Big Ten Network Bracket of Classics Historical College Basketball Simulation Round 14

Big Ten Historical College Basketball Tournament featuring Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa and more. Which team is the best? See the bracket below for scores, recaps and boxscores.
1
16
Indiana 75-76
Penn St. 00-01
96
77
8
9
Illinois 04-05
Mich. St. 08-09
85
75
4
13
Indiana 80-81
Purdue 79-80
85
81
5
12
Mich. St. 99-00
Ohio St. 67-68
89
79
3
14
Michigan 88-89
Illinois 88-89
92
90
6
11
Indiana 86-87
Wisc. 06-07
88
87
7
10
Ohio St. 06-07
Wisc. 99-00
73
59
2
15
Mich. St. 78-79
Iowa 00-01
84
75
1
8
Indiana 75-76
Illinois 04-05
86
89
4
5
Indiana 80-81
Mich. St. 99-00
78
81
3
6
Michigan 88-89
Indiana 86-87
93
87
7
2
Ohio St. 06-07
Mich. St. 78-79
82
76
8
5
Illinois 04-05
Mich. St. 99-00
82
76
3
7
Michigan 88-89
Ohio St. 06-07
83
82
8
3
Illinois 04-05
Michigan 88-89

Bracket of Classics

WhatIfSports.com, in partnership with the Big Ten Network and sponsored by Reese's, present a tournament of Big Ten classic teams.

Included in the tournament are three Indiana National Championship teams, Earvin "Magic" Johnson's 1978-79 Michigan State squad, and the 1988-89 Michigan Wolverines featuring Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson.

Whatifsports.com used its sophisticated college basketball simulation engine to "play" each game 101 times. You can simulate the games too with our
SimMatchup College Basketball tool.

Play Hoops Dynasty -- the best online college basketball game on the web.
Illinois
Michigan State
8
5
Illinois 04-05
MSU 99-00
82
76
It was a final score that caused you to do a double-take.

Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans completed the 1999-00 Big Ten schedule with a 114-63 drubbing of Michigan. This game was on March 4th, 2000.

A month later the Spartans were national champions.

Bruce Weber and his Illini's 37-win season resulted in nothing more than to play second fiddle to North Carolina.

"When you really study the (2004-05) season, we were two or three possessions away from total perfection," coach Weber said when looking back at the last second loss to Ohio State and a few missed opportunities in the national title game.

Sometimes all a team needs is a second chance to make things right.

But if these teams truly wanted to win, they had a funny way of demonstrating it on the court. Both Illinois (6 of 18) and Michigan State (7 of 20) could not find the touch from beyond the arc. Free-throw shooting was just as atrocious, with the Illini finishing at 60-percent and the Spartans at 59-percent.

The first half was an offensive struggle. Neither team pulled away with commanding leads, nor did they eclipse 30 points in the first 20 minutes.

Let's fast forward to the frantic last five minutes of the ball game.

Dee Brown knocks out a jumper off the pass from James Augustine. Illinois was up eight and a victory was all but locked up.

"A lot of times you are searching for one leader on your team," coach Weber said. "We were so fortunate to have Deron (Williams) and Dee as leaders."

Under two minutes to go and the Spartans gasping for life, a young Jason Richardson woke up the crowd with a thunderous dunk. David Thomas followed with a three-pointer, and Michigan State cut the lead to three.

Thirty seconds to go in the game, MSU with the rock and a chance to tie. They work the ball around and get it in the hands of one of the famous "Flintstones", Morris Peterson. With his, and the Spartans', season hanging on this very shot, Peterson confidently stroked a three as the Spartan faithful went wild.

Illinois, knowing they still had a chance to win, pushed the ball down court, and with one second remaining Dee Brown knocked down a game-tying jumper.

Heartbreak for Michigan State, right? Well, not yet.

The Spartans reacted with a quick heave down court to a wide open Mo' Pete' and he buried a jumper as time expired, sending the game into OT.

However, jubiliation for Spartanville was short-lived. Tom Izzo watched as his team only enjoyed one lead in the extra five minutes. And when Illinois took a four point lead in the final 45 seconds, the Spartans' last dance ended.

The Orange Crush of Illinois advance to the "Bracket of Classics" championship game with an overtime win, 82-76.


Player of the game: Deron Williams (29 points)

Winning Percentage of 101 Simulations: Illinois 2004-05 (77%)
Michigan
Ohio State
3
7
Michigan 88-89
Ohio St. 06-07
83
82
Their rivalry may not translate onto the basketball court, but it's always nice to see Michigan vs. Ohio State on the schedule. This is especially true when something valuable is on the line. In this case, the winner earns a trip to the
"Bracket of Classics" championship game.

Michigan alum Terry Mills says he doesn't dwell on the championship season, but every March when the madness hits home he is constantly reminded about what his Wolverines accomplished. He says that's okay.

"That ride was fantastic, phenomenal and one of the greatest experiences of my life, something i will never forget," Mill said. "We were always labeled as underachievers. We just came together and said there's no one who can actually do this, but us."

About 20 years separate these two programs. It's profound to claim how different the style of play was and how athletes from this decade are bigger, faster and stronger than their peers of yesteryear. Yet, this game goes down as the most closely contested match-up of the tournament. As you can see by the final score and by the fact Michigan only won 53.4% of the time. This game was a classic example of the Wolverine-Buckeye rivalry.

The first 15 minutes of this game was what college basketball is all about. No team took more than a six-point lead. The game was either tied or one team had a two-point advantage. This was a classic in the making.

With less than three minutes to go in the half, Rumeal Robison flipped the script and handed Michigan a ten-point lead with a six-foot floater.

Ohio State did not panic and while the Wolverines struggled from the floor, the Buckeyes converted on three straight buckets before the half to creep within four.

The second half played out eerily similar to the first. Michigan maintained leads between three and six points over the first ten minutes.

Ohio State's Ron Lewis once again came to the rescue for the Bucks. The senior guard splashed down a triple to tie the game at 52 with ten minutes to go.

However, Ohio State couldn't get over the hump; they were always chasing the carrot Michigan was dangling in front of them. Glen Rice had a quiet game compared to his 35-point explosion earlier this tournament, but when Michigan needed him most, "G-Money" registered a clutch three with under a minute to go to put his team up five, 79-74. New head coach Steve Fisher watched as his team hit enough of their free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.

Othello Hunter hit a meaningless three-pointer to make the final score appear closer.

Michigan moves on to the "Bracket of Classics" championship with an 83-82 win.


Player of the game: Greg Oden (24 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks)

Winning Percentage of 101 Simulations: Michigan (53.4%) /span>
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