Want Madness? Pac-12 Burying B1G In NCAA Tourney Success

Well, the Big Ten hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype. Just ask Ohio State, which was bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by, uh, Oral Roberts.

Of course, good ol’ ORU toppled Florida in the next round too. But that’s beside the point. The real issue here is the Big Ten has been a major disappointment when college basketball season means the most.

Gone are Ohio State, Michigan State (lost to UCLA in the play-in game), Purdue (lost to something called North Texas), Wisconsin (lost to Baylor), Illinois (lost to in-state Cinderella story Loyola), Rutgers (lost to Houston), and now Iowa (rolled by Oregon).

Entering Monday night, only Michigan and Maryland remained as B1G representatives. Compare that to the Pac-12, which entered Monday evening at 9-0 in the Big Dance. Still alive were Oregon, Oregon State, USC and UCLA.

Basically, the “experts” who follow college hoops all season were wrong. As is often the case, programs from the East and Midwest were built up ad nauseam, while those out West tended to be forgotten. Not always, but usually.

After all, Gonzaga has been ranked No. 1 most of the season, and the Bulldogs hail from Spokane, Wash. Not a tiny market, but certainly not Chicago.

A lot of the Pac-12 schools do come from decent-sized markets, led by long-ago power UCLA. But they still don’t get the coverage that, say, an Ohio State receives. For a while, it made sense. The Buckeyes looked like one of the most formidable outfits in all of college basketball. Oregon State and USC? Yeah, not so much.

Or maybe they were, and we just didn’t notice. But we sure are noticing now. And we are noticing them when it means the most.

This is March. This is madness. But for the Big Ten, it’s just been sadness.

“It all hit me at once,” Iowa senior star Luke Garza told reporters, “looking up at the scoreboard and knowing I’ll never wear this jersey again.”

Don’t worry, kid. The rest of your conference pretty much feels the same.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

10 Comments

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  1. You forgot Colorado – the PAC-12 still has 5 teams left. Yeah a lot of us bought into the Big 10 bias when filling out our brackets. In the case of Iowa, I wonder how much Oregon having a bye coming into the game (because of the forfeit) was a factor.

  2. As someone who lives in Big 10 country, but also lived in Cali for 15 years, I’m a fan of both conferences. But I love watching these so-called experts getting shot down, even if it makes the Big 10 look bad. Hopefully people will realize that these experts opinions are as worthless as a 3-dollar bill.

  3. Don’t forget how shitty the fraud of a conference the Big12 has been to. All those 1-4 seeds in the Big10/12. They should not be given more than 4 teams in The tournament the next 2 years. They have clearly figured out how to game the system. They are being exposed.

  4. Don’t get ahead of yourself. With the exception of Oregon the conference has been largely irrelevant for the past decade. The Big Ten rightfully gets beaten up for a 20 year title drought, but at least they get in. Heck, the PAC has only been IN two title games in 20 years. So the lack of attention and recognition has been deserved. But this year with Covid and power conferences not playing each other they are clearly better than advertised. There is definitely an East coast/Midwest bias but let’s point out that Gonzaga suffers from no lack of love.

  5. The Big 10 was overhyped all year long. Michigan, Iowa and Illinois were the best teams all year. The rest were average at best. Ohio State had a mid year losing streak, Rutgers is improving but is just above the waterline, Purdue was Purdue, a tough game every time. The Pac 12 was a fight each night. UCLA being a play in 11 was a joke. They may very well be the top team in the Pac. USC is very good most nights. Not a surprise the PAC is doing so well and the Big went South very quickly.

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