We’ve been engaged in the conversation for quite a bit now, so you need to click on the following links to catch-up:
* Earlier in the month, we opened the can of worms by highlighting a Jeff Goodman article and running this entry.
* After Carolina’s pasting of Arizona this weekend we asked to hear more about the great Pac-10.
Today, The Wilmington Star‘s Andrew Jones has taken the idea and added more statistical data to the conversation. This link will take you to his great work that is prefaced with the following comments:
I’ve had a few of these discussions, and while I’ve felt the Pac-10 was the best conference, North Carolina’s 28-point win at Arizona was a major statement for the Tar Heels and the ACC. Now I am thinking more seriously that the ACC is the better conference. If the NCAA tournament bids were extended today, it’s likely the ACC would get nine bids and the Pac-10 at least six and maybe seven.
I think that what Andrew and others are starting to realize is the level of quality depth that the ACC contains compared to all other conferences. Now that Georgia Tech seems relegated to the bottom quarter of the league, you still have EIGHT ACC teams legitimately looking at a shot at an NCAA Tournament bid; and GT isn’t necessarily dead yet as they are still hanging around the Top 50 area of the RPI. (Relevant link to ACCNow’s summary of ACC RPI’s)
At the bottom of the leagues, you have three ACC teams that are still generally Top 150 RPI teams. The lowest rated ACC team is Miami at #170. However, the Pac-10 has TWO teams with RPI’s below the ACC’s worst rated team. (Oregon State #184 and Arizona State #232). So, each Pac-10 gets a sure 4 wins vs these lowly programs while the ACC’s imbalanced schedule (against tougher opponents at the bottom of the league) create a very different conference experience.
* At the top of the leagues, the ACC is as strong as the Pac-10.
* In the middle of the leagues, the ACC is definitely stronger than the Pac-10.
* At the bottom of the leagues, the ACC is definitely stronger than the Pac-10.
Where is the argument?
Ultimately, fans and media across the nation engage in this debate every year. The REAL BEAUTY of Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball is that every year the debate is centered around a different conference challenging the ACC’s supremecy. Sure there will be an individual season where another conference may truly be ‘better’. The problem is no single conference other than the ACC is ever the standard by which all others are judged.
Who is consistently ‘the best’? ^There is your answer.