Friday, February 17, 2012

The conference season DOES matter

While college basketball's regular season may not seem to matter to some, it does have an impact on a team's ability to succeed in the NCAA Tournament.

In a study by the Wall Street Journal, teams that won regular season conference titles fared much better in the Big Dance than those who won post-season conference tournaments. In the last 10 years, there have been 74 cases where a conference has been represented by both a regular season champion as well as a conference tournament winner. Teams that won the conference championship won 66% of their NCAA tourney games; those that got hot late and won the post-season conference tournament won 57% of their NCAA tournament games.

Connecticut is, of course, an exception In 2011 the Huskies finished ninth in the Big East then won 11 straight post-season games--the Big East postseason tournament and in the NCAA Tournament to become national champions.

If there is a poster child for the regular season versus post-season conference tournament success discussion, it's North Carolina. In 2005 and 2009 the Tarheels won Atlantic Coast Conference regular season titles but failed to win their conference's post-season tournament. Those two teams went on to win national titles.

Selection Sunday is less than a month away--you may want to keep this information in mind when you begin filling out your bracket!

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