Best College Basketball Conference
That's what Yogi Berra would say.
Note: This article was written in April 2007. Obviously the SEC is no longer the top B-ball conference. It's a matter of debate, but most would say it's the Big East is now; with the ACC right behind. Check out best all-time college basketball conference and Big 12 is best current basketball conference.
Monday night, the Florida Gators beat Ohio State for the NCAA Championship.
Seems like we've heard that before somewhere. Oh, yea, it happened on another Monday night, less than three months ago, when the Gators beat the Buckeye's to win the college football title. Now, they've done the same thing in college basketball.
But this game, the Florida Gators basketball championship, means a lot more.
Well, for one thing, this is the second straight college basketball championship for Florida. They proved they are the best college basketball team and none of their tournament games were ever really in doubt.
But, more significantly, the win places the Gators in the same class as some of the top college basketball teams ever. No one has won consecutive college basketball championships since the Duke Blue Devils did it fifteen years ago.
Before that, you have to go back to John Wooden's UCLA teams of the late 60's and early 70's.
I won't argue that Florida is the best team ever. Maybe yes, maybe no. But, it should be acknowledged that winning back-to-back championships is much tougher now then it was even fifteen years ago.
There are two major reasons. First, there is more parity in college basketball. Second, the best players are much more likely, today, to go pro before completing four years in college.
It's impossible and unfair to compare teams from different eras, but the Florida Gators should be part of any discussion about the best college basketball team ever.
The NCAA basketball championship also extends the University of Florida's streak as the only school to EVER be the College Football and College Basketball champ at the same time.
But, the most significant thing about the Gators' second straight college basketball championship is it firmly establishes the Southeastern (SEC) conference as the best college basketball conference.
Not only does the Southeastern Conference have the best men's basketball team in Florida. They also have the best women's basketball team in the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.
The Lady Vols won the Women's NCAA Championship last night in even more dominating fashion than the Gators won the men's. And the Lady Vols have an even stronger claim that they are the best women's basketball team -- ever. Certainly, they have the best coach ever in Pat Summitt.
Truthfully, there is no argument about the Lady Vols. They are the dominant women's basketball program. Not just this year, but all-time. Their coach, Pat Summitt, is a legend and has led the Lady Vols to more NCAA titles (7); the most consecutive appearances in the Sweet 16 (26); and the most trips to the Final Four (17). Summitt has won a record 947 games. Amazing!
You want history? The SEC has that too. The Kentucky Wildcats have had a couple down years, but they still lead the nation with the most all-time college basketball victories (1949); the highest winning percentage; the most NCAA tournament bids and in total fan attendance. See Best All-Time NCAA Basketball Record.
Until now, I have ranked the ACC as the top overall basketball conference. See SEC Basketball.
But the time has come to recognize the new reality. College basketball is better and more competitive than ever. The ACC and Big East are both great basketball conferences with great histories. The Big Ten, Big-12 and Pac 10 are good too.
But history isn't enough. In the past two years, the ACC has had 0 teams in the Final Four. The Southeastern Conference has had three.
We know about Florida and the Tennessee Lady Vols. But, the conference is much deeper than that. In fact, over the past two years, the SEC has had the best March Madness record of any conference. That is for both the men's and women's NCAA tournaments.
This year, the SEC went 11-4 in the men's tournament. And, two of the losses (Tennessee and Vanderbilt ) were to higher ranked opponents (Ohio State and Georgetown) and the games were decided on last-minute, controversial, plays.
The SEC did even better in the women's tournament, going 15-4. They had the most teams in the Sweet 16 (4); Great 8 (3); and, Final Four (2).
The time has come for the college basketball world to recognize the obvious. The SEC is not just the top football conference. Florida and Tennessee's basketball championships have established the SEC as the best college basketball conference in America. And that is the big story to come out of March Madness 2007.
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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Current College Basketball RPI
Need to update the article again...ACC not even close to being relevant as a top CONFERENCE in basketball anymore. One team (Duke) is not a conference. …
Joe Friday (Just the facts ma'am)
Since the national champion in basketball is decided by a playoff, we can objectively decide which conference is the best. We can look at which conference …
Yogi Berra is still alive
You say in the beginning that's what the great Yogi would say if here were still with us... He is, the man is still alive. Do some research next time
Come on Not rated yet
If you're going to do a legitimate evaluation, be at least SOMEWHAT impartial. You look for any positive evidence you can find and use that for your argument. …
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