College Basketball Conferences: Do They Matter Anymore?
Conferences are great and all and have been a part of college basketball tradition for some time now, but are they really as useful as people think they are?
Don't get me wrong, conferences definitely spice up college basketball. There is just something special about seeing North Carolina and Duke going head-to-head two times a year.
However, when it comes down to it, conferences don't matter anymore in college basketball.
Read on to find out why.
The Major Conferences Don't Always Perform in the Dance
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The Big East is, year after year, one of the best conferences in all of college basketball, but that doesn't mean 500 teams from it should make the NCAA Tournament.
That was obviously an exaggerated number, but nine teams did manage to make the Big Dance last year out of this conference.
Only four of those teams managed to make the Sweet 16. Although that isn't necessarily bad, it doesn't matter what conference a team plays in because it ensures nothing other than getting a ticket punched to the dance.
Teams Like Davidson and VCU
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Seth Curry led the Davidson Wildcats all the way to the Elite Eight in 2008, and VCU made it all the way to the Final Four in 2011, despite being the last team picked in the field. Neither of these teams played in big conferences. However, both teams managed to create one heck of a Cinderella story for themselves.
Although Cinderellas don't grow on trees, they are becoming more and more prevalent in college basketball.
This is because being in a major conference really only helps a team make it into the NCAA tournament. After that, it doesn't matter where you come from because a single elimination tournament doesn't care if you went 32-0 on the season, or if you just barely snuck in.
NCAA Tournament Shouldn't Be a Popularity Contest
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Although the NCAA tournament committee knows what it is doing, sometimes more popular teams will make the dance over teams who are actually better but play in a cupcake conference.
For instance, the Texas Longhorns managed to lose four out of its last seven games last season and still made the tournament field with a record of 20-13. Sure, the bubble was really weak last year, and it was a really tough decision on who should have been the last couple of teams to dance, but I am sure there was a mid-major out there that was much more deserving than the Longhorns.
However, that is just how it works. If a popular team like Texas is on the bubble, it will usually always make the tournament field over a team like Old Dominion every single time. That is why the blind resumes that ESPN put together leading into the month of March are so great. Look at the resume and nothing else. That is all that should matter.
However, no matter what the record is, a team playing in the Big 12 or any other major conference will always look more promising than a team playing in a mid-major conference. This is despite the fact that mid-majors have been making a lot of noise in the NCAA tournament for the past couple of season.
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