The Big Ten has this little problem in the NCAA Tournament. It can’t win it.
The conference hasn’t had a national champion since Michigan State in 2000.
That’s 23 years between titles, but with Purdue, led by 7-foot-4 All-American center Zach Edey as a No. 1 seed and seven other schools in the field, maybe this is the year the league cuts down the nets last.
It’s not like the Big Ten hasn’t been close. One of its schools has finished as national runner-up seven times since 2000. The last to make the title game was Michigan, which lost to Villanova in 2018.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo noted the conference’s deep runs over the past two decades while acknowledging its failings.
“Why aren’t we winning it?” said Izzo, who has taken eight teams to the Final Four. “It all comes down to matchups at the end. I worry a little bit. I think we beat the hell out of our league this year, each other. That can make you stronger or wear you down. I don’t know.”
“But I like the position that some of these Big Ten teams are in.”