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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:04 am 
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Once again the Pac Ten is a "no show" in this year's Final Four. It has become painfully evident that the Pac Ten as a conference is not a player when it comes to contending for national championships. Arizona is a player, but not the Pac Ten.

In the past 25 years of the post-UCLA era, the conference has been to the Final Four only 6 times - & 4 of those have been by Arizona. In the past 10 years, Stanford in '98 was the conference's sole representative to the Final Four exclusive of Arizona.

I read frequent references to the "6 power conferences." I fail to see how the Pac Ten qualifies as a "power conference" in college basketball with its record over the past quarter century.

The run of Final Fours by Arizona since '87 isn't much different than that of UNLV in the Tarkanian years when the Runnin' Rebels got to 4 Final Fours & won a national championship. They certainly didn't qualify any league that they joined as a "power conference."

Let's look at records of current conference members in Final Fours & national championships over the past 25 years:

ACC (6) - 26 & 7 . . . . 16 & 4
Big 10 (7)- 16 & 4 . . . 12 & 2
SEC (6) - 14 & 3 . . . . . 7 & 1
BEC (6)- 12 & 5. . . . . . 9 & 4
Big 12 (4) - 11 & 1 . . . 5 & 0
CUSA (4) - 10 & 1 . . . . 6 & 0
Pac 10 (3) - 6 & 2 . . . . 2 & 1
MWC (2) - 4 & 1. . . . . . 1 & 0
ATC (1) - 1 & 0. . . . . . . 0 & 0

In parentheses is the number of conference members appearing in the Final Four. The second set of numbers is the number of Final Four appearances & championships by the conference if you remove the league's most frequent representative to the Final Four. True power conferences still have numerous appearances rather than an isolated appearance or two by the lesser conferences. The is true even for conferences like the Big XII & CUSA, both of which have achieved much of their success on the coattails of a single conference member - Kansas & Louisville respectively.

The record of the Pac Ten is closer to the record of Mountain West conference members than anyone else & is not close to the record of any of the other "power conferences." Clearly it is something other than success in championship play that makes the Pac Ten a "power conference."


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:15 am 
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You dismiss UCLA, but that it more than likely the school the conference is still riding on. Wooden is still mentioned as a legend to this day, and likely will as long as there is college hoops. As long as UCLA is in the conference, the prestige it brings is still there. (also why Notre Dame is taking its sweet time joining a conference in football)

Either way, I think "power" conference is pretty meaningless in a sport that features an all-inclusive playoff. So some conferences get 1 entry, others 4. It doesn't matter because they all get a chance.


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:07 am 
Granted, I have not conducted independent research, but it seems like the Pac-10 produced its fair share of Sweet 16 participants in the last dozen or so years, not really falling off until at least 2003...

1995: Arizona State, UCLA
1996: Arizona
1997: Arizona (8), Cal, UCLA (8), Stanford
1998: Arizona (8), UCLA, Stanford (4), Washington
1999: UCLA(?)
2000: UCLA
2001: Arizona (2), UCLA, USC (8), Stanford (8)
2002: Arizona, Oregon, UCLA
2003: Arizona

Granted, a history of high-seeded first-round/second-round exits has taken its toll on the Pac-10's fate in the NCAAs (Arizona: 1992-1993, 1995, 1999-2000; UCLA: 1994, 1996; Stanford: 1999-2000, 2004)...

The latter-half of the 1980s also proved disastrous for the Pac-10...there was even a season (1988) in which the Big West (3) produced more NCAA participants than the Pac-10 (2)...

Comparably, the BIG EAST has produced a limited number of Final Four participants since the 1980s (UConn: 1999, 2004; Syracuse: 1996, 2003)...


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:04 am 
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Mr Ouija, I'll do the research on Sweet 16's, but I bet I'll find mid-majors that come up looking good here too. It is the ability to contend for a national chapionship that separates the "power conferences" from everyone else. It is getting to the Final four that puts you in a position to grab the brass ring. A regional championship is equivalent to winning one of the 4 major bowls in football.

Every conferenc except the ACC has had down periods in terms of Final Four appearances over the past 25 years, but typically those were offset by winning streaks. Yes, the Big East hit a dry spell for 6 years, 1990-95, but they have come back with 4 Final Fours & 2 national championships in the past 10 years. The Pac Ten had a similarly productive period 1994-98, with 4 Final Four appearances & 2 national championships. The problem is that when you look over a long period of time, the Pac Ten has only 2 other Final Four appearances in the other 20 years since 1980 & both were by Arizona.

Except for the 5 year flurry of success in the mid-'90s, it's been one long dry spell for the Pac Ten since UCLA ended it domination of college basketball, which I'm dating with their Final Four appearance in 1980. Of course, you can date it to the end of the Wooden era in 1975, but since they went to 2 more Final Fours after that, 1980 makes more sense to me.

Here are some other dry spells:

Big Ten - 1982-86 (5 years), 1993-96 (4 years)
SEC - 1985-89 (5 years), 1991-95 (5 years)
Big XII - 1981-85 (5 years), 1996-2001 (6 years)


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:45 pm 
Short on time at the moment, but the Big 8 went a dozen years between Kansas appearances in the Final Four (1974-1986)...

The Final Four appearance by Arkansas in 1990 was as a member of the Southwest Conference, as it went seven years between LSU (1986) and Kentucky (1993)...

Michigan (Big Ten) played in the 1993 Final Four...


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:27 pm 
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The CUSA should have 2 championships as Louisville won in 80 and 86. That will give you 25 champions. I also think the SEC s/b 9 visits w/o Kentucky. Kentucky has only been 5 times in the last 25 years (1984 lost to GT in semis, 92 or 93 lost to Mich. in semis, 96 & 98 won, 97 lost to AZ in final). UK has done pretty well in the finals with 7 championships, 3 runnerups and 3 semi-finals. UK, UCLA and IU all do pretty well once they get there in contrast to KU, Duke and UNC.

The final 4 isn't the only criteria. In terms of ranked teams and tourney invites, I believe they have done pretty well. I agree they haven't been at the top in a while, but I don't think they are that far behind.


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:51 pm 
The "post-UCLA" era of the NCAA Tournament arguably began in 1977, the first year since 1966 that UCLA failed to appear in the Final Four, and the second (and final) season of his successor, Gene Bartow, who was replaced by a former Wooden player, Gary Cunningham...also note that there were no "holdovers" from the 1976 Final Four and heretofore unfamiliar programs at UNLV and UNCC made appearances...

Final Four appearances since 1977 (total appearances; number of different programs; average appearances per "reconfigured" membership)...

ACC (28; 6; 2.33)
Duke (12): 1978, 1986-1992, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2004
Georgia Tech (2): 1990, 2004
Maryland (2): 2001-2002
North Carolina (9): 1977, 1981-1982, 1993, 1995, 1997-1998, 2000, 2005
North Carolina State (1): 1983
Virginia (2): 1981, 1986

BIG EAST (21; 12; 1.31)
Cincinnati (1): 1992 (Great Midwest)
Connecticut (1): 1999, 2004
DePaul (1): 1979 (D-I)
Georgetown (3): 1982, 1984-1985
Louisville (5): 1980, 1982-1983, 1986 (Metro); 2005 (C-USA)
Marquette (2): 1977 (D-I); 2003 (C-USA)
Notre Dame (1): 1978 (D-I)
Providence (1): 1987
Saint John's (1): 1985
Seton Hall (1): 1989
Syracuse (3): 1987, 1996, 2003
Villanova (1): 1985

Big Ten (19; 9; 1.73)
Illinois (2): 1989, 2005
Indiana (4): 1981, 1987, 1992, 2002
Iowa (1): 1980
Michigan (3): 1989, 1992-1993
Michigan State (5): 1979, 1999-2001, 2005
Minnesota (1): 1997
Ohio State (1): 1999
Purdue (1): 1980
Wisconsin (1): 2000

Big XII (10; 4; .83)
Kansas (5): 1988, 1991, 1993, 2002-2003
Oklahoma (2): 1988, 2002
Oklahoma State (2): 1995, 2004
Texas (1): 2003

Pac-10 (7; 3; .7)
Arizona (4): 1988, 1994, 1997, 2001
UCLA (2): 1980, 1995
Stanford (1): 1998

SEC (16; 6; 1.33)
Arkansas (4): 1978, 1990 (Southwest); 1994-1995
Florida (2): 1994, 2000
Georgia (1): 1983
Kentucky (6): 1978, 1984, 1993, 1996-1998
Louisiana State (2): 1981, 1986
Mississippi State (1): 1996

"Standard-bearer" programs (appearance ratio)...

ACC: Duke (12) & North Carolina (9); (21/28)

BIG EAST: Louisville (5), Georgetown (3), & Syracuse (3); 11/21

Big Ten: Michigan State (5) & Indiana (4); (9/19)

Big XII: Kansas (5); (5/10)

Pac-10: Arizona (4); (4/7)

SEC: Kentucky (6) & Arkansas (4); (10/16)


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:35 pm 
Big XII (11; 4; .92); Kansas (6); (6/11)
Kansas (6): 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 2002-2003
Oklahoma (2): 1988, 2002
Oklahoma State (2): 1995, 2004
Texas (2): 2003

A-10 (2; 2; .14)
Massachusetts (1): 1996
North Carolina-Charlotte (1): 1977

C-USA (4; 2; .33); Houston (3); (3/4)
Houston (3): 1982-1984 (Southwest)
Memphis State (1): 1985 (Metro)

Mountain West (5; 2; .55); UNLV (4); (4/5)
UNLV (4): 1977 (D-I); 1987, 1990-1991 (Big West)
Utah (1): 1998 (Western Athletic)

PMA Standings
ACC: 2.33
Big Ten: 1.73
SEC: 1.33*
BIG EAST: 1.31*
Big XII: .92
Pac-10: .7
MWC: .55*
C-USA: .33*
A-10: .14*

ACC (1977-1979): .29
ACC (1980-1991): 1.50 (Pac -10: .2)
ACC (1992-2003): 1.44 (.5)

A-12 (1996-2000): .09 (.2)

BIG EAST (1981-1982): .143
BIG EAST (1983-1991): .78 (.1)
BIG EAST (1996-2000): .15 (.2)
BIG EAST (2001-2004): .14 (.1)

Big 10 (1977-1992): .9 (.2)
Big Ten (1993-2005): .91 (.5)

Big 8 (1977-1996): .75 (.4)
Big XII (1997-2005): .42 (.3)

Big West (1987-1992): .3 (.1)

C-USA (2002-2005): .14

Great Midwest (1992-1993): .17

Metro (1980-1983): .43 (.1)

Pac-10 (1979-2005): .7

SEC (1977-1991): .5 (.2)
SEC (1992-2005): .75 (.5)

Southwest (1977-1991): .56 (.2)


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:43 pm 
Ivy (1977-2005): .1 (Pac-10: .7)

Sun Belt (1977-1979): .17

WAC (1997-1999): .06 (.2)

Also, add the 1989 Stanford team, the 1991 UCLA team, and the 2002 USC team to the list of notable Pac-10 first round exits, and the 1987 UCLA and 1992 USC teams to the list of notable second-round exits...


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 1:03 am 
Great data Mr.Ouija.

I've taken your final four list and boiled it down to participants over the last 10 post seasons by conference (1996-2005) for comparison purposes.

Conference (#Final Fours)
ACC (10)
BigTen (9)
Big East (6)
Big XII (5)
SEC (5)
PAC-10 (3)
MWC (1)
A-10 (1)

The numbers are fairly consistent with your 29 year data set (1977-2005) with some notables.

The Big East slipped in the early 90's but is on the way back with Syracuse and UConn with recent championships plus Louisville and Marquette bringing their final fours to the Big East.

The Big XII has really become strong in recent years, and the SEC has fallen back.

I think whats hurting the PAC-10 the most is being far outside the East Coast-Midwestern nexus of college basketball. The noted rivalries of the Big Ten, ACC, Big East ect...also add a prestige factor. Washington-Washington State doesn't compare with UNC-NCState. Another issue is the parity in western college basketball. In many respects the mountain west is just as good if not better than the PAC-10 in fan support and facilities. And the WAC has some very good basketball programs like Nevada, Fresno, and Hawaii with New Mexico St and Utah St strong mid majors.

Branding the PAC-10 as a power conference for football hasn't been a problem because of the exclusive nature of the bowl system keeping the MWC and WAC away from the top tier recruits in the west. Unless the PAC-10 is willing to expand with UNLV, Utah, New Mexico, and BYU for basketball purposes for the clear upper hand out west, they will continue to struggle in final four participation.


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:11 am 
Since 1990, the Pac-10 appears roughly comparable to the BIG EAST in terms of Final Four appearances...

BIG EAST (4)
UConn: 1999, 2004
Syracuse: 1996, 2003

BIG EAST-16 (7)
Cincinnati: 1992 (Great Midwest)
UConn: 1999, 2004
Louisville: 2005 (C-USA)
Marquette: 2003 (C-USA)
Syracuse: 1996, 2003

Pac-10 (5)
Arizona: 1994, 1997, 2001
UCLA: 1995
Stanford: 1998


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:13 am 
North Carolina-Charlotte's participation in the 1977 Final Four was as a member of the (first-year) Sun Belt Conference...


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 1:11 pm 
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Great topic, discussion and research, though I feel 1-2 numbers might be off on first glance. Nice job, fellas.

Friar, when you said "It is the ability to contend for a national chapionship that separates the "power conferences" from everyone else.", I assume you meant on a consistent basis, right?

I wouldn't call the PAC 10 mid-major but agree that it doesn't appear to be a power conference. I differentiate between the two because few would argue that there isn't a difference between the WAC and the PAC 10. Of course, I also feel that who constitutes the majors and mid-majors varies from sport to sport. Obviously the PAC 10 benefits greatly from it's classification as a major in the other high-profile sport of football, while in years past the ACC and BE have benefitted in football from their classification as majors in basketball.

Additional fodder for your discussion. Figures for '04-05 will be available next week.

Average conference attendance ("straight" average of team averages)
2004 Avg. (00-04)
Conference Old Alignment New Alignment Old Alignment New Alignment
Big 10 12,702 12,742
ACC 11,840 10,079 11,039 9,417
SEC 10,948 10,930
Big 12 9,555 9,472
MWC 9,521 8,977 8,997 8,494
BE 8,948 10,676 8,615 10,214
CUSA 8,202 5,306 8,084 5,189
Pac 10 8,111 7,876
WAC 6,118 6,098 5,623 5,636



Last edited by gunnerfan on Thu Mar 31, 2005 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:54 pm 
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I think the attendance data is the most interesting. MWC pushing the Big 12 for #4.

I believe the MVC attendance is probably pretty close to the Pac 10.


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 Post subject: Pac Ten Mid Major?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:58 am 
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MVAC figures
6,855 - 6,233

A10 figures
5,771 - 6,002


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