Michigan basketball is the Big Ten champion. That is what it is.
However, Illinois can’t pass up that, after beating Michigan last week and continuing to roll, they don’t have that distinction.
You see, the Illini will have played three more conference games than the Wolverines, but with game cancellations due to COVID-19, the conference is going by overall winning percentage. And with Michigan 19-3 compared to Illinois 20-6, the Wolverines secured the right to be champions, as the conference recognized.
However, that didn’t stop Illini from whistling after their game on Saturday.
“I believe that when all is said and done, we will be co-champions,” Dosunmu said. “I mean, look at our resume. We lost four games, I think. We beat Michigan, who are the champions. They did not play three more games. Any day in the Big Ten, anyone can be defeated. I think we show that we are one of the best teams in the country. With this victory tonight, we believe that we are champions of the Big Ten ”.
But, no matter what the Illinois contingent says, they are not Big Ten champions. And head coach Juwan Howard is not going to have anything from anyone wanting to delegitimize what corn and blue have accomplished this year.
When asked about Fighting Illini’s claim after the Wolverines’ loss to MSU on Sunday, Howard didn’t mince words.
“I don’t mess with those things, man. You won’t get any sound byte from me or from any bulletin board (expletive removed), I don’t care about any of that, ”Howard said. “I just care that we are Big Ten champions and I am very proud of our guys for working hard since June. All the unknowns, being able to pivot and sacrifice how your college life is supposed to be. But they still manage to have a season and then be stars in their own role. That is amazing what our student-athletes were able to endure and overcome and at the same time achieve something special, that is the title of the Big Ten. So I’m not going to let anyone, I repeat, anyone, try to screw it up. They earned it. “
Illinois has a chance to win a title, at the Big Ten Tournament or beyond. But when it comes to the Big Ten regular season, a 16-4 conference record is worse than a 14-3 record.
You’ll just have to make peace with your salt, because Michigan can hang a banner while the Illini can’t. It’s that easy.