Sunday, December 18, 2005

SEC Basketball - Can We Get Some Respect?

I just got back today (early Sunday morning for you folks on the East Coast) from my last mission in Mosul. I am almost out of here and I cannot wait to get back. I will have something more for tomorrow, but hopefully the following article will satisfy your Sunday college sports fix. This article is by YBW guest contributor and resident Auburn/SEC fan, Dr. Z. You may remember him from that article on Hating Notre Dame. Enjoy. -yb

PS - Thanks to Dan, Nathan, and Goldtimer at
What's the Good Word?, Golden Tornado, and Wreck Ramblin for the promos for this site on their blogs. There are not too many of us GT sports bloggers and I am glad they saw fit to welcome one more into their ranks. If you haven't checked out their sites, I highly recommend you do. Thanks again guys.

SEC Basketball - Can We Get Some Respect?
College football season is almost over and basketball is now upon us. It’s early, but I have already found myself on the defensive pertaining to an issue that confuses me on a yearly basis. Why doesn’t the SEC get any basketball respect?

The ACC is the king of college basketball. Statistically, the Big Ten is a close second (although recently fading). Take out the John Wooden UCLA years which were an anomaly (no single school should represent and entire conference) and the PAC-10 isn’t even a factor. So which conference is number three? Talk to anyone in a bar or on the streets, and the knee jerk reaction is to say the Big East. Somehow they have accumulated a metric ass-load of street credit without producing corresponding results.

This gross error in the loose conference ranking system can only be corrected with cold hard facts. Just as the ACC has started to separate themselves from the competition over the last several years, the SEC has closed the gap. One thing that isn’t debatable is the fact that the SEC has solidified its place as one of the top three basketball conferences in the NCAA, consistent wit their place in all-time history. The separation between third and fourth place in this topic of water-cooler conversation is so vast that it would take years of Big East dominance and SEC ineptitude to change the rankings. In fact, the odds are greater that the SEC would improve its position before it ever declines. Note to the Big Ten….watch your back.

Conference NCAA Tournament StatsACCBig TenSECBig East

Champions (Last 20 Years)





Champions (All-Time)





Final Four Appearances (Last 20 Years)





Final Four Appearances (All-Time)





-Dr. Z
(Guest YBW Contributor and Token Non-GT Fan brought in to keep YBW from turning into a GT love-fest blog)


Blogger whiskey jacket said...

i don't think that the sec has the depth of the big 10, big east, or acc. of the 8 championships that the sec claims, 7 of those belong to kentucky. kentucky also claims half of the sec's final 4 appearances. i don't think the sec will get the respect that the other conferences are receiving until they prove they are good, top to bottom.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Genay said...

Gotta Agree...

Take away The Big Blue Mist and who is what is left in the SEC.

Newbie Arkansas, then 1 shot FF's by UF, MSST, and LSU.

The Hogs Final Fours prior to 1992 shouldn't even be in the List.

The ACC can at least claim national dominance by 3 squads with 5 years of brilliance from everyone else but Clemson.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Z said...

The dominance of the ACC was never disputed. My issue is with the over-rated Big East. Teams like Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Providence get a lot of respect but haven't done anything since the days of Ewing, Murdock, and Hurley(#2) respectively. Those has-been teams, along with the never-were teams such as West Virgina, Rutgers, and Notre Dame could be taken by the bottom half of the SEC (USC, Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU, and Bama)

1:53 AM  
Blogger Stumpy's Bear said...

Excellent analysis Dr. Z. I have always allowed the "Big East is just as good or better than the ACC" argument. BUT NO LONGER. In fact, it appears that they may only be HALF as good as the ACC and Big Ten. Silly Yankees.
However, I don't think its fair to not count the Pac-10 and UCLA in this comparison. Sure, what Wooden did there was freakish, but to ignore it is not right. I may be wrong, but I'm sure there were several other contenders coming out of the PAC-10 over that decade that UCLA just beat out in the end b/c they were just that good. UCLA's feat should not be overlooked.
Anyway, most these days aren't arguing the best all-time basketball conference, instead most would prefer to look at the last 20 years, and after reading your analysis, it is confirmed: ACC rules, Big East drools. And, I'll give you that the SEC is a competitive and maybe even top basketball conference.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous sinewaylaw said...

2 points:

1) Dr. Z says "no single school should represent and entire conference." Ok, Kentucky basically represents the SEC (as pointed out by Whiskey Jacket), so what was your point again?

2) Granted, the Big East might not have the PAST success to back up any serious claims, but no one can deny that the future will produce a different result. The new Big East is a powerhouse, one that I fear will, in time, dethrone the ACC. Look at the teams currently in the "new look" Big East:

UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Notre Dame, Pitt, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, USF, St. John's, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia.

This lineup has at least 5 or 6 schools that could be considered perennial basketball powers, and is a solid basketball conference from top to bottom. Granted, USF, Rutgers and WV may not do much in the basketball world, but that means there are still 13 other scary teams out there.

The Big East is a tough conference, one that should currently be considered the 2nd best in the country, and could compete to be the best.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Stumpy's Bear said...

"This lineup has at least 5 or 6 schools that could be considered perennial basketball powers"

UConn, Syracuse, MAYBE Louisville (at least now with Patino) and . . . name 'em. Who else is a "perennial basketball power?"

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Z said...

Thank you Stumpy's Bear. I was looking for the same thing.
I also want to add one correction to a mistake made in my original article which has obviously opened a door to criticism. I erred in saying that "no single school should represent an entire conference" when what I should have said is "no single school's success over a ten year period in the late 60s and early 70s should represent an entire conference's legitimacy". See, the difference between Kentucky and UCLA is that Kentucky has maintained their upper tier status for decades whereas UCLA only did it for one (admittedly a remarkable one). Kentucky is STILL good which is why the SEC can use their status as a representative of their conference. If we were to just base standards on ancient history and 60's-70's championships then the PAC-10 could literally stop playing basketball for the next 10 years and still be considered one of the top conferences (based on all the titles that UCLA racked up). Bottom line - I should have said "if the PAC-10 is going to use a teams's past history of success as the main litmus test for success, then that team better still be good. UCLA isn't."

And the Big East is still average at best with the addition of Louisville, albeit I'm sure USF and Rutgers will someday bring them to the next level.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Stumpy's Bear said...

UCLA did win one with Harrick in '95 (of course we all know now how he probably did it).

3:34 PM  
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