I’ll update this as more tournaments are decided but I wanted to reprise my post from three years ago defensing the honor of conference tournaments. You can go to that link for the explanation, but the case boils down to the idea that the regular season, too, is an imperfect way to determine the best team.
Conference tourneys are more so, but there isn’t that much difference, and the trade-off is worth it in terms of the excitement and chaos generated by the single-elimination format. Like it or not, the potential for heartbreaking losses by conference favorites is what makes tournament time special. One additional point I’ll make here that I didn’t make in the previous post is that determining the auto-bid by the regular-season champ would render many conference games meaningless as teams got eliminated from the regular-season race.
These tabulations look at how the regular-season and tournament champs were ranked in their conference using my system at the end of the season. We’re not quite to the end of the season, so some of this may change slightly, and I’ll update the tourney champ category as events wrap up tomorrow.
Conf Rank (kenpom) Reg. season champ Conf. tourney champ 1 20 9 2 6 2 3 1 2 4 3 0 5 0 0 6 0 2 7 1 (Northeastern) 0