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March 25, 2021 @ 04:53 PM

Just something to ponder: The five best teams in the conference were Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue. Michigan didn't play anybody of note in the non-conference, beating the doors off a few mid-majors and the like but also being forced to overtime by Oakland at home. Illinois beat Duke (Of course, it turned out the Blue Devils were not Big Dance-worthy) but lost against Baylor and Missouri and that was after BARELY beating Ohio at home. Purdue lost a neutral-site game to Clemson and a pure road game against Miami. Iowa beat UNC somewhat handily at home, but gave up 99 points while losing to Gonzaga in a neutral-site game (And the final margin of 11 wasn't quite indicative, the Zags could have won by probably 16-18). And Ohio State won against UCLA in what was technically a neutral-site contest, but I don't consider a 7-point win against the Bruins in Cleveland that impressive.

Going further down the conference standings: Yes, Wisconsin beat Loyola but they also lost to Marquette. Nebraska lost to Nevada, Georgia Tech and Creighton. Michigan State, strangely, didn't play anybody that turned out to be good. Indiana lost to Texas and Florida State. Oddly, and granted this is with a bit of hindsight, the best non-conference win was probably Penn State going to Virginia Tech and beating the Hokies by 20 points. In my opinion, it's either that or Minnesota early in the season beating a then-red hot Saint Louis team (Before SLU saw their season basically ruined by COVID). The top of the conference just didn't do much against good teams when they stepped out of conference, now granted they didn't get many opportunities, but it's just another thing to consider in what turned out to be such a strange season.

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