The NCAA Tournament rolled along on Monday afternoon, as second round match-ups continued from Indianapolis. Nine teams have already punched their spots to the Sweet 16, but the Big Ten remains notably absent from the next round of games.
No. 2 Iowa became the latest top-seeded team from the powerhouse conference to fall on Monday afternoon. Despite 36 points from presumptive National Player of the Year Luka Garza, the Hawkeyes were out-matched by seven-seed Oregon and lost 95-80.
But, Iowa didn’t kick off the Big Ten’s woes. Ohio State started off the conference’s collapse on Friday afternoon, as the No. 2 Buckeyes fell to 15-seed Oral Roberts in the first round. Purdue followed later in the day with a loss to No. 13 North Texas.
Once the second round kicked off, things got even worse for the Big Ten. No. 1 Illinois was overmatched by an under-seeded Loyola-Chicago on Sunday before Iowa fell on Monday. Wisconsin, Rutgers and Michigan State have also already been eliminated from the field of 68.
College basketball analyst Jay Bilas gave his evaluation of the Big’s Ten’s performance thus far in the NCAA Tournament. He quickly defended the conference from being called overrated and instead opted to use the word “underperforming” to describe the play so far.
“Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, and now, Iowa…the top Big Ten teams we saw all season did not show up in the NCAA Tournament. This isn’t “overrated.” This is “underperforming.” Surprising,” Bilas wrote on Twitter.
Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, and now, Iowa…the top Big Ten teams we saw all season did not show up in the NCAA Tournament. This isn’t “overrated.” This is “underperforming.” Surprising.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 22, 2021
Bilas’s designation of the Power Five conference is perfectly fair. Throughout the regular season, the Big Ten was one of the strongest conferences in basketball and was rewarded with nine bids to the Big Dance.
The Big Ten powerhouse have looked far from their regular season form over the past few days, leaving the burden on No. 1 Michigan and No. 10 Maryland to get the conference into the Sweet 16.
The Wolverines will play No. 8 LSU at 7:10 p.m. ET on Monday before the Terrapins take on No. 2 Alabama at 8:45 p.m.