The Big Ten was the best conference in college basketball during the regular season. That’s what all of the analytics said, anyway.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee clearly felt similarly, as the Big Ten was rewarded with nine selections and several top seeds.
The Big Ten had two No. 1 overall seeds in Michigan and Illinois, two No. 2 seeds in Ohio State and Iowa and a No. 4 seed in Purdue. Only two of those top 16 seeds are left, though.
Ohio State and Purdue were eliminated in the first round in major upsets, while Illinois lost on Sunday in the second round.
The Big Ten still has five teams left in Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Rutgers and Maryland, but it’s been a rough tournament so far.
The Big Ten had five of the Top 16 seeds in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Two are left: Michigan and Iowa.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 21, 2021
It’s tough to judge a conference based on its performance in a wildly variant single-elimination tournament. But, at the same time, this is a league that hasn’t won a championship in men’s basketball since 2000.
This was supposed to be the year the streak ended – and it still could end – but it’s not looking good right now.
Charter members Maryland and Rutgers are gonna bring this puppy home for the Big Ten.
— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) March 21, 2021
All these Big Ten teams propped up by wins over one another. And there wasn’t much non-con to prove the conference’s legitimacy due to Covid.
Still plenty of Big Ten teams remain. But it appears many of us were fooled by our own echo chamber.
— Chris Hassel (@Hassel_Chris) March 21, 2021
Gonna do something I don't do often: Credit Twitter. You guys told me all year the Big Ten was overrated. I told you guys you were wrong. After Illinois, Ohio State and Purdue have been upset, its indisputable: You guys were right. I was wrong.
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 21, 2021
If someone like Michigan or Iowa ends up winning it all, maybe this is all an overreaction. But, for now, the Big Ten is deserving of some skepticism when it comes to being the top conference in the country.