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Three's company

Big Ten has presence in regional finals, Final Four

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Posted: Monday March 27, 2000 04:12 AM

  Maurice Linton and the Badgers slammed the Boilermakers in two of their three meetings. Jed Jacobsohn/Allsport

By Ryan Hunt,

If more is indeed merrier, the Big Ten is downright giddy.

With wins by Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State in the regional semifinals, the Big Ten became the ninth conference in history to place three teams in the Elite Eight. The last conference to do it? The Big Ten, in 1992 (Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan).

The Big Ten couldn't, however, become the first league since the Big East in 1985 to send three teams to the Final Four. Wisconsin and Purdue played for the West Regional title -- their fourth meeting this season.

It was only the eighth time since the tournament began seeding teams in 1979 that two teams from the same conference will meet in the regional finals.

Three For All
Conferences with three regional finalists
Year  Conf.  Teams 
2000  Big Ten  Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin 
1992  Big Ten  Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State 
1989  Big East  Georgetown, Seton Hall, Syracuse 
1988  Big Eight  Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma 
1987  Big East  Georgetown, Providence, Syracuse 
1986  SEC  Auburn, Kentucky, LSU 
1985  Big East  Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova 
1983  ACC  North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia 
1982  Big East  Boston Coll., Georgetown, Villanova 
Italics=Final Four

It also was the first time since 1992 that two teams meet four times in one season. Cincinnati beat Memphis State in all four meetings, the last for a trip to the Final Four.

Teams playing four times in one season isn't as rare as you may think. Of the seven previous times conference rivals have met in the regional finals, five were playing for the fourth time.

In six of the eight conference showdowns in regional finals, the lower-seeded team has won. The Badgers are seeded No. 8, while the Boilermakers are a No. 6 seed.

And thanks to their win over Purdue, the Badgers earned the right to play Michigan State for a fourth time -- this time in the Final Four. The Spartans have beat Wisconsin in all three meetings, and could join the '92 Bearcats as the only teams to sweep an opponent four straight in a single season.

So We Meet Again
Conferences foes meeting in regional finals
Year  Result 
2000  Wisconsin vs. Purdue 
1992  Cincinnati 88, Memphis St. 57 
1992  Michigan 75, Ohio State 71 
1990  Arkansas 88, Texas 
1988  Kansas 66, Kansas State 59 
1987  Providence 88, Georgetown 73 
1986  LSU 59, Kentucky 57 
1983  N.C. State 63, Virginia 62 

For the conferences with three teams in the regional finals, though, it's rare that all three teams have each been in a different region -- only twice in eight instances.

At the very least, the Badgers-Boilermakers battle guaranteed the Big Ten a Final Four team for the third time in four years.

With Michigan State's win over Iowa State, the Big Ten has two teams in the Final Four in back-to-back seasons. The only other conference to accomplish that feat was the ACC in '90 (Georgia Tech and Duke) and '91 (North Carolina and Duke).

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What madness? This year's tourney far from craziest
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