1. ACC: The nation’s best college tournament typically comes down to Duke and North Carolina in the championship game, but there have been other powerhouse teams to have big-time runs in the tournament, and that balance gives the conference the edge.
2. Big East: For many years, the Big East was an intimate affair showcasing Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John’s, Villanova, etc., but then it grew and grew and continued to be great.
3. Big Ten: Known more for its plodding football play, the Big Ten traditionally has had strong hoops, as well, and that comes through in the conference tournament, which is usually unpredictable.
4. Big 12: Sure, Kansas dominates this conference and its tournament, but Texas has had a strong run in recent years since Rick Barnes took over in Austin, while Kansas State and Oklahoma State also have been strong.
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5. SEC: The tournament is called the Kentucky invitational for a reason, and the Wildcats have dominated this conference throughout its basketball existence. Other teams come and go, but the conference is at its best when the Wildcats rule.
6. Pac 12: UCLA doesn’t own this conference like it once did, and the balance up and down the conference makes the tournament interesting year in and year out.
7. Atlantic 10: The conference has seen many different forms with teams coming and going through the years, but a tournament that includes Butler, VCU, St. Louis, Temple, Xavier, etc., will be intriguing.
8. Ohio Valley: A majority of the conference’s teams are in Kentucky and Tennessee, and that proximity makes the tournament a hot ticket. Adding Belmont gives the conference a boost.
9. Horizon: Butler might be gone, but there is plenty of depth with Valparaiso, Detroit, Wright State and Green Bay.
10. Missouri Valley: The tournament typically is overlooked, but there are usually plenty of dangerous teams and lots of excitement, led by Creighton and Wichita State.