This post is sponsored by US Cellular
US Cellular has been kind enough to sponsor a quick moment from this year's NCAA Championships, and rather than highlight a specific buzzer-beater, we're going to paint a broader stroke here and take a quick look at how the so-called "major" conferences have had a rather rough time representing.
During the course of the 2009-10 basketball season, fans would have had a hard time finding a conference more competitive, and well rounded than either the Big 12 or the Big East. Kansas and Syracuse have dominated the top rankings, followed by an army of top 15 teams from each respective conference. Pundits have routinely jumped on the Big East badwagon, only jumping off to catch the Big 12 cart riding along side it.
Whether you were a Jayhawk, or a Longhorn. A Mountaineer or a Hoya, cheering on your conference probably came easy this year for you. The Big 12 and the Big East held the top two spots in the national RPI rankings, and went a combined 583-349 this season (.625) Pretty impressive.
So the post-season should belong to these giants, right? Not so fast. So far, the NCAA Championships have seen a much different story. Is this a sign of things to come?
Of the 15 teams represented in this year's NCAA Championships, only 4 remain from either of these two leagues. The field has never been so diverse, as the final 16 teams are representing 11 different conferences this year, including the Ivy League and the Missouri Valley Conference. Can anyone remember ever seeing such a thing?
The dominance, and what some might call entitlement given to the major conferences may have been commonplace in the past. But it looks like we may be seeing a new face of the college basketball post-season. If you want to know what "moment" stands out in this year's tourney for me, it wouldn't be one..but rather a series of them. A series of subtle moments painting a much bigger picture. Can a mid-major National Champion be far off?
Maybe this year's tourney will give us that answer?