Polling Place: How deep will Loyola go? And what the heck happened to the Big Ten?

The idea that Big Ten teams are spent by tournament time because of how hard they are on one another throughout the season just plain a lame excuse.

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Loyola Chicago v Illinois

Disappointed Illini leave the floor after the loss to Loyola.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

So about that national championship Loyola is getting ready to win …

Is it actually going to happen? Will the Ramblers have to (ahem) settle for another trip to the Final Four? Will their dream die Monday in the Elite Eight or Saturday in the Sweet 16?

That was subject No. 1 in this week’s “Polling Place,” your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter. Look, we count on you to know these things. Three-quarters of respondents answered that the Ramblers will either make it to the Final Four — but fall short of a title — or go down in the Elite Eight against the Houston-Syracuse winner.

We also asked which of the three remaining No. 1 seeds will be next to follow Illinois into the discard pile and — a big, fat question — what the heck happened to the disastrous Big Ten? Of the nine Big Ten teams that made the NCAA Tournament, only East No. 1 seed Michigan remains in it.

“Overrated league,” @StevePrimrose commented.

Sure seems like it. On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: Loyola plays Saturday against Oregon State in the Sweet 16. How much further will the Ramblers go?

Upshot: As you can see, respondents give Oregon State about as good a chance of beating the Ramblers as the typical Bears quarterback has of outperforming Aaron Rodgers. You see how easy it is to turn on a dime and rip the Bears’ QB play? Anyway, sure, the whole Final Four thing sounds like a fine plan. Who doesn’t want another week of deep-dive stories about Cameron Krutwig’s mustache?

Poll No. 2: Which remaining No. 1 seed will be the next to fall?

Upshot: Next up for Michigan is always-dangerous Florida State, the kind of opponent that can junk up a game but also out-athlete you. Clearly, respondents have little faith in the Wolverines. Baylor should be able to handle injury-depleted Villanova, and Gonzaga has what appears to be a relatively easy “W” against Creighton. Wait, did we just jinx the Zags?

Poll No. 3: A Big Ten team still hasn’t won the tournament since Michigan State in 2000. What’s the deal?

Upshot: “How can you leave out ‘they beat each other up too much’?” @chi_ab asked. That was kind of tied into the “caveman” option. Then again, isn’t the idea that Big Ten teams are spent by tournament time because of how hard they are on one another throughout the season just plain a lame excuse? It’s not like opponents in other conferences are having picnics and sing-alongs out there.

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