In just his fifth season as a head coach, Tom Izzo was cutting the nets down. Izzo and his No. 1 seeded Michigan State Spartans ousted Billy Donovan's Florida Gators, 89-76, in the national title game, marking MSU's second national championship in school history.
That was the last time a Big Ten school won the national championship -- 13 years ago. That's far too long for a conference rich in basketball history and full of elite coaches and athletes. It's getting to the point of embarrassment. Not quite as embarrassing as the way Big Ten football has been manhandled in the past decade, but it sure hasn't helped the Big Ten's reputation.
Michigan remains the conference's last hope. Now, I would've never guessed Michigan would be the last team standing from the Big Ten, but it's played gritty and reminiscent of the Michigan squad that impressed national pundits earlier this season. I personally felt Michigan's poor interior defense, which was greatly exposed by Kansas, would doom the Wolverines this March. But the heroics of Trey Burke and Mitch McGary led the Wolverines pass Kansas, and guard Nik Stauskas could've beat Florida by himself with the way he shot the lights out against the Gators in the Elite 8.
In a season where the Big Ten was head and shoulders above the rest, seven of its teams made the NCAA tournament and Indiana opened the season ranked No. 1 in the land, it's imperative the Big Ten wins its first national championship in 13 years. The conference lived up to the hype this season, but now it must finish the deal.
So Badger fans, it may feel unnatural and downright wrong, but it's in all of our best interest this week -- ONLY this week -- to say, "Go Blue!"
Tom Mulhern points out how injuries to Wisconsin's offensive line are only affecting its quantity, not its quality.
Former Badgers hockey player, George Gwozdecky, is leaving the Denver hockey program after 19 seasons as head coach.
VIDEO: BTN guys look ahead to next season for the Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana basketball programs.
BTN will also be carrying the introductory press conference of new Northwestern basketball head coach Chris Collins (11 a.m. CT today).
Two Big Ten basketball players are tabbed as 1st team All-Americans.