The Big Ten is one of the best conferences in college basketball, year in and year out. But the league, collectively, has lost its last seven national title games.
Back in 2000, Michigan State, as a 1-seed, knocked off Florida in the national championship game - winning its first title since 1979. Amazingly, that's the last time a Big Ten team won the NCAA Tournament.
The Big Ten has had seven teams reach the national championship game since. Somehow, none of them have been able to get the job done.
Indiana, back in 2002, lost to a loaded Maryland team. Illinois, in 2005, lost a close contest to North Carolina. In 2007, Ohio State ran into a juggernaut Florida squad. In 2009, Michigan State, a bit of an overachiever, lost to North Carolina. In 2013, Michigan lost to Louisville, which later vacated the title. Wisconsin lost to Duke in 2015. And last night, Michigan was thoroughly defeated by a historic Villanova team.
It's impressive that the Big Ten has had seven teams in the title game since 2002. But it's frustrating - at least for the league's fans - that they've lost all of those contests.
How have the other conferences done in comparison? Since 2000, the ACC has had teams win seven times - Duke three times, North Carolina three times, Maryland (when it was in the ACC) once.
The Big East had Syracuse in 2003, UConn in 2004 and 2011, Villanova in 2016 and 2018 and Louisville in 2013. The Big 12 had Kansas in 2008. The SEC had Florida in 2007 and 2008 and Kentucky in 2012. The AAC also has a title - UConn in 2014. The Pac-12 has also been shut out.
At some point, this trend will end. Until then, expect the pressure to grow every time a Big Ten team winds up in the final.