Jay Bilas on B1G's tournament performance: 'I think they have a little bit of explaining to do'
Nine teams entered the NCAA Tournament and only one is left standing.
That’s the situation for the B1G this March, with eight teams losing in the first two rounds this year. Michigan is the only team form the conference to advance to the Sweet 16. Michigan State lost its play-in game to UCLA and Ohio State and Purdue dropped their Round 1 games to Oral Roberts and North Texas, respectively.
Things got really ugly in Round 2, with Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Rutgers and Wisconsin all being eliminated. The league that was revered as the best in the nation all season long was essentially wiped out before reaching the second weekend of the tournament.
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said the league has some explaining to do.
“I don’t know, Scotty,” Bilas said on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. “Maybe they’ve been in Indianapolis for too long. The Big Ten tournament was there. They wanted to get there for the COVID reasons, try to avoid having a problem before the NCAA tournament. So they’ve been there a long time, but that’s an excuse. There’s no excusing some of the performances that we saw.
“So I think the Big Ten has a little bit of explaining to do. I don’t think it invalidates the fact that it was the best league. Like, we can’t look at the analytics and say, ‘Aha, the analytics say that Loyola was under-seeded,’ and then turn around and throw them out the window when it comes to the Big Ten, because they dominated the analytics. They had a great year. But they they underperformed in the tournament and that’s a significant factor when it goes over that sort of sample size, when you have eight teams that are out after two games are played. That’s pretty stout rebuttal that they didn’t perform at a high level.”
Before the tournament started, this looked like the year the B1G might be able to end that national championship drought, dating back to Michigan State’s run in 2000.
Now, the conference has just one team left with a chance to win it all. Even if Michigan does win it all, this will still be viewed as a disappointing postseason for the league labeled as the most dominant college basketball has ever seen.