Big Ten's best in the NCAA tournament
With seven teams in the field — and six seeded seventh or better – the Big Ten has a chance to set the league’s all-time record for wins (15) in an NCAA tournament. A look at the five top performances in terms of wins:
You remember that Lou Henson’s Illini joined interim coach Steve Fisher’s Wolverines at the Final Four in Seattle, Michigan eventually winning a national title. You might not rememember that Indiana and Minnesota reached the Sweet 16.
Michigan State produced the Big Ten’s most recent national title but only after slipping past Dick Bennett’s slow-paced Badgers in the national semifinals (53-41). Wisconsin reached the Final Four by denying Gene Keady and Brian Cardinal in a regional final.
This was the tournament Ohio State and Jim Jackson were in line to win. Except the Buckeyes lost to the Fab Five — in their freshman season — in a thrilling regional final that needed overtime to settle. Michigan and Indiana made the Final Four, the Wolverines losing to Duke in the title game.
Illini fans can’t shake the loss to Austin Peay in the first round. Indiana fans don’t want to forget Keith Smart’s game-winning jumper that beat Syracuse to give Bob Knight his third and final NCAA title.