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Winning the B1G Tourney from a 5/6 seed...

M Man's picture
March 12, 2014 at 2:18pm

In another thread, I said that I looked forward to the day that a Big Ten team rose from a 5+ seed to win the tournament.  D'oh!  Where was I in 2001, when the Iowa Hawkeyes, led by former IU great Steve Alford, did just that?

So here is how the Buckeyes might do it this year.  You need to be lucky, basically.

The 2000-01 Hawkeyes came into the B1G Tourney ranked #24 in the country.  Michigan State, the then-defending national champs, were ranked #3.  Illinois had just won the B1G regular-season championship and the Illini were ranked #4.  Indiana was #20, and below Iowa in the rankings was Wisconsin at #25.

[There is a reason 2000-2001 was erased from my memory.  Michigan, under the forgettable Brian Ellerbe, opened the season with a loss to neighbor Oakland University -- the basketball equivalent of Appalachian State -- and went on to an overall record of 10-18 (4-13 in the Conference), and was seeded 10th in the 11-team tournament.]

Seeding in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament had Iowa as a six-seed, playing the 11-seed Northwestern.  The Hawkeyes destroyed the Wildcats on Thursday, 72-65.

On Friday, the Hawkeyes beat the 3-seed team with a bye; the Ohio State University Buckeyes, 75-66.  Huh?  The same day, Penn State upset the mighty Spartans (2-seed) by a basket, 65-63.  The biggest win in the history of Penn State basketball.  MSU later went on to its third consecutive Final Four a couple of weeks later.

So on Saturday, Iowa took on Penn State and ran them out of the United Center, 94-74.  Their third win in three days.  Iowa got more help that day, when Indiana upset the 1-seed Illini, 58-56.

It set up the 2001 championship game on Sunday between the 4-seed Indiana and the 6-seed Iowa.  Pretty much of an even match, on a neutral court.  But Iowa had played three games in the previous three days, and Indiana had only played two.  Still, led by former Hoosier Steve Alford, Iowa won 63-61 as a final 3-point shot to win for Indiana was blocked by Iowa.

The lesson; get lucky.  Iowa won from the bottom by never having to play a seed higher than 3 (OSU).  They beat 11-, 3-, 7- and 4-seeds to win it all.

You need to root for Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin to go down early.  And what a stretch that must be, for all of you...




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rosycheeks's picture

Nah. I'd rather they just beat Michigan. The Ohio State Buckeyes don't need to get lucky.

M Man's picture

I have to say, I'd much rather face 4-seed Nebraksy than 5-seed OSU, in Indianapolis...

+6 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

I bet you say that to all the blog centers

BucksfanXC's picture

This year more than any I've seen in the last ten years the B1G has a lot of good, not great, teams. It's probably a more even playing field than normal. No one has been particularly impressive or unbeatable. The tourney should therefore be wide open.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+2 HS
doodah_man's picture

As usual, great unbiased write up M Man! 

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

+1 HS
buckeyeEddie27's picture

Indiana beats Michigan in Indy. 


I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

M Man's picture

If the Bucks make it to Saturday (no reason why they shouldn't), whom would you prefer as an opponent?  Michigan, or IU?  In Indy, as you say.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Well if I say Indiana then I'm sure to be viewed by some as "scared" to play Michigan again.  If I choose Michigan, I'm going against my own prediction.  Right?

My preference for Ohio State to beat Michigan themselves will always outweigh my natural desire to see Michigan lose to anyone.  So I would prefer Ohio State to play and beat Michigan however I believe and predict Indiana will do it first, in Indy, as I said.

Why do you ask?

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

M Man's picture

All my questions are trick questions.  Like the 11W Question of the Day.

-1 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

It may not take as much luck this time.  There's no team like a #3 MSU or #4 Illinois in this year's tournament.  The best team, Wisconsin, is a team OSU has already beaten, though is playing better basketball now than back then.  OSU could definitely beat anyone else in this tournament.  Though they could lose to most anyone in it as well.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

M Man, thanks for reminding me how mediocrappy Ohio State basketball was under Jim O'Brien after the 1999-2000 season. Actually, the 2000-2001 season you highlight above was the first in five-year run for the Buckeyes when they got progressively more craptastic. One of the better players on the 2000 - 01 team, if you can freakin' believe it, was Sean Connolly (no office to the laddie). I felt sorry for Ken Johnson and Brian Brown.

M Man's picture

That was really the golden era for Tom Izzo, and it was marked by the bottom dropping out of the program for Michigan, a real lull in progress for OSU, and and a flat period for Indiana.

Somebody reminded me the other day that the Izzo reign in East Lansing is now longer than Jud Heathcote's tenure.  Is the end near?  I really don't know.  But a job for Izzo with the Pistons (who seem destined to clean house, from team president to GM to head coach to pilot for Roundball One to stadium announcer at the Palace of Auburn Hills, etc.) has never appeared so likely.

Mortc15's picture

I think the NCAA tourney has this type of 'luck' involved for a relative Cinderella to be dancing into April. The top seeds in the region get upset by a hot shooting team that cools off when the said-Cinderella plays them and the better team wins. I could see any number of scenarios happening and any of about 8 teams winning the Big Ten this year.


Go1Bucks's picture

Im afraid to give any predictions, just dont wanna jinx.

Go Bucks!

Deadly Nuts's picture

I feel like we would beat everyone but Indiana, ttun and Penn State. So go Illinois. 


Seattle Linga's picture

WOW - I hope we face PSU again in this tourney or in the big dance