SportsProf

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Monday, March 28, 2005

The Big Ten Had A Bad Year

Yeah, right.

Many observers, including me, owe the Big Ten an apology for underestimating the quality of their conference's teams this season. The facts don't lie -- three teams in the regional finals, two teams in the Final Four. And that's two more teams in the Final Four than the SEC, Big 12, Big East or Pac-10. Had Wisconsin held on to upset North Carolina, the Big Ten would have had three teams in the Final Four, the first time a conference would have pulled that feat since 1985, when the Big East had St. John's, Georgetown and national champion Villanova reach the Final Four.

So congratulations to Tom Izzo and Bruce Weber for leading their teams to the national semifinals, and kudos to Bo Ryan for leading his team to the Elite 8. Your conference didn't get much respect this year, and in relatively recent times it hadn't performed that well in post-season play. But this year it did, and you're the talk of the tournament.

Which is pretty good when you had an "off" year.

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