The horrible, didn't deserve six bids, boring, "down" year Big 10 finished round 1 of the NCAA tournament 5-1, including wins from 2 of the three teams seeded lower than their opponents. The only loser was Illinois, the weakest offensive team of the bunch.
Illinois gave up the final 12 points of the game to Virginia Tech, but it wasn't a defensive collapse. No, Illinois couldn't handle pressure defense from VT that my junior high teams would have easily mastered (yes, we were good, but not that damn good). The Illini committed as many turnovers in the last 8 minutes of the game as they had in the first 32. Missing Deron Williams. As a fan, and even with a 23 win season, all I can say is "thank God this season is over". It's been brutal.
More importantly, it'll be fun to watch the talking heads continue to blast the Big 10 teams this weekend, feigning surprise with nearly every victory.
They do this every year seemingly. The last time the Big 10 was "down" this badly was in 2005, when Illinois played for the national title and Michigan State joined their conference brethren in the Final Four.
Hopefully, 2005 is instructive for 2007. As a fan of the conference, being "down" isn't so bad.