BOZICH BLOG: Hoosiers Looking For Another Big Ten First - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH BLOG: Hoosiers Looking For Another Big Ten First

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Indiana has yet to win the Big Ten Tournament and has only played in the championship game once. Indiana has yet to win the Big Ten Tournament and has only played in the championship game once.

CHICAGO (WDRB) -- The Big Ten was late to the conference tournament party. As long as Bob Knight ruled the league, there was always one loud and determined contrarian.

Eventually Knight lost his clout, and a new generation of Big Ten coaches started setting the agenda. The Big Ten finally joined the conference tournament concept in 1998. So this tournament, played here this weekend in the shadows of the Michael Jordan statue at the United Center, is the league's 16th event.

Seven different programs have won the Big Ten Tournament at least once. Here is the list of five schools that have not – Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska and Indiana.

Knight didn't put much juice into his three Big Ten appearances. Mike Davis made the Hoosiers' only appearance in the Big Ten title game. Kevin Sampson couldn't figure it out for two seasons. And, until last season, Tom Crean has been undermanned.

Indiana is here as the Number One seed trying to win Big Ten title number one. That would be the equivalent of Ohio State going 16 seasons without winning the Big Ten championship football game.

Indiana gets a quarterfinal game Friday against Illinois, which beat Minnesota, 51-49, on a jumper by Brandon Paul at the buzzer.

Buzzer beater? Illinois? Indiana knows the feeling. The Hoosiers led the Illini by 14 points in the second half before losing, 74-72, on a layup at the buzzer in Champaign on Feb. 7.

*College basketball is dying? People are losing interest? Tickets are tough to sell.

Don't trot out those story lines in the Big Ten. They've sold standing room tickets for the tournament here. It's been sold out for weeks.

Mark Silverman, president of the Big Ten Network, told Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report, that ratings for Big Ten Network regular season conference games increased 27 percent this season. Ratings were also up 20 percent for The Journey, a feature show that focuses on Big Ten players and coaches.

"If you look at where we were six years ago (the BTN started in 2007) to where we are now, it's hard to believe," Silverman told Sherman. "People now know if it's Wednesday night, we're going to have a doubleheader. They know where to find the Sunday night shows. They're coming to us."

*Tough times continue for former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith. His future at Minnesota is absolutely in doubt. After the Gophers defeated Indiana Feb. 26, Minnesota also beat Penn State.

But now the Gophers have lost three straight. And they cannot score. Cannot score.

Just 51 points at Nebraska. And on Thursday, Minnesota only scored 16 points in the first half against Illinois before losing, 51-49.

They rallied to move ahead, 49-46, with 2:55 to play. Then Minnesota failed to score again.

Joe Lunardi still has the Gophers in the NCAA field as a nine-seed, but the sentiment in Minnesota seems to be shifting toward paying Smith his $2.5 million buyout and making a change.

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