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Big Ten basketball’s national title drought reaches historic proportions

Big Ten basketball has traditionally been one of the strongest and deepest leagues in the country. Unfortunately for the conference, that reputation has not led to regular national titles.

Monday night, Matt Painter and Purdue were the latest to try and end the title drought that dates back to 2000 in a showdown against UConn. Instead of winning the Big Ten’s first title in nearly a quarter of a century, the Boilermakers ran out of steam before falling 75-60 to the Huskies.

As a result, Michigan State’s national championship in 2000 under Tom Izzo remains the most recent title for the B1G, a drought approaching 25 years if things do not turn around. By contrast, UConn just put the finishing touches on its 6th national title since 1999.

Making matters worse, the league has been able to get back to this stage with 12 title game appearances across men’s and women’s basketball since the Spartans cut down the nets in 2000. Unfortunately, B1G teams are 0-12 in those opportunities, including Iowa’s women’s team and Caitlin Clark going 0-for-2 and Purdue’s loss Monday night.

Will things change in the 2024-25 season? The B1G does get bigger with the additions of USC, UCLA, Washington and Oregon, but none of those programs currently appear poised to deliver a national title immediately. And of the best teams from the league this season, Purdue is likely to need a replacement for Zach Edey and Illinois will replace a key core of players from an Elite 8 team.

Fan reaction

Teams in the Big Ten will look to improve their roster in the offseason. But, for now, there is a fair amount of criticism and scrutiny to go around after another year without a ring.

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