Big East exceeded expectations in NCAAs; ACC, MWC didn’t


The Big 12 is vying for bragging rights as college basketball’s best conference. But does that mean it had the best NCAA tournament?

It all depends on PASE.

The Performance Against Seed Expectation is a helpful tool to determine how well a league’s teams fared compared to how they should’ve fared. For example, the Big East placed the most teams in the field of 68 with nine. But those teams earned a wide range of seeds.

Syracuse was the highest (1), followed by Georgetown and Marquette (3s), Louisville (4), Cincinnati (6) and Notre Dame (7). Those all should’ve won at least one game according to seed. UConn (9), West Virginia (10) and South Florida (12) should’ve have. Given the history for their respective seeds fared in past NCAA tournaments, the Big East should win 12.21 games.

It’s won 14. (That includes South Florida’s First Four win, which probably should just count as half a victory. Anyway.)

Other conferences doing as expected or better include:

  • SEC (5.97 expected; 7 actual, with one team left)
  • Big Ten (10.86 expected; 11 actual, with one team left)
  • A-10 (2.51 expected; 3 actual, no teams left)
  • WCC (1.84 expected; 2 actual, no teams left)
  • Pac-12 (.98 expected; 1 actual, no teams left)
  • Big 12 (8.44 expected; 8 actual, with two teams left)

That leaves the ACC (8.64 expected; 6 actual, one team left) and the Mountain West (4.21 expected; 1 actual, no teams left) as the conference that have been worse than expected, according to seed. If UNC wins it all, the ACC will still be half a win shy of what it should’ve. UNC needs to win it all for the ACC to do what was expected.

But don’t just blame Duke for any shortfallings. Florida State left at least one win out there.

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