The NCAA tournament finished filling out its Sweet 16 bracket on March 23. Although the actual teams mean more than their conferences at this point of the NCAA tournament, this is still a good time to take stock and see how the big leagues are doing so far. As it turns out, more than half of the Sweet 16 field only comes from three conferences.
The SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 have each faced different perceptions this season. The Big Ten has been recognized as the toughest conference in college basketball this year, while the Pac-12 may be the most overlooked and the SEC is the most disrespected. However, at this point in the NCAA tournament, they are all equal with three teams each in the Sweet 16.
Some of those teams were expected to get there from the start, like the Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans -- although they took very different routes. Some are surging at the right time, like the upset minded Stanford Cardinal and Tennessee Volunteers.
Other squads and conferences aren't so lucky, however. In fact, the Big East is completely out of the tournament, after upset losses by the Villanova Wildcats and Creighton Bluejays. The ACC only has the Virginia Cavaliers left to carry its banner, while the Atlantic 10's six teams are all gone save for the Cinderella Dayton Flyers.
The Big 12 took a hit when the Kansas Jayhawks were upset by the Cardinal, yet the Iowa State Cyclones and Baylor Bears are still kicking. The new American Athletic Conference was disrespected with some low seeds, but the Louisville Cardinals and Connecticut Huskies are making up for it now.
However, the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 have set the standard thus far in the NCAA tournament. Yet only the SEC remains completely undefeated, since it only got in three teams and none of them have lost. In addition, the SEC still has the No. 1 overall seed and national title favorite in the Gators, so it was expected to get some March redemption anyway -- just not this much.
Now there could be an all SEC Midwest regional final if things break right, along with an all Pac-12 South final, and an all Big Ten national semifinal and final with more luck. The accompanying slideshow breaks down the three teams each that these three leagues have left.