LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Atlantic Coast Conference basketball is the most dazzling real estate in college basketball —- exclusive, extravagant and oozing with tradition.
But keep an eye on the Southeastern Conference. There’s several fancy new subdivisions and undeniable ambition.
Then, there is the Big Ten. Magic Johnson’s league better bust out the paint brushes, hammers and brooms and get to work. It ain’t what it used to be.
That’s not a hot take. That’s another cold splash of basketball gospel after adding the results from the 2019 NCAA Tournament to the record book.
There are nine active coaches who have won the national title. Four — Mike Krzyzewski of Duke; Roy Williams of North Carolina; Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Tony Bennett of Virginia — work in the ACC.
No other league has more than one guy with a ring.
With Michigan State’s failure to survive Texas Tech in Minneapolis at the Final Four last weekend, the gap between championships for Big Ten programs is guaranteed to stretch to 20 seasons.
During that two-decade period, the ACC has won eight national titles and the SEC has three.
Indiana delivered the last unbeaten national championship season in 1976. During the 25-season period from Bob Knight’s first NCAA title through Tom Izzo’s only championship with Michigan State in 2000, the Big Ten won the national championship six times (three by IU, two by Michigan State, one by Michigan).
The ACC won five. The SEC four. The Big East three.
Since then the Big Ten has led the nation in attendance, wishing, hoping, praying and rebuilding.
With its roster of Hall of Fame coaches, the ACC towers over this discussion, although this is the word I would use to describe the hires SEC programs have made in the last two seasons:
With the exception of the miserable mess at Louisiana State, the coaching lineups appear to be set in all three leagues for next season.
Some numbers to compare:
National Titles Won (by current coaches)
ACC — 10.
SEC — 1.
Big Ten — 1.
Final Fours Made
ACC — 28 (by Krzyzewski, Williams, Boeheim, Bennett and Jim Larranaga of Miami).
SEC — 13 (John Calipari; Rick Barnes; Frank Martin; Ben Howland; Bruce Pearl and Tom Crean).
Big Ten — 10 (Izzo and John Beilein).
ACC — 19 (add Leonard Hamilton, Chris Mack, Mike Brey and Jeff Capel).
SEC — 13 (add Cuonzo Martin; Buzz Williams and Mike White).
Big Ten — 7 (add Fred Hoiberg, Archie Miller and Matt Painter).
Coaches Tournament Winning Percentages
ACC — 307-163, .653.
SEC — 160-105, .604
Big Ten — 129-87, .597.
Yes, the ACC numbers are heavily tilted by Coach K, Williams and Boeheim, guys who will be 73, 69 and 75 next season. They plan to go forever, but let me know how that works out.
On Monday night, Bennett confirmed what students of the ACC have seen the last six seasons: He can win conference titles against those Hall of Famers without a roster of players who make the recruiting gurus hyperventilate.
But keep an an on the SEC. Nick Saban’s league has delivered some victories in the coaching merry-go-round.
Rick Barnes turned down UCLA to stay at Tennessee. I know UCLA is a mess but it’s the best job in the Pac-12. Tennessee will never be the best job in the SEC.
Buzz Williams left a middle of the pack ACC job (Virginia Tech) for a middle of the pack SEC job (Texas A&M).
Eric Musselman (Nevada) determined that Arkansas was a more intriguing opportunity than than any other job on the board.
Vanderbilt thought outside the box and turned to former North Carolina and NBA star Jerry Stackhouse.
Mike White (Florida) and Tom Crean (Georgia) are locking down Top 10 recruiting classes, according to 247Sports.
The vital signs are encouraging, certainly as encouraging as the Big Ten. Of the 129 NCAA Tournament games won by the Big Ten’s 14 coaches, more than 60 percent have been won by two guys — Izzo and Beilein.
Painter, Miller, Holtmann, Hoiberg, Brad Underwood of Illinois and others all have work to do to make the Big Ten a force in the NCAA Tournament again.
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