Where Do We Stand? March 5th

Where Do We Stand? March 5th
Holly Birch-Smith - IlliniBoard

My very first thought this week: when is the last time that the only two ranked Big Ten teams met during the final week of the season? Now that I type that out, I'm realizing that it's probably been a very long time since the Big Ten only had two ranked teams. So if that doesn't happen very often, I'm sure that those two teams meeting the final week is quite rare as well.

Wait, now that I'm typing that out, I think I already know the answer. The reason we got a 4-seed in 2003 was an extremely down Big Ten. We were #11 in the AP Poll, we were all expecting to see a "3" next to our name, and we were a 4-seed (matched up with freaking Notre Dame and freaking Danny Miller) when the bracket was released. KenPom didn't exist in this form in 2003, but if we look at the KenPom rankings built retroactively for that season, we were 5th overall. Just imagine being 5th in KenPom, 11th in the polls, and getting dumped down to a 4-seed.

And looking that up, yes, there were only two ranked Big Ten teams (Illinois and Wisconsin) in 2003. And the two teams matched up the final week of the season. AND IT WAS 21 YEARS AGO TODAY. That game can purchase alcohol tonight. OK now I need to go tweet this.

Wait, that might not be the only "two ranked teams playing the final week." I need to do some more research here. Please hold (you don't really need to hold because you're not reading this in real time although that would probably be a fun experiment at some point).