Throughout history, the NCAA basketball tournament has been dominated by teams from the six major conferences — ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC. In fact, 61 of the 71 total championships — more than 85 percent — have been won from teams from one of these six conferences.
Not surprisingly, the Pac 10 is the overall leader with 15, led by UCLA. The Bruins have won 11 NCAAs overall — 10 under John Wooden, including seven in a row from 1967 through 1973.
The ACC is next with 11 titles, led by five by North Carolina, three from Duke and two from NC State.
The Big East, Big 10 and SEC are even with 10 total titles apiece. Multiple winners are Kentucky (SEC) with seven; Indiana (Big 10) with five, and Michigan State (Big 10), Florida (SEC) and Cincinnati, Louisville and UConn (all Big East) with two apiece.
Kansas has won three of the five Big 12 NCAA championships and Oklahoma State (then Oklahoma A&M) the other two.
CCNY Now in CUNY
The other 10 championships are divided amongst the Mountain West (Wyoming, Utah and UNLV); West Coast (San Francisco twice); and Patriot League (Holy Cross); CUNY (CCNY); Atlantic 10 (LaSalle); Horizon (Loyola of Chicago); and Conference USA (Texas Western, now UTEP).
CCNY, which remains the only team to win both NCAA and NIT championships in the same year, 1950. The Beavers now face the likes of Baruch, Lehman and Hunter in the City University of New York (CUNY) Athletic Conference.
Butler could join the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago as the only Horizon League champions. Loyola Chicago beat two-time champion Cincinnati in overtime to win the crown in 1963.
Duke aims for its fourth championship overall and first since 2001 — all under Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K is looking to tie Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp for second all time behind Wooden with four championships.
Footnote: Of course, many of these conferences did not exist when Oregon won the first NCAA tournament in 1939. The championship tallies above are based on where the schools play today.
There’s an old cliche that goes something like this — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The decision-makers in the NCAA should take that saying to heart.
Cliches are cliches for a reason — because they work. Just like the NCAA basketball tournament.
Yet the NCAA is reportedly exploring the possibility of expanding from the present field of 64 to 96 teams next year.
That makes sense. Yeah right. Take something that’s created an aura and built a mystique around March Madness and change it. Why not eliminate Mother’s Day while we’re at it.
“I don’t like it,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of the 96-team potential. “I’m not going to tell you I’m going to get out of coaching because of it. But I’m more of a traditionalist.
“Now, there’s a mystique, there’s something special about being in the tournament. If they expanded, that mystique would go away.”
No More NIT
Yes, the mystique would go away, along with the NIT, which despite a long heritage of its own is dead if the NCAA goes through with this plan.
With 96 teams, we’d be left with a tournament with a bunch of byes and 32 extra teams, mainly the leftovers and second-division finishers from the major conferences.
There’d be a bunch of byes to screw up the brackets. With 96 teams, we’d be crying 96 Tears, just like ? & The Mysterians
The NCAA should spend less time worrying about March Madness and more into expanding the utterly laughable BCS football format.
Or else, we’ll be left with a 96-team basketball tournament and a two-team football playoff next year.
Do the math, it doesn’t add up.