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58 Days to B1G Basketball: When's the Last Year Your Team Won the Big Ten?

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Today we continue our daily countdown towards the tipoff of the Big Ten basketball season.

Duane Burleson

When it comes to debating over who the best team in a conference is there's usually a variety of angles and criteria applied to the debate, usually dependent on the person making the argument and what typically best suits their belief (or favorite team). That of course leads to plenty of debates on how people should view the history of a school and it's past success.

On one side you have the people who believe that historical success should be taken into consideration, usually an argument made by fans of traditional powerhouses or teams that have recently struggled. Then you have people who say the past is the past and we should only worry about what's happening right now. Of course that gets a bit tricky as this group usually likes to take into consideration a few years (eliminating outliers), but then falls into the same issue of cherry picking a cut off date that best supports the point they're trying to make.

So let's ignore all of the context and just look at the numbers in what should be a handy little reference for when you argue with your friends over who the "best" Big Ten is and has been. For convenience I've omitted Maryland and Rutgers as this is their first year. I've also excluded Chicago and their six Big Ten championships as they haven't been a member of the conference since 1946.

Regular Season Championships

School Member Since Big Ten Championships Most Recent Championship
Purdue 1905 22 2010
Indiana 1905 21 2013
Ohio State 1912 20 2012
Illinois 1905 17 2005
Wisconsin 1905 17 2008
Michigan 1917 14 2014
Michigan State 1950 13 2009
Minnesota 1905 8 1982
Iowa 1908 8 1970
Northwestern 1905 2 1931
Nebraska 2011 0 -
Penn State 1992 0 -

Some notes:

  • The state of Indiana is known for historically being a basketball state and that is reflected here, with Purdue and Indiana leading the way with a combined 43 Big Ten championships
  • Three Big Ten championships have been vacated, two for Ohio State (2000, 2002) and one for Minnesota (1997)
  • Michigan State's 13 championships is a solid amount when you realize they didn't join the conference until 1950, 45 years after four of the teams above them
  • Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State have not won a Big Ten title since 1982 when Minnesota won their last title (the Gophers title in 1997 was vacated)
  • Penn State, who joined in 1992, hasn't won a conference championship and has only finished with a winning record in conference play twice
  • Not only has Northwestern never been to the NCAA Tournament, but they have only won two Big Ten titles and haven't won one since 1933

And for what it's worth, here are the number of regular season Big Ten titles by active coaches in the conference:

Coach School B1G Championships Year Joined Winning Rate
Tom Izzo Michigan State 7 1995 36.8%
Thad Matta Ohio State 5 2004 50.0%
Bo Ryan Wisconsin 3 2001 23.1%
John Beilein Michigan 2 2007 28.6%
Tom Crean Indiana 1 2008 16.7%
Matt Painter Purdue 1 2005 11.1%

For what's it worth, the coaches who have yet to win a Big Ten title have all joined the conference recently, with Fran McCaffery being around the longest (four seasons). Patrick Chambers has coached the Nittany Lions for three seasons, Tim Miles and John Groce have been here for two seasons and Richard Pitino and Chris Collins just completed their first season in the conference.