Debunking the Myth: Has the Big East Really Been a Dominant Conference Recently?

Posted by EJacoby on February 17th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. 

We all know that the future of the Big East conference is going to look much different than as is currently constructed. West Virginia is headed to the Big 12 next season, and Syracuse and Pittsburgh will be on their way out to the ACC within the next two years. This league that in recent years has been known as the most dominant basketball conference will have much more competition for that title in the near future. But even this year, fully intact with the same 16 teams from which 11 qualified for the Big Dance last year, the league is not a shoo-in for the top conference. The Big East only has four NCAA Tournament locks right now, with five or six teams middling on the bubble. Which is more of an aberration – this year’s average play or the past few years of perceived dominance?

Perceived as a Dominant Conference, Has the Big East Been Overrated? (AP Photo/K. Rivoli)

There are plenty of metrics to use when attempting to determine the best conference during a season. One could look at conference RPI to determine the strength of the league during the regular season, but that treats every team equally so a couple of bad teams at the bottom of a 16-team league could weight down the conference significantly. Conference RPI also does not reflect postseason success. Amount of future NBA draft picks could tell us a lot, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect anything at the college level equating to program success. For the purpose of measuring a conference’s success from year-to-year, we’re going to look at the number of postseason bids they received and how well those teams performed in the bracket.

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