It’s up to you Michigan.
The overall strength of the Big Ten Conference has been one of the major story lines of this college basketball season, but after Ohio State lost in the West Region final Saturday night to upstart Wichita State, the Big Ten is in danger of being shut out of the Final Four.
So much for all the hubbub earlier this week about a possible All-Big Ten Final Four.
Michigan is the last Big Ten team remaining from seven that played in the Round of 64 and four that advanced to the Sweet 16. The Wolverines, a team many believed was ripe to be upset early entering the tournament, must beat Florida on Sunday to capture the South Region and advance to their first Final Four since those Fab Five guys made history in the early 1990s.
If the Wolverines come up short — they are the underdog — as fellow Big Ten Sweet 16 teams Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan State did, some will be tempted to label the conference as overrated.
That might be too harsh. The fact that four teams advanced to the second weekend of the tournament is testament to how difficult the schedule was night in and night out throughout the Big Ten regular season. But there is no denying that missing the Final Four altogether would be a massive failure for the conference.
Meanwhile, the Big East sent eight teams to the tournament and could have two in the Final Four if Louisville beats Duke on Sunday. Syracuse became the first team to advance to the Final Four on Saturday when it beat fellow Big East foe Marquette in the Elite Eight.