Harrison Leipold – NCAA Conference Tournaments

Harrison+Leipold+-+NCAA+Conference+Tournaments

If the past week was any indication of how the NCAA Tournament will go, every college basketball fan is in for quite a treat.  The madness began early this year as the conference tournaments featured several exhilarating games and intense buzzer-beating endings.  Let’s take a look at who came out on top for each of the six power conference tournaments.

Big East

Champion: Uconn

 The Huskies made an improbable run as they became the first team ever to win the tournament by winning five straight days.  As the #9 seed, they defeated DePaul, Georgetown, Pitt, Syracuse, and Louisville en route to the championship.  Outstanding guard Kemba Walker came up big again in the clutch with a buzzer beating shot to know off #1 seeded Pitt and eventually earned tournament MVP honors.  This title helped Uconn gain a #3 seed for the NCAA Tournament that will include a record 11 teams from the Big East Conference.

 Big Ten

 Champion: Ohio State

 The regular season Big Ten Champions completed the sweep by also capturing the conference tournament by defeating Northwestern, Michigan, and Penn State.  This easily locked up the overall #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the #1 ranked team in the nation, but the biggest story out of this tournament may have been Penn State.  As a #6 seed, the Nittany Lions made an improbable run to the championship game with victories over Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan State to propel them into the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in ten years.  Overall, the Big Ten finished with seven teams in the big dance.

 ACC

 Champion: Duke

 The Blue Devils were able to capture the tournament title after losing the regular season ACC crown to rival North Carolina just a week prior.  As the #2 seed, Duke blew out Maryland and Virginia Tech before knocking off the #1 seeded Tar Heels in the championship game.  The championship, Duke’s third in a row, was just barely enough to give them the fourth and final #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  The ACC sent a total of four teams to the NCAA Tournament.

 Big 12

 Champion: Kansas

 The regular season champion Jayhawks were able to pull off the sweep by defeating Texas in the championship game showdown.  As the #1 seed, Kansas hung on to win their first game against Oklahoma State by one point before downing Colorado and #2 seeded Texas.  The championship gave Kansas the second #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in a league that sent a total of five teams.

 SEC

 Champion: Kentucky

 The Wildcats did not have a very tough time dispatching of opponents en route to the tournament title.  As the #2 seed, Kentucky breezed by Ole Miss and Alabama before destroying #1 seeded Florida in the championship game.  Despite this fact, the Wildcats were still only given a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament as opposed to the #2 seed that Florida got.  It also came as a surprise to many that Alabama was left out of the field despite having 20 wins.  Overall, the SEC sent five teams dancing. 

 PAC 10

 Champion: Washington

 The # 3 seeded Huskies were able to pull off the upset in defeating #1 seeded Arizona in the championship game by two points.  To get there, Washington also defeated in-state rival Washington State and Oregon.  The PAC 10, generally viewed as the weakest of the power conferences, sent four teams into the NCAA Tournament field with the highest seeded team being #5 seeded Arizona.