(s): At Texas, versus Michigan State, versus Ohio State, at Penn State
Top players: Mo Wagner, Charles Matthews, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman
Predicted seed: 4
On The Bubble
Final record: 21-13, 9-9 in conference
Biggest win(s): Ohio State three times (home, road and Big Ten Tournament)
Top players: Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, Josh Reaves
In or out?: Out. Penn State lost its final three games of the regular season, including failed opportunities in games against Purdue, Michigan and Nebraska. Penn State was right there, but just missed the cut. If they would have reached the Final of the Big Ten Tournament, the Nittany Lions would have a much stronger case.
Final record: 22-10, 13-5 in conference
Biggest win(s): vs. Michigan
Top players: James Palmer Jr., Isaac Copeland, Isaiah Roby
In or out?: Out. Nebraska really doesn't have a quality win aside from that home triumph over Michigan. The eye-test doesn't pass either. Yes, Nebraska won more games than Penn State, but Penn State is the better team on paper.