Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Conference Realignment Effect On 2014 NCAA Tournament

The realignment of 2013 was one of the biggest in the history of college sports.  Not only did big schools move around like they did in the early 1990s and mid-2000s, but conferences were drastically altered.  So how did the new additions work in the NCAA tournament?  Let's see.

For this exercise, I'm not including the former members of the Big East that split off into the new Big East (Villanova, Providence) or the American Athletic Conference (Cincinnati, Louisville, UConn).

5-XAVIER:  The Musketeers were welcomed into the new Big East this year.  Xavier snuck into tournament as one of the "last four in".

4-MEMPHIS:  The Tigers thought they were going to be in the Big East this year after quite a while in Conference USA.  After the Big East split, Memphis joined the AAC.  Memphis found out that they couldn't dominate this league like they did the C-USA, but they still ended up back in the tournament.

3-PITTSBURGH:  Pitt was a former Big East school that made the leap the ACC.  The Panthers got off to a hot start before cooling later in the year.  But a win in the ACC tournament over power North Carolina was a great way to launch into the NCAAs.

2-CREIGHTON:  The Bluejays rode likely Player Of the Year Doug McDermott to a great season in the Big East.  Creighton, remember, was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference (the one Wichita State is in) last season before joining one of the premiere brands in college hoops.  

1-SYRACUSE:  The biggest fish this season has been Syracuse.  The Orange were the top ranked team in the nation in the middle part of the season and finished in 2nd place in the new-look ACC.

Here are the schools that will be participating in the NCAA Tournament that will be leaving for a new conference next year.

3-MERCER:  The Bears are leaving the Atlantic Sun conference on a high.  They are in their first NCAA tournament since 1985 and next year will be playing in the much higher profile Southern Conference.

2-TULSA:  The Golden Hurricane won the Conference USA title this year despite strong seasons by Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech.  No matter, since Tulsa will be heading to The American Athletic Conference next season.  That's huge since the AAC is more nationally respected league with four schools in the dance this year.

1-LOUISVILLE:  This is the biggest one.  Louisville won the first ever AAC tournament title in its only season in that conference.  Last year, they won the Big East tournament.  Next year, can they win the ACC crown?  The Cardinals enter this tournament as defending champions and are one of the trendy picks for another title.

No comments: