College Basketball: NCAA Tournament History Since 2000 by Team/Conference

Schmolik@@Schmolik64Correspondent IIApril 14, 2012

College Basketball: NCAA Tournament History Since 2000 by Team/Conference

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    Hello, college basketball fans!

    This past month, we finished another college basketball season and another NCAA Tournament. Congratulations to Kentucky for winning the championship.

    The offseason will be filled with people debating about various teams and conferences. Any time a head coaching job opens, people will discuss the state of the basketball program.

    When Illinois's head coach position opened up, people debated on whether Illinois was a good program or not. Some people said it was a great program; others said it wasn't. When people said Illinois "reached" for Brad Stevens or Shaka Smart, they were implying that their current schools were "better" than Illinois.

    Often, the strength of a program is judged heavily by recent events. But that can be short-sighted. Ohio is not a better program now than Duke.

    Also, people may debate whether or not one conference is stronger than another. I don't believe the SEC is the best basketball conference just because one of their teams won the championship. I think the overall performance of a conference in a tournament has to be taken into account. Likewise, one year alone should not define a conference.

    So this article measures the performance of NCAA basketball schools in the NCAA Tournament since 2000. My criteria is tournament wins, and I counted wins for each team in the six "major" conferences as well as other strong mid-major schools.

    For the purposes of this article, only wins in the Round of 64 or later count (wins in "First Four" games do not count). A team should not be credited for winning an extra game because they were one of the last four at-large teams to get a bid. Plus, the "First Four" format is only two years old.

    I show each major conference's performance, using each conference's future alignment (as of April 2012) instead of the present alignment, as well as the top schools and the worst BCS conference teams.

NCAA Wins by Conference

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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    BCS Conferences
    ACC 148 38 11 6
    Big East 114 29 9 2
    Big Ten 110 28 10 1
    Big 12 109 29 8 1
    SEC 106 26 6 3
    Pac 12 83 23 4 0
    Best of Rest
    A-10 25 7 0 0
    WCC 21 6 0 0
    Horizon 20 5 2 0
    MVC 14 5 0 0
    Colonial 13 2 2 0
    MWC 11 2 0 0
    MAC 8 2 0 0
    C-USA 8 2 0 0

    If you count current conference alignments, the Big East leads by a huge margin while the ACC is close to the Big Ten and Big 12. Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving for the ACC tips the scale in favor of the ACC.

    The SEC's additions (Missouri and Texas A&M) improved their standing as well. The Big 12 was hurt by the losses but did gain some wins from West Virginia.

    Conference USA took the biggest loss, as Memphis had more NCAA wins than the rest of the conference combined. In the last few years, the MWC lost Utah and BYU. They will also lose San Diego State this year.


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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    North Carolina 32 7 4 2
    Duke 31 10 3 2
    Syracuse 19 6 1 1
    Maryland 17 3 2 1
    Pittsburgh 15 5 0 0
    Georgia Tech 7 1 1 0
    NC State 7 2 0 0
    Wake Forest 6 1 0 0
    Boston College 6 1 0 0
    Florida State 3 1 0 0
    Miami 3 1 0 0
    Virginia 1 0 0 0
    Virginia Tech 1 0 0 0
    Clemson 0 0 0 0

    Not surprisingly, North Carolina and Duke lead the list.

    With the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the ACC will have five schools that have averaged at least one win per season since 2000 (13 wins or more).

    Present or future ACC schools have won six of the 13 national championships since 2000. Of the nine schools that have won a championship since 2000, four are or will be ACC schools.

    Pittsburgh is tied with Xavier for the most NCAA Tournament wins since 2000 without a Final Four appearance. Pitt and Xavier have made five Sweet 16 or better appearances without a Final Four.

    Of the next four teams (Georgia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest and Boston College), three of them have struggled recently but had success earlier in the decade. All four have made one Sweet 16 and Georgia Tech made the Final Four (the championship game) in 2004.

    Florida State and Miami had the same number of wins and Sweet 16's, but Florida State's was in 2011 and Miami's was in 2000.

    The conference's dead weight comes from Virginia and South Carolina.

    Sixteen schools each year win at least two NCAA games. Virginia and Virginia Tech have each won just one NCAA game since 2000. To add to the Virginia schools' embarrassment, both Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason have made the Final Four since 2006.

    At the very bottom is Clemson. Clemson has not advanced to the Round of 32 this century.

    I would love it if the ACC can dump Clemson, especially if they replace them with Connecticut (which would make the ACC the undisputed college basketball kings if they aren't already).

    Another possibility I would love would be if the SEC and ACC to switch Kentucky and Clemson. Kentucky can join the premier basketball conference while Clemson can join a more football-oriented conference (Kentucky has struggled in football).

Big East

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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    Connecticut 26 6 3 2
    Louisville 16 4 2 0
    Memphis 14 4 1
    Villanova 12 4 1 0
    Marquette 10 3 1 0
    Georgetown 10 3 1
    Cincinnati 9 2 0 0
    Notre Dame 6 1 0 0
    Temple 5 1 0 0
    Seton Hall 3 1 0
    St. John's 1 0 0 0
    De Paul 1 0 0
    South Florida 1 0 0 0
    Providence 0 0 0
    Central Florida 0 0 0
    Houston 0 0 0
    Rutgers 0 0 0
    SMU 0 0 0

    Connecticut won the future Big East's only NCAA championships.

    The Big East's most recent additions (Memphis and Temple) may have saved Big East basketball. The two schools added 19 wins and five Sweet 16's.

    The three other new Big East teams have a combined zero NCAA wins (and just three NCAA appearances) since 2000. SMU has not even made the NCAA Tournament since 2000.

    Assuming no more teams leave, the Big East will have 18 members in basketball in 2013-14.

    I feel that the Big East should not have added SMU or Houston as full members. They should be football-only schools like Boise State and San Diego State. It's extra travel and an RPI hit for the remaining members.

    If Houston and SMU do not join, Connecticut could replace them with additional games with Georgetown, Louisville, Villanova or other top Big East schools.

    I think it would be in Houston's and SMU's best interests to join a better geographically-matched conference than the Big East. There's a huge difference between the football teams traveling and the basketball and non-revenue teams traveling.

    All of SMU and Houston's Big East road games (other than vs. each other and Memphis) will be long trips. Most of them will be trips to the Northeast or Upper Midwest in the winter. If you are from Texas, why would you want to play for Houston and SMU and make at least five or six trips into the cold each year?

    Maybe the Big East should divide into two divisions, one with the top nine schools and the other with the bottom nine. Or they should go East and West to reduce travel. They can play each team in their division twice and play two cross-divisional teams once.

Big Ten

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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    Michigan State 31 8 5 1
    Wisconsin 20 6 1 0
    Ohio State 16 4 2 0
    Illinois 16 4 1 0
    Purdue 12 3 0 0
    Indiana 10 2 1 0
    Penn State 2 1 0 0
    Michigan 2 0 0 0
    Iowa 1 0 0 0
    Minnesota 0 0 0 0
    Nebraska 0 0 0 0
    Northwestern 0 0 0 0

    Michigan State is clearly the class of the conference. They have by far the most wins, have made five Final Fours (as many as the rest of the Big Ten combined), and won the conference's last national championship (2000).

    I think the Big Ten is under-respected. While they are close to all of the other major conferences (other than the ACC) in wins, Sweet 16's and Final Fours, they haven't won a national championship since 2000. To many, that is the most important category, and I can't debate that.

    Illinois is clearly a struggling program recently (only two NCAA appearances in the last five seasons), but they have been a strong program since 2000, capped by their 2005 NCAA title game appearance. Their four Sweet 16's were in a five-year span (2001 to 2005).

    VCU may be more successful recently, but historically they aren't in Illinois's category this millennium. Maybe Shaka made a mistake passing on Illinois. On the other hand, Butler has also won 16 NCAA games and made four Sweet 16's since 2000.

    Just like the Big East, the Big Ten is a two-tiered conference. The top six teams have won ten or more NCAA games, while the bottom six have won two or fewer. Michigan may be rising but has a long way to go to match the rest of the conference.

    The two worst Big Ten teams (Nebraska and Northwestern) have not only not won (or appeared) in any NCAA games since 2000, they have never won any NCAA games (Northwestern has never even made an NCAA Tournament). Tell me why these two teams are in the Big Ten?

Big 12

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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    Kansas 35 4
    Texas 18
    Oklahoma 13 
    West Virginia 12 
    Oklahoma State 11 
    Kansas State
    Iowa State
    Texas Tech

    It's no surprise who is the king of this conference. They have dominated their conference for the most part during the Big 12 regular seasons and tournaments, and they have performed the best during the NCAA Tournament. This season Kansas was supposed to be vulnerable, and yet they made the NCAA Championship Game.

    The Big 12 lost Missouri (9 wins) and Texas A&M (6 wins). Luckily, they picked up West Virginia, who won 12 games (TCU hasn't won any games).

    This is a conference where the tides have turned in recent years. The two Oklahoma schools both missed the NCAA Tournament this past year, while Texas barely made it in. Meanwhile, Baylor, Kansas State, and Iowa State all won games this year.

    Baylor made the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012, losing both times to the eventual national championship. But they didn't win any games between 2000 and 2009 (for years, they were a Big 12 doormat) and didn't make the tournament in 2011. If I am skeptical about Baylor long term, it is for this reason. 

    Kansas State also has enjoyed recent success. They have made four out of the last five NCAA Tournaments after struggling in the earlier part of the decade. Their future is in doubt, with Frank Martin leaving for South Carolina. What does it say about Kansas State when their coach leaves for a school that hasn't won any NCAA games since 2000? Of course, Kansas State will likely always be the second-best basketball school in the state (assuming Wichita State isn't).


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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    Kentucky 27 
    Florida 26 
    Tennessee 10  0 0
    LSU 1
    Texas A&M 0
    Mississippi State
    Arkansas 0
    Georgia 0
    South Carolina

    Without a doubt, this is a two-team conference. I give all the credit to Billy Donovan because the SEC was a one-team conference before he came to Florida.

    After two consecutive non-NCAA Tournament seasons (2008 and 2009), I was wondering if Billy made a bad choice not staying with the Orlando Magic (he accepted but changed his mind), especially after the Magic made the NBA Finals in 2009. But the Gators have made back-to-back Elite Eights and returned to the elite in college basketball.

    Kentucky has made two consecutive Final Fours and won this year's national championship. It's hard to believe that Kentucky did not make one Final Four last decade.

    As for the rest of the conference, they have all had good seasons, but none of them have had any consistency whatsoever. Tennessee came the closest before Bruce Pearl's missteps. LSU made the Final Four in 2006 but hasn't been the same since. Vanderbilt lost three times in the last five years as a No. 5 seed or higher.

    South Carolina just hired Frank Martin. Martin will have his work cut out for him. The Gamecocks have not only not won any NCAA games since 2000, they hadn't won any since 1985. South Carolina lost in the first round as a No. 2 seed in 1997 and as a No. 3 seed in 1998.

    I think the SEC is the most overrated conference in college basketball. If you took Kentucky and Florida out of the conference, they would be a mid-major conference. I will say Texas A&M and Missouri should improve the conference though.


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    Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances
    UCLA 21 
    Arizona 20
    Washington State
    Arizona State
    Oregon State

    None of these teams have won a national championship this millennium (Arizona and UCLA each made it to the final).

    Just like the SEC, this league has two good teams and a lot of poor teams. This year, the Pac-12 clearly hit rock bottom as Arizona and UCLA both missed the tournament and only two teams made the tournament (with one being a First Four team and the other a surprise champion).

    While the Pac-12 is far ahead of all other non-BCS conferences since 2000, they are also far behind the others (especially after the SEC added Missouri and Texas A&M).

Non-BCS Conference Teams

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    Team Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances
    Butler Horizon 16 4 2
    Xavier A-10 15 5 0
    Gonzaga  WCC  14 
    Va. Commonwealth  CAA 
    George Mason CAA 5 1 1
    S. Illinois MVC 5 2 0
    Tulsa C-USA 5 1 0

    Butler, Xavier, and Gonzaga clearly have proven to be great basketball programs.

    I think these teams should be in major conferences and playing top-level competition rather than dominating the conferences they are in.

    Most conferences share NCAA tournament revenue. Chances are that the Northwesterns, Nebraskas, and all the other deadweight schools receive more basketball revenue than these three (or other schools). At least Memphis and Temple got much-deserved upgrades to the Big East. 

    Football has driven most college sports realignment, but I think non-BCS conferences should get into the act and improve in college basketball. If a conference has multiple good teams, they will get multiple NCAA bids. This season, the A-10 and MWC placed four teams each in the NCAA's (although both will lose key members in the next year or two).

    I would like to see some of the top Midwestern teams join forces and some of the top Western teams join forces. I think Butler to the MVC would be a great fit, and it would help both sides. A basketball conference with Gonzaga, St. Mary's, San Diego State, BYU, Utah State and others would be great and would rival the Pac-12 for Western supremacy.

    The other shame is that Gonzaga is great year-in and year-out and have no Final Fours to show for it, while George Mason and VCU have one great year and get a Final Four (remember both teams were questionable at large teams the years they won).

    Southern Illinois and Tulsa have clearly fallen on hard times. Both of them lost head coaches to Illinois (Bill Self, formerly from Tulsa, and Bruce Weber, formerly from Southern Illinois).

Elite Basketball Programs

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    Team Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    Kansas Big 12 35 9 4 1
    North Carolina ACC 32 7 4 2
    Duke ACC 31 10 3 2
    Michigan State Big Ten 31 8 5 1
    Kentucky SEC 27 7 2 1
    Connecticut Big East 26 6 3 2
    Florida SEC 26 5 3 2

    Each of these teams have averaged at least two NCAA wins per season since 2000. Each has made at least five Sweet 16's, made multiple Final Fours, and won at least one national championship since then.

    They are clearly the cream of the crop in college basketball. Then again, I'm sure you didn't really need a chart to tell you that.

Next-Level Basketball Programs

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    Team Conference Wins Sweet 16 Appearances Final Four Appearances Championships
    UCLA Pac 12 21 6 3 0
    Wisconsin Big Ten 20 6 1 0
    Arizona Pac 12 20 6 1 0
    Syracuse ACC 19 6 1 1
    Texas Big 12 18 5 1 0
    Maryland ACC 17


    2 1
    Louisville Big East 16 4 2 0
    Ohio State Big Ten 16 4 2 0
    Butler Horizon 16 4 2 0
    Illinois Big Ten 16 4 1 0
    Xavier A-10 15 5 0 0
    Pittsburgh ACC 15 6 0 0
    Memphis Big East 14 4 1 0
    Gonzaga WCC 14 4 0 0
    Oklahoma Big 12 13 3 1 0

    I consider these teams to be the "next" level in college basketball. Each of these teams has won at least one NCAA game per year since 2000.

    The list shows great college basketball isn't exclusive to the BCS conference teams. Butler, Xavier and Gonzaga (along with Memphis, currently a Conference USA team) have thrived this century.

    Of the list, Syracuse and Maryland have won national championships. No team outside this list or the elite teams has won a national championship since 2000.

    Xavier, Pittsburgh and Gonzaga are the most successful teams that have not made a Final Four since 2000.

Bottom-of-the-Barrel BCS Conference Teams

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    Team Conference NCAA Appearances NCAA Wins
    Arkansas SEC 5 1
    Georgia SEC 4 1
    Virginia ACC 3 1
    Iowa Big Ten 3 1
    St. John's Big East 3 1
    Colorado Pac 12 2 1
    DePaul Big East 2 1
    South Florida Big East 1 1
    Virginia Tech ACC 1 1
    Clemson ACC 4 0
    Minnesota Big Ten 3 0
    Providence Big East 2 0
    Central Florida Big East 2 0
    Houston Big East 1 0
    South Carolina SEC 1 0
    Nebraska Big Ten 0  
    Rutgers Big East 0  
    SMU Big East 0  
    TCU Big 12 0  
    Oregon State Pac 12 0  
    Northwestern Big Ten 0  

    These are clearly the worst power-conference college basketball teams. They have won one (or no) games since 2000. It's one thing to be a mid-major and have no NCAA wins when you often need to win the NCAA's to get into the Big Dance. When five or more teams a season from your conference make the NCAA's, you should have a win or two in 13 years.

    Among the teams that have not won any games since 2000, Central Florida, Houston, South Carolina, Nebraska, Rutgers, SMU, Oregon State and Northwestern haven't won any NCAA games since 1985. Northwestern hasn't even made the NCAA's since 1985. Rutgers has made it twice in 28 years.

    Again, it's a shame that these schools get to play in the same conference and collect money from the big guys while Gonzaga and Butler have to be in lesser conferences.