This is the state of Big Ten basketball these days: A head coach leaves to join the Navy

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March 31, 2014 | 4:36 pm

Navy basketball hasn't been noteworthy since David Robinson played for the Midshipmen.

That was a quarter-century ago.

Robinson was nicknamed "The Admiral." He never actually reached the rank of admiral. He left the Navy as a lieutenant, junior grade. Not bad, that. And he was a heck of a player.

But while Navy won three Patriot League conference tourneys to get into the NCAAs in the 1990s, it's been lost at sea in the sport for the most part. Two weeks ago, Billy Lange resigned after seven seasons as head coach to become associate head coach at Villanova. Lange's record was 92-115.

So who has Navy hired to replace Lange? Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis.

That's right, a Big Ten head coach is leaving to coach Navy.

DeChellis finally got Penn State to the NCAA tourney in March, in his eighth season as coach there. The Nittany Lions got to the tourney for the first time in 10 years, albeit with an 19-14 record. They then lost a "second-round" (first-round, actually) game against Temple. They got to the NCAAs because they won their way to the Big Ten tournament final, including a 36-33 classic over Wisconsin in the quarterfinals, and a 51-48 thriller over Michigan State in the semis.

Penn State did go 27-11 (10-8 in the Big Ten) and won the NIT in 2009, which would have looked really good to Iowa anytime in the last five years.

But DeChellis' Big Ten record was 41-95. He was 4-8 against Iowa.

One reason I think Iowa can get into the first-division of the Big Ten sooner than later: The rest of the league.

Penn State-Nebraska may make for some good football games, but they won't stir much imagination when they meet in basketball.

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