Michigan head basketball coach John Beilein has a chance to end a nearly two-decades-long drought in which the Big Ten has failed to win a national title since 2000.
Since Michigan State’s win in 2000, six Big Ten teams have reached the title game only to lose. Indiana (2002), Illinois (2005), Ohio State (2007), Michigan State (2009), Michigan (2013) and Wisconsin (2015) all fell short of that ultimate goal in the season’s final game.
Beilein is doing his best at this point to ignore the historical significance of this upcoming title game.
“The Big Ten is as strong a league as any league out there, but the breaks haven’t gone on our way,” Beilein said, per Adam Zagoria of zagsblog.com. “I’m not carrying that weight on our back.”
The head coach also made it clear he’s not interested in claiming the title that was vacated by Louisville in the recent disciplinary action taken by the NCAA against the university.
“No, we didn’t win that one,” he said. “It was fair and square. We lost the game, they won it and I’m going to leave it at that.”
The Wolverines have made it to the championship game for the second time in five years after taking down Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four. Now they have the tall task of attempting to dispatch Villanova, which is the hottest team in the tourney.
Clearly, Beilein is doing everything in his power to keep his team’s focus on the now, and on the Wildcats, who are coming off a historic performance against Kansas. Monday can’t get here soon enough.