Michigan's NCAA championship loss should feel very familiar to Big Ten fans
It's been 18 long years since the Big Ten won a national title, and not for a lack of opportunities
SAN ANTONIO -- Man, it's been rough sledding for the Big Ten since Michigan State won the last national title for the league in 2000 -- with in Monday's NCAA championship game simply the latest in a long run. Since the Big Ten last won, the ACC has won seven titles. With Villanova's win tonight, the Big East now has six. The SEC has three titles, but only one belongs to Kentucky.
The Big Ten: zero. Here's a breakdown of the six major conferences over that time (UConn's first two titles were won as a Big East member):
Titles since 2000
Duke (2001, 2010, 2015), UNC (2005, 2009, 2017), Maryland (2002)
Florida (2006, 2007), Kentucky (2012)
x - later vacated
Unlike the Pac-12, which has only made two title games in the 2000s, Big Ten hasn't fallen short because of a lack of chances.
Michigan became the seventh team from that conference to lose in the championship game since 2000. All of those teams lost the championship game to a team that was a No. 1 seed, so there were no significant upsets. The Wolverines have two of those losses, having also lost the 2013 title game to Louisville (which was later vacated by the NCAA)
Indiana had the first chance in 2002 in Atlanta. The Hoosiers were a No. 5 seed and lost to Maryland, which was the No. 1 seed. The Big Ten now claims that as its most recent championship because the Terrapins joined the league since then.
Illinois was a slight favorite when it faced North Carolina in 2005 in a battle of No. 1 seeds in St. Louis, but the Illini came up short. In 2009, Michigan State hoped to use a home crowd advantage in Detroit when it faced the Tyler Hansbrough-led Tar Heels, but it wasn't enough. Wisconsin had the most recent chance before Monday night. The Badgers lost to Duke in the 2015 championship game after beating previously undefeated Kentucky in the semifinal.
In 2005 and 2015, Michigan State was also in the Final Four, giving the Big Ten two chances to beat the eventual champion and, obviously, failed both times. The Spartans were also upset by Arizona in the semifinals in their bid to go back-to-back in 2001 and lost in the semifinals to Butler in 2010. Ohio State (in 2012) and Wisconsin (in 2014) also failed to make good on Final Four trips.
The Big Ten also has seen No. 1 seeds lose before the Final Four four times in this 18-year span. None were egregious losses or anything, but they served as more missed opportunities.
It's hard to say when the next chance will come, but you'd have to say the Big Ten is due. Could be worse though. The Pac-12 hasn't won a title since Arizona's magical run through three No. 1 seeds in 1997.
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