Tough to top Big Ten's start to NCAA tourney

Yes, I realize Sunday features four games involving Big Ten teams. And yes, I realize the Big Ten could go 0-4. It isn’t likely, but it could happen. Regardless, it’s impossible to ignore what the Big Ten has done through the first three days of the Big Dance.

In a tournament loaded with upsets (No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown & No. 14 Harvard over No. 3 New Mexico, among others) and near-historical close calls (No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky & No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Southern), the Big Ten’s 8-1 start is even more remarkable.

Other than its lone loss – Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss – and Illinois’ comeback win over Colorado – an eight-point triumph in the end – the Big Ten has encountered very little drama.

Not impressed yet? Consider this: The Big East, the conference many considered to be the nation’s other top conference, already has five (!) losses.

Here are some more Big Ten numbers:

Record: 8-1
Teams in the Sweet 16: 2, with four more attempts Sunday
Margin of victory in 8 wins: 18.4 points
Largest margin of victory: 25; Ohio State 95, Iona 70 & Michigan 78, VCU 53
Smallest margin of victory: 8; Illinois 57, Colorado 49
Points per game: 72
Opponents’ points per game: 57
B1G FG%: 45.1 percent (236-523)
Opponents’ FG%: 36.5 percent (192-526)
B1G rebounds per game: 40.3
Opponents’ rebounds per game: 32.6

[ RELATED: View the interactive NCAA bracket | Track every game on our scoreboard ]

It’s tough to imagine a better, or more dominant, NCAA tourney start. Then again, it shouldn’t come as surprise after what the conference proved throughout the season.

Sunday’s slate (view schedule) is anything but easy, especially the final two games. While Illinois and Minnesota face stiff tests, against Miami and Florida, respectively, the opportunity is there for six Big Ten teams to advance to the Sweet 16.

The more likely number: 4, which still is quite the accomplishment.

Check out all the results thus far:

ROUND 2
Michigan State 65, Valparaiso 54
Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56
Ole Miss 57, Wisconsin 46
Indiana 83, James Madison 62
Illinois 57, Colorado 49
Ohio State 95, Iona 70
Minnesota 83, UCLA 63

ROUND 3
Michigan 78, VCU 53
Michigan State 70, Memphis 48

SUNDAY (ROUND 3)
Ohio State vs. Iowa State
Indiana vs. Temple
Minnesota vs. Florida
Illinois vs. Miami

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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Show Comments (1 Comment)
1 Post Your Comment
Delmar Jones on 3/23/2013 @ 9:37pm EDT Said:

The Big ten seems to be handling the pressure so far,two teams in the sweet 16 with four more with a chance of getting in. Mich.St.and Mich. both played very will today lets hope that the other teams do as well,exspecially Ohio State. GO BUCKS

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