Every season, debates about the best players, teams and conferences in the NCAA occur. As we near the end of March Madness, let’s rank how the Power 5 conferences performed.
No. 1 SEC (16-6)
At 16-6, no conference has as many wins or a winning percentage as high as the SEC. Now, the Big Ten is right behind, with Iowa still in play against the SEC’s own LSU. A victory for the Big Ten against the SEC on Sunday would give the Big Ten a 0.03 percent-better winning percentage than the SEC, but as of right now, the SEC is queen. With two teams (LSU and South Carolina) making it to the Final Four, you likely watched a lot of SEC basketball this March.
Of the seven teams from the conference that participated, only Alabama failed to win a game. Five of the seven teams had an above .500 record, and LSU, the conference’s best team, may win it all, further solidifying that the South has something to say when it comes to women’s college basketball.
No. 2 Big Ten (13-6)
Right behind the SEC is the Big Ten with a 13-6 record. The Big Ten’s best team is clearly Iowa, with its superstar Caitlin Clark helping it run through the entire bracket and upset the 36-0 South Carolina Gamecocks to reach the championship game, where they will face another SEC juggernaut in LSU.
Ohio State and Maryland both had strong showings for the conference, making it to the Elite Eight and losing to the No. 1 seed in their respective regions. A win Monday won’t get the Big Ten above the SEC’s win total of 16 but would give them a winning percentage argument along with the national title.
No. 3 ACC (12-8)
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The ACC had the most teams in the tournament with eight and ended the competition with a respectable 12-8 record, which puts the ACC right in the middle of the Power 5 conference rankings.
Virginia Tech represented the conference best as the No. 1 seed in the Seattle region. The Hokies cut down the nets and made it to the Final Four in Texas, where they fell short and lost to LSU, 79-72.
On the other side of the spectrum, Florida State was upset by Georgia in the opening round and NC State lost a heartbreaker to Princeton in the opening round as well. Had these two teams won their opening games, maybe they would have jumped up to No. 2 or made a run at best conference. In the end, the ACC performed adequately.
No. 4 Pac-12 (8-7)
The Pac-12 is a storied conference. With seven participants, including a No. 1 seed, finishing at 8-7 is a disappointment.
The underachieving started at the top, with No. 1 seed Stanford being upset by Ole Miss in the second round. It didn’t stop there as no Pac-12 team could make it past the Sweet Sixteen. The only team from the conference that can claim to have had a good tournament is Colorado. They were the year’s surprise team and beat No. 3 seed Duke before falling to Iowa in the following round.
No. 5 Big 12 (3-6)
At the bottom of the Power 5 lies the Big 12. Nothing positive happened for the Big 12 this March; it ended with a losing record and no team made it past the opening weekend. Oklahoma played a good second-round game against UCLA, but fell short, 82-73. The Big 12 has a lot of work to do to pick up its play compared to the other power conferences.