Mac on Sports: Big Ten Lands Record 8 in NCAA Field

 

 

J. Thomas McNamara

     While the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) landed three number one seeds–top overall seed Duke, Virginia and North Carolina, the Big Ten landed a record setting eight teams. Gonzaga is the other number one seed.
     Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin will all be taking part in this year’s tournament. All games will be televised on CBS Sports, TBS, TNT or TruTV.
     This year’s collection of eight Big Ten schools in the NCAA Tournament surpasses the previous conference record of seven NCAA Tournament participants, set several times previously and most recently in 2017.
     Iowa is the No. 10 seed in the South Region and heads to Columbus, Ohio for its first- and second-round games. The Hawkeyes will square off with No. 7 Cincinnati on Friday, March 22 with the winner taking on No. 2 Tennessee or No. 15 Colgate. Iowa is making its 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and first since 2016, and owns a 29-27 (.518) overall record. The Hawkeyes last advanced to the Final Four in 1980.
     Maryland is the No. 6 seed in the East Region and will face either No. 11 Belmont or No. 11 Temple on Friday, March 22 at the Jacksonville, Fla., first- and second-round site. The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale. The Terrapins will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the 28th time, and fourth in five years, and have a record of 41-26 (.612), highlighted by the 2002 national championship.
     Michigan is the No. 2 seed in the West Region and will head to the Des Moines, Iowa first- and second-round site. The Wolverines play on Thursday, March 21 vs. No. 15 Montana, with the winner facing either No. 7 Nevada or No. 10 Florida. Michigan is making its 25th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including its fourth consecutive appearance, and officially owns an overall record of 52-23 (.693). Michigan won the 1989 national championship and most recently advanced to the NCAA title game last year.
     Michigan State, the Big Ten co-champion with Purdue and Big Ten Tournament champion, is a No. 2 seed in the East Region and travels to Des Moines, Iowa for first- and second-round games. The Spartans will face No. 15 Bradley on Thursday, March 21, with the winner advancing to face either No. 7 Louisville or No. 10 Minnesota. Michigan State is making its 33rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including its 22nd appearance in a row, and owns a 65-31 (.677) overall record. The Spartans won the national championship in 1979 and 2000, and most recently advanced to the Final Four in 2015. Armon Brummett and his Braves have a tough opening draw in the Big Ten tournament champion Spartans, who overcame a double digi deficit to deprive Michigan of a third straight tournament championship.
     Minnesota is the No. 10 seed in the East Region and will face No. 7 Louisville on Thursday, March 21 at the Des Moines, Iowa first- and second-round site. The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley. The Golden Gophers earned their 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament, and second in three years, with an overall record of 8-9 (.471). Minnesota’s best NCAA finish came in 1990 with a trip to the Elite Eight.
     Ohio State is the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and heads to Tulsa, Okla., for its first- and second-round games. The Buckeyes will square off with No. 6 Iowa State on Friday, March 22 with the winner taking on No. 3 Houston or No. 14 Georgia State. Ohio State is making its 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and owns a 50-27 (.649) overall record. The Buckeyes most recently advanced to the Final Four in 2012.
     Purdue, which shared this year’s Big Ten Championship with Michigan State, is the No. 3 seed in the South Region and will face No. 14 Old Dominion on Thursday, March 21 at the Columbus, Ohio first- and second-round site. The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 Saint Mary’s. The Boilermakers are making their 30th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and fifth in a row, and have a record of 38-29 (.567). Purdue last reached the Final Four in 1980.
     Wisconsin earned the No. 5 seed in the South Region and travels to San Jose, Calif., for first- and second-round games. The Badgers will face No. 12 Oregon on Friday, March 22 with the winner advancing to face either No. 4 Kansas State or No. 13 UC Irvine. Wisconsin is making its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including its 20th in 21 years, and owns a 38-22 (.633) overall record. The Badgers won the national championship in 1941, and most recently advanced to the NCAA title game in 2015.
     Let the March Madness begin.

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