NCAA Regionals: A Conference Analysis

A post on Nebraska's SB Nation site, Corn Nation, got be motivated on the subject of other conferences whining that the SEC got too many teams in the NCAA Tournament with nine. Their complaint, which I somewhat agree with was as follows:

Arkansas goes 0-2. They didn’t make the SEC post-season tourney and yet they were selected for the NCAA tourney. Clearly they did not belong. I hate it that the SEC just automatically gets a gob of teams in the tourney because they’re the SEC.

Which is why I weep no tears for Florida. At least they were in the SEC tourney, but, quick, look at that list of schools that are gone and name another conference besides the SEC.

The "list" they refer to is the teams that went 0-2 in the tournament that included Florida and Arkansas. Well, duh, if you have 50 percent more teams than any other conference, you're bound to have a few two-and-outs. I also could have named the Pac 10 (Cal).

Anyway, onto the analysis.

Below is listed each conference that received more than one bid (and the Big 10) and how that league's teams fared against their respective seeds. What I mean by this is, if you were a No. 1-seed and won your Regional, you get a zero. If you came second, you got a minus-one, etc. A No. 2-seed who won the regional would get a plus-one, but a No. 2 that went two-and-out would get a minus-two.

Conference	Tms	Result	Avg.
Colonial	         2	1	0.50
C-USA		5	2	0.40
Other		18	5	0.28
ACC		6	0	0.00
Big West	         4	0	0.00
West Coast	2	0	0.00
Big South	         2	0	0.00
Sun Belt	         2	0	0.00
Pac 10		5	-1	-0.20
SEC		9	-2	-0.22
Big 12		6	-3	-0.50
Big East	         2	-1	-0.50
Big 10		1	-1	-1.00

You'll notice that the top conferences are on the bottom, which comes with earning the most high seeds (because there's no way to get a plus-one if you're a No. 1 seed). On the flip side, "Other" scores well because any win by a No. 4 seed will garner at least a plus-one.

That said, the SEC fared rather well. Yes, Florida was one of two No. 2 seeds (Dallas Baptist) to flame out at 0-2 and Arkansas underperformed as a No. 3. However, the Big 12 was held back by Corn Nation's own Nebraska squad that was a No. 1 seed and didn't even make it to the final two of its regional. The Cornhuskers joined Long Beach State as the only schools to earn that distinction. Fellow Big 12 regional host Oklahoma State also couldn't close the deal at home, leaving the league with one super regional team (Texas A&M). That's right, one fewer than the SEC.

In the SEC, Vanderbilt underperformed as a No. 2, but Kentucky and Ole Miss made up for it as three-seeds that advanced to the regional championship games.

All in all, Conference USA appears to be the most disrespected conference out there. Rice was expected to win its regional and did, but No. 3-seeds Tulane and Houston gave Florida State and Texas A&M, respectively, runs for their money.

What does it all mean? Nothing mostly. It's baseball and on any given afternoon nearly anyone can beat anyone. One upset with a hot pitcher or a well-timed two-run double changes all these numbers and makes them mean something different. So complaining about it really doesn't mean anything.

Can you hear that in your ears of corn?