And that was far and away the best thing about the whole day.
The 1-seed has won the tournament 38% of the time (8 of 21)
The 2-seed has won the tournament 33% of the time (7 of 21)
So only 6 times has a non 1 or 2 seed won the tournament, and 3 of those were Michigan’s 3 tourney titles (4-seed in ‘98, 8-seed in ‘17, 5-seed in ‘18)
Michigan’s title run from the 8-seed position in 2017 (post-plane crash) was the lowest (or highest…depending on how you fill your glass) seed to capture the title.
The order of best winning percentage by seed is 1-2-6-3-5-8-7-14-4-13-10-12-9-11. So the 4 seed seems to suck and the 6 seed seems pretty great.
At 19-9, John Beilein holds the 4th best all time record in the Big Ten tournament behind Thad Matta, Bill Self, and Steve Alford.
Only half the members of the Big Ten have won Big Ten Tournament Championships. The list of the have-nots includes Indiana(!), Minnesota, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Northwestern. Of those, relative newcomers Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, and Nebraska all lack regular season titles as well…and Northwestern only has 2 (1931 & 1933). Tough sledding Chris Collins.
Michigan hasn’t won a Big Ten Tournament in the United Center (this year’s venue) since the inaugural BTT in 1998.
Mateen Cleaves was in the car in 1996. The truth is out there.
The Big Ten Tournament commences on Wednesday with the bottom four in action.
The Wolverines draw their first ever double bye (a concept with a short history), and their first bye of any kind in five years. The B1G Tournament darlings the last couple years, Michigan has kind of made a thing about playing and winning a bunch of days in a row. Which bodes well for tournaments and TOURNAMENTS ARE WHAT THIS ENTIRE SPORT AND ALL OTHER SPORTS ARE COMPLETELY DECIDED BY SO IF WE ARE GOOD AT TOURNAMENTS THEN WE ARE ACTUALLY JUST GOOD.
Anyway, Thursday puts everyone in action except the top four - Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Lou Anna’s Thundering Turds. Michigan will get whomever comes out of Northwestern/Illinois vs Iowa. We did get boat raced by Iowa in our only meeting, so that is not ideal. Of note, Hollis’s Homies will play the winner of Indiana - Ohio State, with Izzo’s Moronsorliars having provided 25% of Indiana’s Big Ten wins.
Ideally, Michigan meets Perles’s Boys in the finals on Sunday for a third crack at things, revenge tour and shit, etc, etc. But I’m not going to be heartbroken if Engler’s Warriors exit early. Other potholes are present of course, with chalk lining up a likely rematch with the Boilermakers on Saturday. They will be looking to avenge that beatdown Michigan imposed way back when those weird early Big Ten games hit the schedule.
Look, things do not appear stellar for Michigan with that regular season finale, but they literally almost never have looked good going in to this week. What’s nice is that they are operating from a much better position seed-wise than they have in a long time, and they have a rested defensive juggernaut waiting to emerge from an injury.
And this team deserves your respect. MAAR, Mo, and Duncan exit, and they have the greatest start in program history and the most regular season wins in program history. Ya, I’m sorry you couldn’t talk shit to your family veterinarian, your UPS store manager, or the janitor in your office building. I promise you I’m as pissed as you, but there are bigger things to worry about…as well as a possibility of still talking shit to all of them on Sunday.
This is when the magic happens. When some guy the casual fanbase has never heard of drops a double double. When someone gets hot for a few weeks. This is it. This is when we burn the boats.
Presented without context….
So that wasn’t any fun, especially after being lured in to a false sense of unbeatableness (not a word) in that first half. Cassius was locked down, and Michigan’s lineup of popsicle sticks and chewing gum looked like a bright glimpse of a pending deep-benched tournament run and an unstoppable future.
But there were adjustments. And some readjustments. Halftime ones. Media timeout ones. And each time, it got worse for the Wolverines, and Cassius woke up. And then Michigan kinda gave up, which probably deserves your criticism.
Michigan State gets to share in the 2019 Big Ten Regular Season Championship with Purdue, and while I might have bought a t-shirt had we won, it’s a championship that makes me ponder why it’s actually a thing. This is something that existed in sport only before the advent of playoffs and tournaments, recent Big 12 football seasons excepted. Regular Season Champions. It’s like those President’s Cups the Red Wings used to win before running into that hot goalie in the first round of the playoffs, or the 2018 Big Ten East trophy we have on display in Schembechler.
Anyway, we’ve been here before. Doubting Beilein is a yearly pre-tourney tradition. We were in this exact position just a year ago, with nearly the same results against a Purdue team we finally found a way to dispatch in the B1G tourney. But minus MAAR, Mo, and Duncan, Michigan is in fact in a better position entering the post season than they were last year. It will take one less game to win the B1G tourney this year, and a 2-seed in the Big Dance seems likely in just 11 days.
Nine more games are on the horizon. The story of the this team will be told in April.
A soothing beef and cheddar and curly fries