The college basketball regular season is a marathon. Teams play 30-35 games doing as well as they can with the hopes of getting a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Regular-season performance is used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to select and seed the field.
Once the bracket is created, however, a new season begins. The number to the left of a team’s name is trivial. Teams no longer have months to prove themselves. One loss and their season is over. There is no time to recover from an injury. There is no waiting for the next game when you get a bad matchup. It’s survive and advance.
The 2022 NCAA Tournament often did not reflect regular-season performance. Two double-digit seeds made the Elite Eight and two more got as far as the Sweet 16. A No. 8 seed (North Carolina) played for the national championship.
It should be no surprise, then, that if team performance did not reflect the regular season, then conference performance didn’t, either. Here is a breakdown of how each conference fared. In parenthesis are the number of teams from that conference, its overall tournament record and the number of wins against higher seeds vs. losses against lower seeds.
Metro Atlantic (1, 3-1, 3-0): One of the best stories of the tournament was the run by No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s to the Elite Eight. The Peacocks beat No. 2 seed Kentucky, No. 7 seed Murray State and No. 3 seed Purdue along the way before losing to North Carolina. In a tournament of great stories, this one will be talked about for years.
ACC (5, 14-5, 7-1): The ACC had its worst regular season in recent memory. Duke was significantly better than anyone else in the league over the course of the entire season. The selection committee awarded the Blue Devils a No. 2 seed, but the next highest seed was North Carolina. However, both made the Final Four and Miami got to the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed. This was about as significant of a…