A few Big Ten basketball legends are now on the cusp of basketball immortality.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 14 finalists for its class of 2017, and included in that list are long-time Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, Michigan Fab Five member Chris Webber and former Illinois coach Bill Self.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) February 18, 2017
Ryan, who has now been a Hall of Fame finalist for three straight years, posted a .737 winning-percentage in his 14-year Wisconsin career and owns 747 career wins as a college coach. He led Wisconsin to two Final Four appearances in a row, losing to Kentucky in the 2014 Final Four and Duke in the 2015 National Championship game.
Under Ryan, Wisconsin won seven Big Ten titles and made 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. About month into the 2015-2016 basketball season, Ryan retired from coaching and handed the reigns to his protege and current Wisconsin coach Greg Gard.
A member of the The Fab Five, Chris Webber, a Detroit native, came to Michigan and starred as one of the Wolverines premier players. Webber helped Michigan advance to two straight National Championship games.
Webber averaged 17.9 points a game in his two seasons at Michigan and was selected with the first overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He played in 831 games in a 15-year NBA career.
While Self made his career as the head coach of Kansas, Illini fans remember his three-year stint in Champaign, when he went 78-24, making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Self left Illinois for Kansas after the 2002-2003 season, but not after building most of the Illini team that lost the 2005 National Championship game to North Carolina.
The inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced at the Final Four on April 3.