25 March 2010

On NCAAs and Conference Performance up to Sweet 16

Big East

Teams: 8
Expected 1st Round Result: 7-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 4-4
Expected 2nd Round Result: 4-0
Actual 2nd Round Result: 2-2
Analysis: The Big East with the number of admitted teams and high seeds was set up to fail. And fail it has. Major disappointment. Syracuse and WVU carry the flag into the Sweet 16, and both teams have injury considerations.


Teams: 7
Expected 1st Round Result: 6-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 5-2
Expected 2nd Round Result: 3-2
Actual 2nd Round Result: 2-3
Analysis: The Big XII was the conference with the second highest number of bids. It has slightly underperformed but not nearly to the extent that the Big East has. The biggest disappointment has to be the loss by #1 overall seed Kansas in the 2nd round. Kansas St and Baylor hope to carry the flag into the Sweet 16, and both very well could make it into the weekend with seemingly favorable matchups.


Teams: 6
Expected 1st Round Result: 3-3
Actual 1st Round Result: 4-2
Expected 2nd Round Result: 2-2
Actual 2nd Round Result: 1-3
Analysis: Perennial media favorite ACC has performed about as expected though the conference is down to pinning hopes on #1 seed Duke. Duke doesn't blow us away with its talent but a very favorable region could very well mean they make it to the Final Four as expected for a #1 seed.

Big Ten

Teams: 5
Expected 1st Round Result: 4-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 4-1
Expected 2nd Round Result: 3-1
Actual 2nd Round Result: 3-1
Analysis: Big Ten fans point to having the most teams in the Sweet Sixteen (3) as vindication for perceived slights by media/fans across the country. Say what? Here's a newsflash to those folks crowing: the Big Ten was supposed to have three teams at this point. Let's see what happens over the next four days before getting ahead of ourselves now shall we?


Teams: 4
Expected 1st Round Result: 3-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 2-2
Expected 2nd Round Result: 1-1
Actual 2nd Round Result: 2-0
Analysis: SEC was a little bruised by Vandy's loss to Murray St in Round 1 but are now feeling a little better about themselves as Tennessee unexpectedly made it into the Sweet 16. Kentucky is an obvious front runner but may feel like they're playing a team from Mars in their Sweet 16 matchup against Cornell. Both KY and TN may make it to the Elite 8 or beyond.

Mountain West

Teams: 4
Expected 1st Round Result: 3-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 2-2
Expected 2nd Round Result: 1-1
Actual 2nd Round Result: 0-2
Analysis: The Selection Committee may be feeling a bit burned by their decision to admit four teams from the MWC. Their reward for being so generous to the interior westerners? Zero teams in the Sweet 16. This disappointing performance by a mid major conference could come back to haunt them during selection committee deliberations next year.

Atlantic 10

Teams: 3
Expected 1st Round Result: 3-0
Actual 1st Round Result: 1-2
Expected 2nd Round Result: 0-1
Actual 2nd Round Result: 0-1
Analysis: The A10 received the second most invites of the mid major conferences. As was the case with the MWC, the A10 invites next year may suffer based on the results this year. Sure the A10 wasn't supposed to have any teams in the Sweet 16, but a poor first round performance coupled with no big upsets is sure to underwhelm college basketball observers and reinforce the notion that mid majors don't belong in the NCAAs (but do well in the NIT -- the A10 has two of the final four teams in that also ran tourney!).

West Coast

Teams: 2
Expected 1st Round Result: 1-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 2-0
Expected 2nd Round Result: 0-2
Actual 2nd Round Result: 1-1
Analysis: The conference that brought us delight so many years ago when Gonzaga burst onto the national scene is at it again. Gonzaga has long since been recognized for its strong program but now it is St Mary's, still alive in the Sweet 16, that has people all excited about west coast basketball (something needed to fill the Pac 10 void!). The WCC continues to do well by mid majors around the country.

Pac 10

Teams: 2
Expected 1st Round Result: 1-1
Actual 1st Round Result: 2-0
Expected 2nd Round Result: 0-2
Actual 2nd Round Result: 1-1
Analysis: The Pac 10 took its lumps all season and was actually expected to only get one team into the NCAAs. Washington sneaked in by winning their conference tourney, and they have shown themselves worthy as they are playing in the Sweet 16. The Pac 10 has actually acquitted itself pretty nicely in this tourney, but we intentionally put them below the WCC, despite similar NCAA performances, as a shout out to mid major fans across the Carmody Court Continuum.


Teams: 2 (each)
Expected 1st Round Result: 0-2
Actual 1st Round Result: 0-2
Expected 2nd Round Result: NA
Actual 2nd Round Result: NA
Analysis: We lump these two mid major conferences together because of their similarities in number of teams invited and the performances in the tourney. Suffice it to say that performance in this year's tourney doesn't merit individual attention. Hopes for big first round upsets by teams from these conferences fell horribly flat. Maybe these conferences will only get one bid each next year.

The rest

Six teams from the following one bid conferences, the Colonial (ODU), the Horizon (Butler), the Ivy (Cornell), the MAC (Ohio), the MVC (Northern Iowa), the Ohio Valley (Murray St) have given college basketball fans the red meat they so desire from the Big Dance. Each of these teams scored first round wins (only Butler was expected to win) and three of these underdog teams (Butler, Cornell, Northern Iowa) are still alive. You better believe the nation will eschew their brackets littered with red ink and pull for Cornell to score the big upset against Kentucky and for Northern Iowa to be rewarded for its upset of Kansas by also making road kill out of Michigan State. We know that we will.