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Quality Over Quantity: ACC at the Top of the Heap

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05:  The national championship trophy sits in the Duke Blue Devils locker room after the Blue Devils won 61-59 against the Butler Bulldogs during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Paul McGuillicuddyAnalyst IApril 8, 2010

Now that the dust has settled, and the NCAA Championship is behind us, time to take a look at the conferences. Much gets made about the strength of individual conferences and how a team’s strength of schedule is impacted.

Conference strength could determine how many teams from a conference earn a spot a ticket to The Dance.

Take the numbers from the last ten years. Put them in jar. Shake them up and see what you get.

In number of titles won, numbers of teams making the Final Four, and number of Final Four wins the Atlantic Coast Conference comes out on top.

The Atlantic Coast Conference might not get the most teams in the tournament. But when it comes to deciding the champion, the ACC, more often than not, has the final say.

Since 2001, ACC teams have climbed the Werner ladder and cut the nets on five occasions: Duke (2001 and 2010), Maryland (2002) and North Carolina (2005 and 2009).

The Big East and SEC each have two titles: Syracuse (2003) and UConn (2004) account for the Big East shares. Florida (2006 and 2007) claimed the title twice for the Southeastern Conference.

Kansas (2008) brought the title to the Big 12.

When it comes to spots in the Final Four, again the ACC heads the list with nine. Along with their two titles, Duke appeared in the 2004 Final Four. UNC reached the final weekend in 2008. Maryland lost to Duke in the ‘01 national semi-final. Georgia Tech lost to UConn in the ‘04 finals.

The Big East ranks second in this category. Eight times Big East reached the Final Four. The power conference provided the widest variety of teams winning regional titles. Marquette joined Syracuse in the ‘03 Final Four. UConn and Villanova each lost in ‘09 semi-finals. Louisville won four games in the ‘05 tournament as did Georgetown in ‘07. Of course, West Virginia reached the plateau this year.

Big 10 teams reached the Final Four seven times. Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans joined the party in ‘01, ‘05, ‘09 and ‘10. Indiana (02), Illinois (05) and Ohio State (07) all appeared in the Final Four.

Kansas (02, 03, 08) tops the list of Big 12 teams in the Final Four. Oklahoma (02), Texas (03) and Oklahoma State (04) all won regional championships.

UCLA (06, 07, 08) represented the Pac 10 three times. Arizona lost to Duke in the 2001 finals.

Along with Florida’s two appearances, LSU (06) reached the last weekend of the season.

Butler represented the Horizon League this season. Memphis (08) carried the torch for Conference USA as did George Mason (06) for the Colonial Athletic Conference.

ACC teams won 11 Final Four games over the last ten years. Big East, Big 10 and SEC teams won four. The Big 12 won three. Pac 10 teams won two. The Horizon League and Conference USA each won a game on the final weekend of the season.

Pickin' Splinters

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