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The Elite 8 of College Basketball

   
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The phrase "Power 5” makes no sense in any context regarding college basketball.
By Mark Adams, EnthusiAdams, 6-4-17
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There are eight elite college basketball conferences. That’s right, EIGHT!

College basketball must break the habit of following the marketing message and the terminology based on college football. College football is a totally different animal, yet talking heads copy the same terminology like the "Power 5” which makes absolutely no sense in any context regarding college basketball. Heck, I’ve done it and I finally asked myself, "why?”

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a football fan AT ALL. I have watched college football’s influence ruin my old-school view of collegiate athletics and I have also watched football realignment distort the history of college basketball conferences into a jumbled mess.

College basketball on the NCAA Division 1 level has over 350 teams representing 32 conferences. There are eight elite college basketball conferences and I can prove it.

There are eight conferences over the last four seasons that have earned multiple NCAA bids:

NCAA men’s basketball conferences w/multi bids four straight seasons:
1. ACC: 28 total bids (9, 7, 6, 6) 
2. Big 12: 27 (6, 7, 7, 7) 
3. Big Ten: 27 (7, 7, 7, 6) 
4. Big East: 22 (7, 5, 6, 4) 
5. Pac-12: 21 (4, 7, 4, 6) 
6. SEC: 16 (5, 3, 5, 3) 
7. A-10: 15 (3, 3, 3, 6) 
8. AAC: 12 (2, 4, 2, 4)

If that doesn’t prove the point here are the average RPI rankings over the last four seasons (2014-17):
1. Big 12: 2, 1, 1, 1 = (1.25) 
2. ACC: 1, 3, 3, 5= (3.0) 
3. Big East: 3, 4, 2, 3= (3.0) 
4. Big Ten: 4, 5, 4, 2= (3.75) 
5. PAC 12: 6, 2, 5, 3= (4.0) 
6. SEC: 5, 6, 6, 7= (6.0) 
7. A-10: 8, 7, 7, 6= (7.0) 
8. AAC: 7, 8, 8, 8= (7.75)

These eight conferences also rank in the top ten in attendance on a consistent basis.

The American won the national title in 2014 with UCONN. With the addition of Wichita State, The American is loaded and a conference with HIGH MAJOR written all over it. I like how this conference is swinging for the fences in men’s basketball!

The A-10 boasts seven current members who have shown deep run NCAA Tournament success since 2004: (Note: George Mason/CAA, Davidson/SOCON, VCU/CAA)
• 2004 St Joe’s (Elite 8)
• 2006 George Mason (Final Four)
• 2008 Davidson (Elite 8)
• 2011 Richmond (Sweet 16)
• 2011 VCU (Final Four)
• 2013 LaSalle (Sweet 16)
• 2014 Dayton (Elite 8)

The ACC, Big 12, SEC and Big East have all won national titles over the last ten seasons and the Big Ten has four national runners-up (Wisconsin 2015, Michigan 2014, Michigan State 2009, Ohio State 2007) since 2007. The PAC 12 registered one runner up (UCLA) since 2006 and Oregon earned a Final Four appearance in 2017.

The Elite Eight of college basketball conferences deserves to be recognized based on performance in their own environment, not by some unrelated sport terminology that simply does not apply. It is time to stop following the football marketing message like blind sheep and recognize that basketball has its own identity and these conferences are truly ELITE!
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This article has been reprinted on Clips with the Mark Adams' permission.   Adams' contact info: email address is enthusiadams@earthlink.net  . . . Twitter @enthusiadams . . .  FaceBook page: www.facebook.com/enthusiadams  

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