The following is a ranking of the best and worst college basketball conferences based upon how the conference teams have done in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The 2014 NCAA Tournament is down to the Sweet 16, and as you will see below, it's pretty easy to see which conferences have done the best and which conferences have done the worst this year.
Best college basketball conferences in 2014 NCAA Tournament
1. SEC - 7-0 overall record (1.000)
The SEC has always been an underrated college basketball conference (check out how many Basketball Hall of Fame players have played in the SEC), and the conference only had three teams in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. How have the three teams done?
All three SEC teams, Tennessee (3-0), Florida (2-0), and Kentucky (2-0), are still undefeated and in the Sweet 16. I love when self appointed college basketball experts like Mike Francesa (used to be studio analyst for CBS and now does radio and simulcast TV show in New York) show how little they know when they go on and on saying that Wichita State will beat Kentucky.
2. AAC or American Athletic Conference - 5-2 (.714)
The AAC or American Athletic Conference got zero respect from the NCAA selection committee, but the AAC has already shown they played some great basketball this season. Louisville and UConn are in the Sweet 16, while Memphis went 1-1 and Cincinnati predictably went 0-1 (the Bearcats couldn't score all year).
The AAC combined record is 5-2, despite the NCAA selection committee giving all the teams lower rankings than they deserved. Clearly, SMU should have been given a bid, especially over a team like Xavier.
3. Pac 12 - 7-3 (.700)
The Pac 12 had not been great in recent times, but anybody who watched the league games this year knew the Pac 12 was back. UCLA, Stanford, and Arizona are all through to the Sweet 16. Oregon, who blew a big halftime lead to Wisconsin, went 1-1, and Arizona State and Colorado lost in the first round.
The UCLA vs Florida game should be a dandy on Thursday the 27th of March. The next round is loaded with great games like Kentucky vs Louisville, Virginia vs Michigan State, Arizona vs San Diego State, and Wisconsin vs Baylor.
4. Big Ten - 6-3 (.667)
The Big Ten had a big disappointment when Dayton knocked off Ohio State in the first round, but Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are all in the Sweet 16. All three teams are a big threat to make the Final Four.
5. Big 12 - 6-5 (.546)
The Big 12 has two teams in the Sweet 16 in Baylor and Iowa State. The conference also had some flops, as Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State all lost in the first round.
Worst college basketball conferences in 2014 NCAA Tournament
1. Big East - 2-4 (.333)
The NCAA selection committee clearly overrated the Big East. Did the committee members not realize that most of the best basketball schools left the conference before this year? What a joke!
Villanova and Creighton did win their first round games as high seeds, but then UConn easily handled Villanova in the second round, and Creighton was destroyed by Baylor. This conference kept the name Big East, but that is the only thing it has in common with the old real Big East. Syracuse, Pitt, UConn, Louisville, and Cincinnati are all gone!
2. Atlantic 10 - 3-5 (.375)
Dayton is the only thing preventing the Atlantic 10 from having a disastrous 2014 NCAA Tournament. Four of the six Atlantic 10 teams lost in the first round, VCU, UMass, St. Joe's, and George Washington. If SMU had played any of those four teams, Las Vegas would likely have favored SMU.
3. ACC - 6-5 (.546)
While the ACC does have a winning record overall in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the conference only has one team in the Sweet 16 (Virginia). Syracuse, and especially Duke, both suffered terrible upset losses.
One of the ACC wins was in a play-in game (North Carolina State). On the plus side, five of the six ACC teams did win a game. Had North Carolina won its game over Iowa State, the ACC would have had a much better ranking, but Carolina lost.
Clearly, the ACC greatly benefited this year in college basketball by adding Syracuse and Pitt. Next year it will benefit even more when Louisville joins.