We’re through two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and the Sweet 16 is set. Some themes for the tournament have already been established, and they have to do with conferences.
The Pac-12 has absolutely shined so far in March, while the Big Ten and Big 12 have completely bombed.
The Pac-12 entered the tournament with little respect.
USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State and Colorado were the only teams from the conference to make the Big Dance. UCLA had to defeat Michigan State in a play-in game just to reach the field of 64. No team from the conference had higher than a 5 seed (Colorado). Oregon got a break that they didn’t have to play their first-round game against VCU, but they boatraced Iowa to erase any doubts. And here we are after the first weekend, and four of their five teams have reached the Sweet 16, which is twice as many as any other conference.
The conference went much of the season without teams ranked in the top 25. They did not have a team ranked in the top 16 at any point in the season. They’re showing that the pollsters slept on them badly.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten entered the NCAA Tournament with all the hype. They had a pair of No. 1 seeds (Michigan and Illinois), two No. 2 seeds (Iowa and Ohio State) and a No. 4 seed (Purdue). Michigan State was in the play-in game, but other than that, the worst seeds they had were two No. 10 seeds (Maryland and Rutgers). And the conference completely fell flat on its face.
Ohio State, Purdue and Illinois were on the wrong ends of some of the tournament’s biggest upsets. Of their nine schools to make the field of 68, only Michigan remains. That is pathetic and shows the conference wasn’t as strong as believed.
Pac-12 shines, Big Ten and Big 12 bomb out in NCAA Tournament