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March 12, 2008
Conference Tournament Previews
SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC

by Ken Pomeroy

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This is the final installment of the log5 conference tourney analysis, with the conferences that get underway Thursday. Keep in mind that to date, only one conference tournament winner (San Diego) was rated lower than the second choice to win a title. All figures listed are the chances of a team getting to a particular round based on log5 computations, with the rightmost column indicating its chances of winning the tournament.

Southeastern

                     Qtrs Semis Final  Champ
E1 Tennessee          100  89.3  66.4  49.9
W1 Mississippi St.    100  63.4  40.5  16.1
W2 Arkansas           100  61.0  20.1  10.9
E2 Kentucky           100  56.6  23.9   7.0
E4 Florida           66.3  27.6  15.5   5.0
E3 Vanderbilt        80.3  35.8  10.3   5.0
W3 Ole Miss          70.4  34.8  14.5   4.2
W5 Alabama           33.7   9.0   3.5   0.7
E5 South Carolina    50.7   5.5   1.5   0.4
W4 LSU               49.3   5.2   1.4   0.4
E6 Georgia           29.6   8.6   2.0   0.3
W6 Auburn            19.7   3.2   0.3   0.07

Format: All games at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, March 13-16.
Most likely championship matchup: Tennessee vs. Mississippi State (27%)

There's some attention on Kentucky and Arkansas to not kick away at-large bids, although thanks to first-round byes, both should face fairly strong opponents in their opening game and thus not risk a bad loss. For the second straight season, Mississippi State enters the SEC Tournament as a team not getting as much attention as it deserves. This season, they'll end up in the NCAA Tournament, and a strong performance in Atlanta will give them the type of seed (four or five) with which they could do some damage.

Big Ten

                     Qtrs Semis Final  Champ
1  Wisconsin          100  95.8  72.6  56.0
3  Indiana            100  74.7  42.1  13.9
2  Purdue             100  68.7  37.3  11.9
4  Michigan St.       100  61.3  18.4  10.4
5  Ohio St.           100  38.7   8.5   3.8
10 Illinois          80.5  28.9  11.8   2.5
6  Minnesota         87.3  24.6   8.4   1.4
8  Iowa              50.1   2.1   0.3   0.04
9  Michigan          49.9   2.1   0.3   0.04
7  Penn St.          19.5   2.3   0.4   0.02
11 Northwestern      12.7   0.7   0.05  0.002

Format: All games at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, March 13-16.
Most likely championship matchup: Wisconsin vs. Indiana (31%)

The caste system has been in place in the Big Ten all season; four teams are in Indy simply for decoration. Wisconsin's Big Ten title has been a bit tarnished by the easier schedule they had in conference, but they were the best team in the league. The only way they'll convince most people is to not just win this event, but to avenge the season sweep by Purdue in the process.

Big 12

                     Qtrs Semis Final  Champ
2  Kansas             100  92.3  79.0  68.0
1  Texas              100  80.9  58.3  15.6
3  Kansas St.         100  60.0  11.8   6.5
6  Texas A&M         85.6  38.3   6.5   3.3
4  Oklahoma           100  58.4  21.0   3.1
5  Baylor            80.1  38.0  12.8   1.7
9  Oklahoma St.      64.3  14.2   6.0   0.7
7  Nebraska          56.2   4.7   1.7   0.7
10 Missouri          43.8   2.9   0.9   0.3
8  Texas Tech        35.7   4.9   1.4   0.09
12 Colorado          19.9   3.6   0.4   0.02
11 Iowa St.          14.4   1.7   0.1   0.01

Format: All games at the Sprint Center, Kansas City, March 13-16.
Most likely championship matchup: Texas vs. Kansas (46%)

Kansas and Texas both have hopes for a number-one seed come Sunday, and it appears each would need a tournament title to get it. Of course, the title game will end moments before the brackets are announced, so if Tennessee happens to win the SEC title the day before, it's possible that the committee won't wait to see the outcome of the Big 12 title game. While Texas Tech's chances of even getting to the final are really slim, last week Pat Knight one-upped me by announcing they were zero.

Atlantic Coast

                     Qtrs Semis Final  Champ
1  UNC                100  86.9  72.2  41.6
2  Duke               100  87.4  63.5  38.0
3  Clemson            100  75.8  28.3  12.2
4  Va. Tech           100  56.4  13.0   3.2
5  Miami FL          73.1  36.4   8.4   2.0
6  Maryland          65.4  18.3   3.7   0.9
9  Florida St.       53.7   7.5   3.3   0.7
7  Georgia Tech      55.6   7.6   2.4   0.5
8  Wake Forest       46.3   5.7   2.3   0.4
10 Virginia          44.4   5.0   1.4   0.3
11 Boston College    34.6   5.9   0.7   0.1
12 NC State          26.9   7.2   0.8   0.09

Format: All games at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, March 13-16.
Most likely championship matchup: UNC vs. Duke (46%)

The midsection of the ACC has as much to prove as any other conference, with most projections only admitting Miami to the NCAA Tournament in addition to the three locks at the top of the conference. The chance of a team other than those four getting to the final game is only about 25%. Thursday should be interesting, but the games get more predictable from Friday onward.

Ken Pomeroy is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Ken by clicking here or click here to see Ken's other articles.

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