The ACC has become the basketball conferenceBy Elliott Propes | 03/25/2015 10:08pm
The undefeated Kentucky Wildcats have dominated headlines throughout this basketball season. Tribune News Service
The 2014-15 NCAA basketball season has been headlined by the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats all season. Heading into the sweet 16 this weekend the Wildcats have a record of 36-0. They are the first team to ever accomplish that in one season. Behind that story though, one conference has solidified itself as the best in college basketball.
Just a few years ago the Big East was the top conference in basketball, but conference realignments hurt the conference and benefitted the ACC the most. Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse all came over from the Big East to already boost a strong conference that included the likes of Duke, North Carolina and others.
This season it all came together for the ACC. Heading into the NCAA tournament five teams were ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll. All five teams made the tournament along with N.C. State. The six teams combined for an 11-1 record in the first three rounds. The Big Ten and Big 12 both had one more team than the ACC, but have combined for a 12-10 record with only four teams remaining. The ACC has five of its teams remaining, with only Virginia losing so far.
No other conference has that many teams in the sweet 16. The PAC 12 has the second most teams in the sweet 16 with three teams Utah, UCLA and Arizona. The PAC-12 has performed the second best. Only four teams from the conference made the tournament, but three have made it to the sweet 16 thus far. Only Oregon has lost to give the PAC 12 a 7-1 record.
Both conferences have a representative in the NIT final four as well. Miami and Stanford had 20-plus wins but just missed the tournament, and are now dominating the NIT.
It remains to be seen whether the ACC or PAC 12 will finish well, but both conferences have a good chance at the championship. They both combine for half of the sweet 16. Most fans and experts have Kentucky notched as the winner, but do not count out these other eight schools who have played tougher schedules throughout the season.