The perception going into last year's NCAA tourney was that the Big XII wasn't among the nations VERY BEST conferences....
First some information recap, and then some analysis...
Ken Pomeroy had the following conference pecking order at the end of 2009:
PAC 10 #1
BIG XII #4
BIG TEN #5
Clearly the NCAA tournament selection committee disagreed. They gave 7 seeds to the ACC, Big Ten, and the BEAST, 6 seeds to both the PAC10 and the Big XII, and 3 to the SEC. (So they did agree that the SEC was the weakest of the 'Big 6, or if you like the BCS' Conferences. Even more telling is the seeding and 'avg.' seeding of the conference schools...
(in Alpha/numeric order)
ACC (7 teams) - #1 UNC, #2 Duke, #4 Wake, #5 Fla. St., and two #7's - BC and Clemson. for an avg seeding of 26/7 = 3.71
Big XII (6 teams) - #2 OU, two #3's in KU and Missou; #7 Tex., #8 Ok. St., and #9 Tex A&M. 32/6 = 5.33
BEAST (7 teams) - 3 #1's in Lville, Pitt, & UConn; two #3 seeds in Nova and Syr.; and two #6 seeds in Marq. & WVU 21/7 = 3.0
Big Ten (7 teams) - #2 MSU, two #5's in Illini & Purd., #8 Oh. St.; two #10's in Mich. & Minn.; and #12 Wisc. 52/7 = 7.43
PAC 10 (6 teams) - #4 Wash., two #6's in Ariz. St. and UCLA; #7 Cal; #10 USC; and #12 Ariz. 45/6 = 7.5
SEC (3 teams) - #8 LSU, #9 Tenn. and #13 Miss. St. 30/3 = 10.0
So, based on the number of teams and average seed, the NCAA tourney (Though they say they don't consider conference affiliation ) ordered the conferences as such:
BEAST #1 7 teams with an avg of seed of 3.0
ACC #2 7 teams w/ avg of 3.71
Big XII #3 6 teams wi/avg of 5.33
Big Ten #4 7 teams w/avg of 7.43
PAC 10 #5 6 teams avg 7.5
SEC #6 3 teams w/ 10.0
The Big Ten and the PAC 10 looked to be rated evenly, but with an extra invite, the Big Ten would rate higher, IMO.
Clearly, the Selection Committee felt that the BEAST, and definitely NOT the PAC 10, was the best league, with 3 #1's and ZERO lower seeded teams (Teams seeded 9th or worse)
So, that was how they looked going in....HOW did they perform....The proof is in the pudding, says I!
The Big East clearly delivered on their seeds, well mostly! The league was 17-7 overall, with 2 Final Four participants and 4 Elite 8 participants, and only #6 WVU was a dud and lost in the first round. The only other team that didn't play to it's seed was # 1 Pitt, but that wasn't anything wrong with losing to conference foe - Nova, a #3 seed! I say that even though #1 UConn lost to Mich. St., a #2 seed, they still lived up to their seed, as they made the Final Four!
The Big XII really delivered too, based on their seeds. It had an overall 11-6 record. ZERO Big XII teams lost in the first round, and better yet, no Big XII team lost to a lower seeded team. Four of the 6 Big XII entries were eliminated by a Final Four Team (UConn beat both Tex A&M and Missou, KU lost to Mich St and OU lost to UNC).
To me, at least, it is clear that the Big Ten and PAC 10 both underperformed their seeds, as the 7 Big Ten teams were only 9-7 overall, even with Mich St winning 5 games, and the 6 PAC 10 teams were an uninspiring 6-6, with no team making it past the Sweet 16.
The ACC as a whole also underperformed their seeds, but that was kind of hidden, because UNC did such a fine job of maxxing out their seed by winning it all. UNC was 6-0, while the other 5 ACC teams were only 3-5!
Oh, and let's not forget the SEC! Their fans moaned about getting only 3 teams in, but based on their performance, it could be argued that they really only deserved to get ONE team in. LSU made the second round while both Tenn and Miss St were bounced out in the first round. That isn't shaming or damning, because both Tenn & Miss. St. were lower seeded teams, so they 'played to their seeds' in losing in the first round.
I think that the most important thing to get from this review is something that should be obvious....
SEEDING IS IMPORTANT. Teams do exceed their seed at times, like #12 Arizona, one of the last teams in the field, and the cause of much moaning by other bubble teams, made it to the Sweet 16, far exceeding it's seed, but most long runs in the tourney are made by high seeds. No 9th or worse seed has ever won the NCAA tourney! This year's Elite 8 teams all were #3 seeds or higher! Only Arizona and Maryland made it to the Sweet 16 as lower seeds. That's only 2 of 16 teams! That's not a great chance for lower seeds to make it even to the second week!
I think there is some cause and effect. When the seeds are accurate, the better teams are the higher seeds, and they should win. But sometimes, teams are over-seeded and thus they get weaker opponents because they are a high seed! Sometimes that causes the over-seeded team to have one or two easier games than they should have (If they aren't upset early on!)
The ACC, based on the results looks to have been a bit over-seeded as #4 Wake lost to #13 Cleveland St. and #5 Fla. St. lost to #12 Wisc. or, perhaps those 2 lower seeds were under-seeded, but I don't think either one should have been an 8 seed or higher!
Well hope you enjoyed the REVIEW. It is meant to whet your appetite for the upcoming season, by looking back before looking forward!