ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Big Ten Tournament hasn’t necessarily been kind to the Michigan basketball team.
Since the tournament’s inception in 1998, the Wolverines have won the championship only once — and that trophy was forfeited after the NCAA levied sanctions against the men’s basketball program.
Michigan is 14-17 (18-18 prior to sanctions) in Big Ten Tournament games, but some of its recent wins have helped propel the program into the NCAA Tournament.
The eighth-seeded Wolverines (20-11, 10-8 Big Ten) open the conference tournament at noon ET Thursday against No. 9 Illinois (18-13, 8-10).
Here are five memorable moments for Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.
1998: The lone trophy
Michigan won the first Big Ten Tournament championship in 1998 as Robert “Tractor” Traylor scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds in a 76-67 win against Purdue.
Yet the conference championship was vacated following NCAA sanctions against the basketball program, stemming from booster Ed Martin paying Michigan’s players in the early 1990s. Since then, Michigan hasn’t won the Big Ten Tournament and has played only once for the championship since 1999.
In case you want to relive the vacated Big Ten championship …
2012: Trey Burke’s big game
In a 73-69 overtime win against Minnesota in the tournament quarterfinals, freshman guard Trey Burke scored a career-high 30 points and set a single-game school scoring record in the Big Ten Tournament.
Burke’s 30 points helped the Wolverines rally from an 11-point deficit with less than 5 minutes left in the second half.
2014: A win against a rival
Any win against Ohio State is a good win, right?
En route to qualifying for its fifth NCAA Tournament in six seasons, Michigan beat Ohio State 72-69 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State erased a 12-point halftime deficit but the Wolverines closed the game on a 7-1 run and got a boost from Nik Stauskas, who scored 18 points.
Many might also remember Aaron Craft’s ill-fated 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
2016: Two wins in two days
Michigan was a bubble team entering the 2016 Big Ten Tournament, fighting to keep its NCAA bid hopes alive, and two memorable moments came out of the tournament.
In a 72-70 win against Northwestern in the second round of the tournament, Zak Irvin’s basket with 3 seconds left in overtime gave Michigan another day in the tournament and kept the Wolverines’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
The next day, Kam Chatman hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer from the far corner against top-seeded Indiana in a tournament quarterfinal, which solidified the Wolverines’ hopes for an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament. (Purdue eliminated Michigan from the conference tournament in the semifinals.)
Vote for the top Michigan moment at the Big Ten Tournament