Michigan is the Big Ten's last hope for a Final Four team
Some thought we might have an all-Big Ten Final Four. We might have a Big Ten-less Final Four.
LOS ANGELES -- It's on you, Michigan.
With Ohio State getting bounced by 9-seed Wichita State in the West Regional final on Saturday night, only one Big Ten team remains in the NCAA tournament. Four were still in the mix after the first weekend, but Indiana and Michigan State both lost in the Sweet 16.
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As a result, there's one team left from the nation's most powerful conference.
And it's Michigan, which tied for fourth place in the conference and received a No. 4 seed in the big dance. The Wolverines were probably not the pick by most to be the last Big Ten team standing, as they had won just two of their final seven games away from home -- with the wins coming over Purdue and Penn State, not exactly NCAA tournament competition.
Yet, we have just six teams still playing for the right to win a national championship, and only one is from the Big Ten.
Of course, we will hear the talk that the conference was overrated throughout the season, but that's probably not true. Getting seven of 12 teams into the NCAA tournament is certainly an accomplishment, especially when four of those teams were seeded fifth or higher.
But people will see that Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin all lost to lower-seeded teams. They will see what people thought could be a tournament with an all-Big Ten Final Four could be a tournament sans a Big Ten team.
If Michigan does lose, it will mark yet another season without a Big Ten team winning the national championship. The league has just one national title since 1989, with Michigan State getting the crown in 2000.
People compared this year’s Big Ten -- a league that thoroughly dominated throughout the season, by the way -- to the 2011 Big East, which sent 11 teams to the NCAA tournament. Nine teams from that league were seeded sixth or higher, yet only two advanced to the Elite Eight. Of course, Connecticut did win the national title, but it wasn’t a convincing tournament performance by the league.
The same could be said for this year's Big Ten. That shouldn't take away the fact that it was the best conference in the country for the entire regular season, but a Final Four without a single Big Ten team has to be seen as a disappointment.
Michigan beating Florida on Sunday would ensure we don't have that.
Your move, Wolverines. The Big Ten is counting on you.
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