Conference Comparisons After Round 1

For college sports fans with teams who suck, it seems the default mechanism nowadays is to champion the strength of your conference to make yourself feel better about said suckage. We’ve all had conversations with Big East conference homers in basketball and SEC conference homers in football (I’m pretty sure I am one).

Every year the Big Dance acts as the rule that the conferences are measured against. Whoever dominates the tournament has bragging rights for the year.

So… How do the conferences stand up after round one? Have a look below:

  • Big East – 4 of 8 teams remain = 50%
  • Big 12 – 5 of 7 teams remain = 71%
  • ACC – 4 of 6 teams remain = 67%
  • Big 10 – 4 of 5 teams remain = 80%
  • SEC – 2 of 4 teams remain = 50%
  • Pac 10 – 2 of 2 teams remain =100%
  • Mid-Majors – 11 of 33 teams remain = 33%

Obviously of note in that comparison should be the relative success of the Big 12, ACC, and Big 10 versus the relative failure of the Big East and SEC. The fact that the Pac 10 won both of their games is commendable, considering how terrible that conference looked all year. Also noteworthy is the fact that 11 mid-major teams are still alive after the first weekend.

These numbers alone don’t tell you that much in the grand scheme of things. What’s really interesting is looking at how the conferences have performed in terms of seeding. To analyze this, I’ve listed the number of teams that have performed at or below their seeding for each conference.

  • Big East – 5 teams performed at or above their seed, while 3 teams played below their seeding. 0 teams performed above their seeding.
  • Big 12 – 5 teams performed at or above their seed, while 2 teams played below their seeding. 1 team performed above their seeding.
  • ACC - 5 teams performed at or above their seed, while 1 team played below their seeding. 1 team performed above their seeding.
  • Big 10 – All 5 teams performed at or above their seed. 0 teams performed above their seeding.
  • SEC – 4 teams performed at or above their seed, while 1 team played below their seeding. 0 teams performed above their seeding.
  • Pac 10 – 2 teams performed at or above their seed, while 0 teams played below their seeding. 1 team performed above their seeding.
  • Mid-Majors – 30 teams performed at or above their seed, while 3 teams played below their seeding. 6 teams performed above their seeding.

This is where it gets a little more interesting. With 3 teams playing below their seeding and 0 teams performing above their seeding, it’s safe to say that the Big East has under-achieved compared to the other conferences. The Big 12 had 2 teams perform below their seeding, but they also had one perform above their seeding.The other major conferences performed as you would probably expect.

Obviously, the big winner in all this is the Mid-Major fan. 30 of 33 teams played at or above their seeding, while only 3 performed below their seeding. In fact, the three teams that performed below their seeding actually lost to other mid-major teams. An impressive 6 teams performed above their seeding.

What have we learned from all this? Getting the most teams in doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best conference in terms of quality. Not this year at least…

Luke Warm Linkage

FUBAR, Dick. Very FUBAR.

Only One Game Matters

The college basketball season, according to any calendar, lasts roughly four and a half months.  Add in the official kick-off to practice known far and wide as “Midnight Madness” and that time frame expands another month or so.

Over the course of the college basketball season, a team can play one to two exhibition games, upwards of a dozen or more out-of-conference games and a full slate of an additional 16 or so conference games.  Then, in a good year, they add on three to four games in their respective conference tournament.  And in a truly special and all-to-fleeting, exceptional year…there is the opportunity to play six more games at the end of March.

Six more games.

“Does Team X have what it takes to win six games in March?”

“A six-game win streak in March can make legends.”

Arguably, these are the six most important games of the college basketball season.

More than 1,300 minutes of regulation basketball, countless hours of travel, practice, MORE practice, tape-watching sessions, months….YEARS of hard work all to prepare a team for six games in March.

But, those six games don’t matter one bit if the first one is lost.

And, for any realists out there, winning those six games is not something for every team.  Some teams work for years for the chance to play just ONE of those games.  Most teams that even get the chance, are able to play 2, maybe 3 of them.

So, after all of the pain and hard work from the regular season and conference tournaments has past; after the the guys in the suits in a New York studio unveil a bracket that is poured over by millions of eager and excited fans for three, full days; there is only one game.

And that is this game.  This next game.  Nothing else, no game before or after, exists.  This is the only game that matters.

And it tips off in just a few, short hours.

NCAA Tournament Thrown Into Chaos as Committee Chair Recognizes Error

Dan Guerrero

Selection Committee Chair Dan Guerrero

Tournament brackets and office pools throughout the US were suddenly thrown into disarray this morning when it was announced that the South and Midwest Brackets would be switched in their entirety. The change comes after Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee Chair Dan Guerrero finally understood what everybody had been bitching about since Selection Sunday and realized that the Committee had erred in its placement of Kansas and Duke.

“We probably should have discovered it before today,” Guerrero said in an exclusive fake EJSIC interview, “but after a week of selecting and reseeding teams, I sort of mailed in all those post-selection show interviews. I don’t really even recall any of the questions I was asked. But when I got up to fill out my bracket this morning I looked at Duke’s draw and though, ‘what the hell is this?’ “

The result of the change is a logistical nightmare for teams and office pool operators everywhere. The entire South Bracket will simply be switched to the Midwest and vice versa. With the current pod system, the change doesn’t affect the game sites for more than half the teams involved, including Duke and Kansas who will remain in Jacksonville and Oklahoma City, respectively. However, other teams scheduled to play at those locations will be deeply affected.

“We can’t really think of anything else to do except charter a bunch of planes and get the teams on the move,” Guerrero said.

As a result, teams have had to make some quick adjustments. And, understandably, not everybody is happy.

“Look, I thought it was ridiculous when I saw the brackets, too,” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. “But this is ridiculous. We weren’t expecting to play until tomorrow. Now we are forced to get up, run to the airport and play a nooner in Oklahoma City? Wait, can you not print that I called it a nooner?”

Bracket managers are equally disappointed in the move.

“We were all set to go,” said Joe Davis, bracket manager at Davis, Stearns and Thomason CPA firm. “This was as organized as we’d ever been too. I set up bracket challenge thing on line. Everybody paid in advance on PayPal and now we just have to start from scratch all in one day because the Committee wasn’t paying attention. It’s really unfortunate.”

Rick Neuheisel could not be reached for comment.

Asked why make such a drastic change this late in the process, Guerrero had a simple explanation.

“Well, I think it’s just most important that at the end of the day we get it right,” he said. “That and I hate Duke just as much as everybody else.”

Luke Warm Linkage

Come home Dave. America needs you.

SEC Tournament Wrap-up

Well, we’ve reached the conclusion to the 2010 edition of the SEC tournament, and Kentucky fans will have something to smile about as they sit in traffic on I-65 north this afternoon.

Though the win can partly be attributed to the willingness of Mississippi State to be careless with the ball late in regulation, it took a couple of amazing plays by the Cats to seal the deal. The biggest of which being John Wall’s ridiculously tough 3 pointer late in overtime to make it a 4 point lead, and essentially sealing Miss St’s fate.

But there was more, and here are a couple of other tidbits from my view in the stands:

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Bubble Team Movement

As we’ve looked at in some previous articles (1 and 2), there is some movement by teams in the RPI between the start of conference play and the end of the regular season. Shred Torn pointed out that one of the most important places that a team should be concerned with would be movement of bubble teams. So, let’s artificially look at who was ranked between 35 and 75 on January 12th and how far those teams moved by March 8th. Likewise, I’ll also explore the teams that ended the season in that range and identify where they started the conference slate.

January 12th with March 8th ranking in parentheses:
35. Texas A&M (12)
36. Texas Tech (71)
37. Clemson (27)
38. San Diego State (36)
39. Old Dominion (33)
40. Siena (37)
41. North Carolina (85)
42. Marshall (62)
43. Baylor (8)
44. Georgia Tech (44)
45. Minnesota (78)
46. Louisville (30)
47. VCU (65)
48. Western Kentucky (125)
49. Nevada (64)
50. Harvard (95)
51. Southern Cal (108)
52. Mississippi State (69)
53. Notre Dame (59)
54. Western Carolina (116)
55. Missouri (38)
56. Cincinnati (68)
57. Mississippi (57)
58. Northeastern (72)
59. Wichita State (45)
60. Missouri State (92)
61. Ohio State (29)
62. St. John’s (76)
63. Washington (49)
64. Arizona (87)
65. Oakland (61)
66. Louisiana Tech (80)
67. Alabama (98)
68. Northwestern (117)
69. Western Michigan (152)
70. Illinois (75)
71. South Carolina (84)
72. Miami (123)
73. Florida State (35)
74. Virginia Tech (50)
75. Murray State (60)

Continue reading

Conference Championship Central

ESPN has dubbed the week of March 8th, Championship Week as countless college basketball conferences crown a champion. The winners receive an automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The following has a link to every conference tournament bracket as well as which team is the top seed and that teams current RPI from Finally, it will include a list of all possible at-large teams from each conference.

America East
Top Seed: Stony Brook 13-3, RPI 128
Possible at-large: None

Atlantic 10
Top Seed: Temple (15)
Possible at-large: Xavier (19), Richmond (28), Rhode Island (30), and Dayton (42).

Atlantic Coast Conference
Top Seed: Duke (2)
Possible at-large: Maryland (20), Clemson (24), Wake Forest (34), Georgia Tech (35), Florida State (39), and Virginia Tech (55)

Atlantic Sun
Winner: East Tennessee State (125)
Possible at-large: None

Top Seed: Kansas (1)
Possible at-large: Kansas State (5), Baylor (10), Texas A&M (12), Texas (25), Oklahoma State (27), and Missouri (32)

Big East
Top Seed: Syracuse (3)
Possible at-large: West Virginia (6), Villanova (7), Pittsburgh (9), Georgetown (14), Louisville (38), Marquette (48), UConn (50), Notre Dame (64), South Florida (67)

Big Sky
Top Seed: Weber State (79)
Possible at-large: None

Big South
Winner: Winthrop (178)
Possible at-large: None

Big Ten
Top Seed: Ohio State (29)
Possible at-large: Purdue (17), Michigan State (26), Wisconsin (18), Illinois (73), Minnesota (78)

Big West
Top Seed: California-Santa Barbara (103)
Possible at-large: None

Colonial Athletic
Top Seed: Old Dominion (37)
Possible at-large: William Mary (58)

Conference USA
Top Seed: UTEP (44)
Possible at-large: UAB (41) and Memphis (51)

Horizon League
Top Seed: Butler (17)
Possible at-large: None

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Top Seed: Siena (40)
Possible at-large: None

Mid Eastern Athletic Conference
Top Seed: Morgan State (108)
Possible at-large: None

Mid-American Conference
Top Seed: Kent State (43)
Possible at-large: None

Missouri Valley
Winner: Northern Iowa (23)
Possible at-large: Wichita State (47)

Mountain West
Top Seed: New Mexico (8)
Possible at-large: BYU (21), San Diego State (33), UNLV (45)

Top Seed: Quinnipiac (137)
Possible at-large: None

Ohio Valley
Winner: Murray State (62)
Possible at-large: None

Top Seed: California (22)
Possible at-large: Washington (53) and Arizona State (54)

Patriot League
Top Seed: Lehigh (162)
Possible at-large: None

Top Seed: Kentucky (4)
Possible at-large: Vanderbilt (11), Tennessee (16), Florida (52), Mississippi (57), and Mississippi State (61)

Southern Conference
Top Seed: Wofford (78)
Possible at-large: None

Southland Conference
Top Seed: Sam Houston State (75)
Possible at-large: None

Southwestern Athletic Conference
Top Seed: Jackson State (197)
Possible at-large: None

Sun Belt
Top Seed: Troy (120)
Possible at-large: None

The Summit League
Top Seed: Oakland (60)
Possible at-large: None

Western Athletic Conference
Top Seed: Utah State (31)
Possible at-large: None

West Coast Conference
Top Seed: Gonzaga (36)
Possible at-large: St. Mary’s (46)