Three teams made it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, but none of them made it to the Elite Eight. Maryland lost on Thursday night and on Friday, the Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a tight contest and the Indiana Hoosiers got dismantled by the North Carolina Tar Heels. Both teams were the lower seeds in the their games, but there was some buzz around both Big Ten teams potentially pulling off upsets.
The loss that the Badgers suffered to the Fighting Irish is going to sting for a while considering how it happened. It was a tight game down the stretch, but Notre Dame pressed and Demetrius Jackson stole the ball from Nigel Hayes with less than 20 seconds remaining and put in the go-ahead layup for the Irish. After a Bronson Koenig missed layup and two made free-throws from V.J. Beachem, Jackson sealed the game by stealing the ball from the Koening.
Everything that could have went wrong for Wisconsin went wrong at the end of the game. It started with Ethan Happ fouling out and it ended with Jackson having two big steals in crucial moments to win the game. Wisconsin did suffer a heartbreaking loss, but they did have a pretty remarkable season.
Bo Ryan retired midseason and the they lost to a team named Western Illinois this year, but they ended up making it to the Sweet 16. They lost their two best players from last year's Final Four team, but they still found success. Ethan Happ was terrific for the team this year, and most of the players that played meaningful minutes for the team this year will be back next season. So the Badgers still have a bright outlook going into next season.
The Hoosiers were just straight up outplayed by the Tar Heels in their game. North Carolina came to play and they put on an offensive clinic against the Hoosiers. Indiana had a really good season and coach Tom Crean deserves a lot of credit for bringing this team to the Sweet 16. They arguably were the best team in the Big Ten this season, which is very impressive. Yogi Ferrell's career as a Hoosier ended Friday night and now it will be a little weird to not see Ferrell in a Hoosiers' uniform next year.
The future is pretty bright for Indiana, especially if some of their underclassmen decide to return to school. Hopefully Thomas Bryant will come back to school for at least one more year cause towards the end of this season he was really starting to find his groove. He could be one of the best players in the Big Ten next season if he returns. Overall, the Hoosiers certainly overachieved this season.
What a season for the Big Ten, but all good things must come to end. The Big Ten will not be represented by any team for the rest of the NCAA tournament, which is disappointing. They should have at least got one team to the Final Four, but nobody even made it to the Elite Eight.
Additionally, Friday night was a the last time that we get to see Yogi Ferrell in a Hoosier's uniform, which is crazy to think about. He had fantastic career and he will be missed by Hoosiers' fans, Big Ten fans, and college basketball fans in general. Ferrell should be in the NBA next season, so it is not the last time we will see Ferrell play basketball.
The Sweet 16 is over and so are the NCAA tournament title hopes of every Big Ten team that made the tournament.