Best All Time College Basketball Conference
Let’s cut to the chase. There are only 2 conferences to be considered in determining which is the best all-time college basketball conference. Those conferences are the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Big East.
When you compare the hard numbers, the two conferences are nearly equal. The ACC has a slight edge in all-time NCAA Basketball Championships (11-10); that edge owing to UNC’s latest 2009 March Madness Championship. The ACC also has a slight edge in “Final Four” appearances.
However, the Big East is tops in total all-time NCAA B-ball Tournament wins (see Best All Time March Madness Conference. Of course the Big East has 16 teams compared to the ACC’s 12. As would be expected with more teams, the Big East also has the most total wins in NCAA basketball history. But, importantly, they lead not only in total number of wins, but are also #1 in winning percentage. See Best All Time NCAA Basketball Conference Record
So, both the ACC and Big East are magnificent basketball conferences. The Big East, all in all, probably has a very slight edge just based on statistics. However, we rank the ACC ahead of the Big East because we think the history, tradition, and basketball atmosphere on “Tobacco Row” are unparalleled. Most of the teams in the ACC have great college basketball histories. Who can forget Jimmy Valvano’s signature moment when he ran onto the court after his Cinderella NC State Wolfpack’s won it all in 1983? And, then there was Gary Williams’ National Championship with his alma mater, the Maryland Terrapins in 2002.
Raptors win. Thanks to flickr.com for the picture. Source: n0wak
But, the ACC’s great basketball history and tradition is primarily due to two teams: the University of North Carolina Tarheels and the Duke University Blue Devils. Duke and North Carolina are the two most consistent basketball powerhouses in the NCAA and elevate the ACC to it’s perch atop the college basketball world. Both UNC and Duke are ranked in the top 5 in all-time NCAA basketball wins. They have combined for thirty-two appearances in the Final Four and eight National Championships.
The ACC has produced NBA stars like Steve Francis, Elton Brand, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, Vince Carter, Sam Cassell, and Grant Hill. In the past eight seasons, of the eight NCAA Basketball Champions, 4 have gone to teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Since 1990, the ACC has won 6 National Championships, compared to 2 by the Big East.
Elton Brand. Thanks to flickr.com for the picture. Source: Philadelphia 76ers
Not only is the conference the home of great players, but also of great coaches. Mike Krzyzewski or "Coach K", from Duke, has three NCAA championships, and has been to 10 Final Fours, which is the third most in history. Not only has he been spectacular in college basketball, but he led the United States Nation Basketball Team in the Beijing Olympics to a Gold Medal. This versatility in not only college basketball, but in the world's spotlight shows that Mike Krzyzewski is arguably, currently, the best college basketball coach in the world.
USA vs. China Mens Basketball - Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Thanks to flickr.com for the picture. Source: kk+
Another ACC basketball coach, Roy Williams has won the National Championship and has made two Final Four's. Williams was named college basketball's best coach in Feb. 2009 by Forbes magazine. Both Williams and Coach K have been inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Duke - UNC game is the biggest rivalry basketball game in college or the NBA as a result of how extraordinary each of the basketball programs is and how amazingly close to one another they are geographically -- only maybe 10 miles apart.
So, picking the top NCAA B-ball conference is a very tough call. We know Big East fans can make a very strong argument for their conference. And, frankly they may be right (you can read some of their opinions below).
But, for our money, we are picking the ACC as the best all-time college basketball conference in the world.
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