Power Conferences Still Cloudy, and That is Good

1 Mar

Not that long ago I wrote that part of the equation to an unpredictable NCAA Tournament is the need for mid-major favorites to win their conference tournaments, thus sending their best teams to the tournament.  I would argue the other half of that equation is the exact opposite for the high major conferences.  The power conferences need parity and unpredictability leading to fewer dominant teams reaching the Big Dance.

With that in mind let’s take a look at where the power conferences stand with less than a week remaining in the regular season.

 

American-With SMU ineligible for post-season play that leaves Temple with a one game lead over Cincinnati and two over Houston and Tulsa with Connecticut lurking 2.5 games back.

ACC-In the ACC North Carolina hooks a half game lead over Miami and Virginia sits a game back. Duke and Notre Dame sit 2 back; in fact the top nine teams in the conference sit at .500 or better.

Big East-The Big East is one of the few conferences with some clarity, I said some. At the top Villanova leads Xavier by 1.5 games and Seton Hall by two.  Within the last week however Xavier knocked off Villanova when they were the number one team in the country, then in their next game the Musketeers were taken down by Seton Hall.  You figure it out.

Big Ten-Raise your hand if you had Indiana winning the Big Ten regular season title. Congratulations, the Hoosiers hold a two game lead over three teams that have spent significant time in the top ten in Maryland, Iowa and Michigan State. One of the hottest teams in the country Wisconsin also sits two back.  Ohio state, Purdue and Michigan are also lying in wait ready to strike.

Big 12-Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Kansas wins the Big 12 regular season title.  Bill Self’s Jayhawks have a two game lead over West Virginia.  The Mountaineers and sixth place Texas are separated by that same two game margin with Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State in between.  Tubby Smith’s Texas Tech Red Raiders are also 8-8 and could play the part of spoiler.

Pac 12-Oregon leads Utah by just a half game and a California team that has won seven straight by one game.  Arizona which started 12-1 has stumbled to 10-6 in conference, one game ahead of Colorado.  USC which was once ranked in the top 25 has fallen to 8-8 battling with the likes of Stanford, Oregon state and Washington for conference relevancy.

SEC-With no dominant team the SEC had been a tightly grouped bunch all season, and with less than a week left nothing has changed.  Kentucky and Texas A&M are tied at the top at 11-5.  South Carolina, Vanderbilt and LSU are all one game behind them then there’s a gap to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Arkansas all at 8-8.  This means we could be in store for some Music City Mayhem in Nashville.

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