What’s More Important – Winning the Conference Tournament or Regular Season Title?

Missouri won the Big 12 tournament for the eighth and final time before shipping off to the SEC, beating Baylor. Should it put them ahead of Kansas in the seeding for the NCAA Tournament? Kansas are #3 on the AP poll, Mizzou #5. I don’t know if winning the tournament gives you the go ahead over the regular season champion. I think it shouldn’t, but I’m also not sure it matters.

What’s more important in the bigger picture? Winning the regular season conference championship, or the conference tournament? Looking at the last decade, in which we had seven different champions, you have to win at least one of the titles. The last team to win the national title without winning either of the conference titles was Uconn in 1999. They also won two titles over the past 10 years, but those were far less stunning.

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Back in 2002, Gary Williams, now retired, led the Maryland Terrapins to the national title, the school’s first and only thus far, with a 64-52 win over Indiana. Maryland were the number one seed in the East. They were the regular season ACC champions.

In 2003, it was Syracuse and Jim Boeheim, beating Kansas 81-78 in the final. Syracuse were the regular season champions in the Big East but got the #3 seed in their region. Oklahoma were #1, losing to Syracuse in the Regional Finals.

2004 – Uconn won their second national title under Jim Clahoun, beating Georgia Tech 82-73. The Huskies were the Big East tournament champions, and got the no.2 seed in the Phoenix Regional. The no.1 seed, Stanford, were knocked out in the second round.

2005 – North Carolina won their first national title after Dean Smith, as Roy Williams led the Tar Heels, who won the ACC regular season title that year, to a 75-70 win over Illinois. They were the number one seed in the Syracuse Regional.

2006 – Florida being their domination tour, the only school to repeat since Duke in 1991-1992. Under Billy Donovan, the Gators won their only two national titles. In 2006, they destroyed UCLA in the finals 73-57, winning the conference tournament that year. They were only the no.3 seed in the┬áMinneapolis┬áRegional, beating Villanova (#1) in the finals.

2007 – The Gators beat Greg Oden and Georgetwon 84-75, this time winning both the regular season and the tournament in the SEC, getting the #1 seed in the regional.

2008 – Kansas win their first title in 20 years under Bill Self, winning the Big 12 in both regular season and tournament modes. Side note – Kansas have won the Big 12 regular season title for the last 8 seasons, all under Bill Self. They were #1 in the regional.

2009 – North Carloina again, one of three schools two win the national title twice during the last 10 years. They won the regular season title in the ACC before beating Michigan State 89-72, getting the #1 seed in the South Regional.

2010 – Duke win the ACC conference and tournament championships, going on to win their fourth national title under coach K, beating Butler 61-59. Duke were the number one seed in the South Regional.

2011 – Butler lose another final, this time to Uconn in a horrible game. Uconn were the tournament champions in the Big East, getting “only” the number 3 seed in the West Regional. The number 1 seed, Duke, lost to Arizona along the way.

So, what’s better for you? Regular season has the edge, but a 7-6 lead is insignificant. What we do know that not winning both of the titles means it’s probably not your season. Duke didn’t make it through to the ACC tournament final. Count them out? Probably. The Blue Devils have too many faults, and don’t have much to offer but streaky shooting.

It’s either going to be North Carolina, Kansas or Kentucky to lift the national trophy in the end. You didn’t hear it for the first time from us, I’m sure, but at least you heard it as well.

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