The importance of a conference tourney title for men’s BBall Final Four teams

Will a Big Ten tourney title equal a Final Four appearance this year for the Badgers?

Will a Big Ten tourney title equal a Final Four appearance this year for the Badgers?

Thirty-two of the 68 berths in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament come from those schools that won their conference tourney (or in the case of one conference, the Ivy League, which sends the school that won their regular season title), while the remaining 36 schools in the tournament received at-large berths from the selection committee on Sunday.

Since 2000, there have been 60 different teams that have made it to the Final Four in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Over that timeframe, 56.7% of those Final Four teams (34 of the 60) played in their conference tournament championship game the week prior to the NCAA tournament. Twenty-five of the 34 won their conference tourney.

Of last year’s Final Four teams, Billy Donovan’s Florida squad was the only team of the four Final Four teams to win their conference tournament. Two of the teams, eventual champs UConn, and Kentucky, both lost in their conference tourney title games, while Wisconsin was eliminated in the Big Ten tourney in the quarterfinals.

Following are how well the Final Four teams since 2000 (the last 15 tournaments) did in their conference tournaments the week prior to the NCAA tournament.

Final Four teams that won their conference tournament: 25

Final Four teams that lost in the conference tournament title game: 9

Final Four teams that lost in the conference tournament semifinals: 15

Final Four teams that lost in the conference tournament quarterfinals: 10

Final Four teams that did not play in a conference tournament: 1

Did you know? Of the 15 teams that won the NCAA championship this century (2000-2014), nine won their conference tournament. Of the other six, four of those schools, North Carolina in 2009, North Carolina in 2005, Syracuse in 2003 and Maryland in 2002, all lost in their conference semifinals. Last year, UConn lost in their conference tourney title contest and Kentucky lost in their Southeastern Conference championship game to Vanderbilt in 2013.

Did you know? The last year when none of the Final Four teams won their conference tournament was 2009.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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