When It Comes To Titles, Big Ten Is Final Forlorn

My April 8 column from CBS Chicago

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees(CBS) When it comes to reaching the Final Four, the Big Ten can hold its own with any conference in America. But when it comes to actually winning championships?

Well, that’s a different story.

Twenty-five years ago, Glen Rice, Rumeal Robinson and Steve Fisher cut the nets in Seattle after leading Michigan to the 1989 NCAA Tournament title. But in all the springs since, the Big Ten has sprung only one more title on us – that by Michigan State in 2000.

Why is that? I really don’t know, and I’m not sure that anyone does.

But what I do know is that by coming up short so often on college basketball’s biggest stage, the Big Ten has spent the past quarter-century bucking the championship odds better than any organization not named the Chicago Cubs.

Consider this: In the 25 seasons since 1989, 100 teams have reached the Final Four, and the Big Ten has laid claim to 18 of them – including Wisconsin this year. That’ s second only to the ACC’s 21 qualifiers, although from its group the ACC has also produced eight champions, while the Big Ten has generated just the one.

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