Dienhart: Big Ten & Sweet 16 since 1985

All season, the computer rankings said that the Big Ten was the nation’s strongest conference. The league lived up to that hype through the first week of the NCAA tourney. Four of the six schools that received bids are still playing, with No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Indiana and No. 4 Wisconsin advancing the second weekend of the tourney. No. 4 Michigan fell in the second round to No. 13 Ohio, while No. 10 Purdue lost in the third round to No. 2 Kansas.

There’s a chance the Buckeyes (if they beat No. 6 Cincinnati) and Badgers (if they beat No. 1 Syracuse) could meet in the East Regional finals with a spot in the Final Four on the line next weekend. And Indiana will take on No. 1 Kentucky in the South Region, while Michigan State will play No. 4 Louisville in the West.

This is the just the third time since the tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985 that the Big Ten has sent four teams to the Sweet 16. The other years were 1999 and 1989.

Since 1985, the Big Ten sent 58 teams to the Sweet 16. Three have gone on to win national titles: Michigan State (2000); Michigan (1989); Indiana (1987). And on 18 occasions, Big Ten schools have advanced to the Final Four in that span.

Here’s a look at Big Ten teams in the Sweet 16 since 1985—and how they have fared.

2011
Ohio State, lost in regional semifinals Kentucky
Wisconsin, lost in regional semifinals to Butler

2010
Michigan State, lost national semifinal to Butler
Ohio State, lost regional semifinals to Tennessee
Purdue, lost regional semifinals to Duke

2009
Michigan State, lost national final to North Carolina
Purdue, lost regional semifinals to UConn

2008
Michigan State, lost to Memphis in regional semifinals
Wisconsin, lost to Davidson in regional semifinals

2007
Ohio State, lost national final to Florida

2006
None

2005
Illinois, lost national final to North Carolina
Michigan State, lost national semifinal to North Carolina
Wisconsin, lost regional final to North Carolina

2004
Illinois, lost regional semifinal to Duke

2003
Michigan State, lost regional final to Texas
Wisconsin, lost regional semifinal to Kentucky

2002
Illinois, lost regional seminal to Kansas
Indiana, lost national championship to Maryland

2001
Illinois, lost regional final to Arizona
Michigan State, lost national semifinal to Arizona
Penn State, lost regional seminal to Temple

2000
Purdue, lost regional final to Wisconsin
Wisconsin, lost national semifinal to Michigan State
Michigan State, beat Florida in national championship

1999
Iowa, lost regional seminal to UConn
Michigan State, lost national semifinal to Duke
Ohio State, lost national semifinal to UConn
Purdue, lost regional seminal to Temple

1998
Purdue, lost regional seminal to Stanford
Michigan State, lost regional seminal to North Carolina

1997
Minnesota, lost national semifinals to Kentucky

1996
None

1995
None

1994
Purdue, lost regional final to Duke
Indiana, lost regional seminal to Boston College
Michigan, lost regional final to Arkansas

1993
Indiana, lost regional final to Kansas
Michigan, lost national championship to North Carolina

1992
Indiana, lost national semifinal to Duke
Michigan, lost national championship to Duke
Ohio State, lost regional final to Michigan

1991
Indiana, lost regional seminal to Kansas
Ohio State, lost regional seminal to St. John’s

1990
Michigan State, lost regional seminal to Georgia Tech
Minnesota, lost regional final to Georgia Tech

1989
Illinois, lost national semifinal to Michigan
Indiana, lost regional seminal to Seton Hall
Michigan, won national championship over Seton Hall
Minnesota, lost regional seminal to Duke

1988
Purdue, lost regional seminal to Kansas State
Iowa, lost regional seminal to Arizona
Michigan, lost regional seminal to North Carolina

1987
Indiana, won national championship over Syracuse
Iowa, lost regional final to UNLV

1986
Michigan State, lost regional seminal to Kansas

1985
Illinois, lost regional seminal to Georgia Tech

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for BTN.com. Find Dienhart’s work at www.btn.com/tomdienhart, follow him on Twitter at @BTNTomDienhart, send a question to his weekly mailbag here, and click here to subscribe to his overall RSS feed.

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