Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top NCAA Tournament Conferences

As the Big East gets ready to enter a possible record 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament, I thought I would take a look back at how the various conferences have done in recent NCAA Tournament History. For recent, I choose a nice round number (2000). Since 2000, here are the conferences with the most wins in the tournament:

1. Big East 104
2. Big Twelve 97
3. ACC 96
4. Big Ten 92
5. SEC 74
6. Pac Ten 73

It is no surprise that the Big East has had the most wins. This is for two reasons. First, the Big East has 16 teams and because of that has more potential teams in the tournament each year. The second reason is that the Big East has been the best conference in recent history.

However, when we look at tournament win percentage, the story is a little different.

1. ACC .653
2. Big Twelve .618
3. Big Ten .613
4. Big East .608
5. Pac Ten .589
6. SEC .565

So although the Big East has been one of the best conferences, they haven't been the best overall tournament conference. When you get 7+ teams in every year, there are going to be some that lose in the first round which will make the win percentage lower.

Next is the number of Final Four appearances by Conference.

1. ACC 10
2. Big Ten 9
3. Big Twelve 6
Big East 6
5. SEC 4
Pac Ten 4

The ACC is the top conference again. The Big Ten is helped by Michigan State going to 5 Final Fours since 2000.

The Big Twelve is third, but they have had the most opportunities. Here is the number of Elite Eight appearances by Conferences.

1. Big Twelve 18
2. Big East 13
Big Ten 13
4. ACC 11
5. Pac Ten 10
6. SEC 9

And it hasn't been just one school in the Big Twelve that has been the source of those 18 appearances. The Big Twelve also leads with the most schools making an Elite Eight appearance since 2000 while the ACC has been dominated by just a few schools. Here is the number of schools making Elite Eight since 2000.

1. Big Twelve 8
2. Big East 7
3. Big Ten 6
4. SEC 5
Pac Ten 5
6. ACC 4

And finally the ultimate measure of success is number of championships. Here are the number of national championships by conference since 2000.

1. ACC 5
2. SEC 2
Big East 2
4. Big Twelve 1
Big Ten 1

In Summary, the tournament has been dominated by the Big 6 (BCS) Conferences since 2000. No team outside of those conferences has won a National Championship in that time frame although Memphis and Butler came very close. In addition, the SEC and Pacific Ten have performed well below the other four conferences in almost every category (except for Florida's two National Championships).

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