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Which Conference Could March Madness Winner Come From?

Mark Fordham for Bookies.com

Mark Fordham  | 6 mins

Which Conference Could March Madness Winner Come From?

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March Madness is less than a fortnight away, which means it is the season for college basketball fans and bettors to make some bold college basketball picks. There is no right way to approach these wagers: you could trust your gut, go through March Madness history, look up the season data, etc. In this piece, we'll look at how the strength of a conference might determine the winner of March Madness. 

The first thing we must remember is that a conference with many bids doesn’t guarantee a champion. In the last six years, only once has the conference with the most bids produced a winner: North Carolina (ACC) in 2017. 

A more significant determining factor is the seed. The top seed has won 10 of the past 13 championships. Number-one seeds have won 10 of the past 13 championships, and no other seed has more than one title in that span. However, a conference with multiple number-one seeds has produced a finalist in the last three seasons, with two of them winning March Madness in the previous two seasons. 

Let’s now look at some of the conferences that have done well historically and the teams representing them this season that could be worth wagering on at college basketball betting sites.

Big East 

The Big East has produced the No. 1 seeds seven times and a March Madness winner on four occasions since 2011. This season, Marquette has been the top team in the Big East with a 24-6 record, but there are five programs in the league with a better ranking than Marquette as things stand. 

UConn had started the season on fire but had a dip midseason with three straight losses. They’ve done better since but are still a bit inconsistent. Other March Madness contenders worth considering on US betting apps include Xavier, Providence and Creighton. All of them are in the Top 25 rankings currently but have lost over seven games this season. 

The Big East has some strong teams, as always, but none of them look like they’ll become champions at the end of March Madness this time around.

ACC 

No conference has produced more top seeds since 2011 than the ACC. They’ve had 11 during this period. They’ve also had three winners in that time, but it doesn’t look like they’ve got a March Madness contender this time. Miami and Virginia have got the best win-loss records this season – the former with a 23-6 record and the latter with a 22-6 record. 

However, there are at least 12 teams with a better ranking than Virginia and 15 teams with a better ranking than Miami. It doesn’t look like a team from the ACC will go deep into March Madness, so it may be best to fade those programs when making wagers at USA sports betting sites.

Big Ten 

The Big Ten has produced four top seeds and eight number-two seeds since 2011, but it has been 20 years since the conference produced an NCAA champion. That could all change this season because Purdue has been outstanding. The team also has a superstar in Zach Edey. 

The big man has blown everyone away with his two-way performances. He has averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game to be a must-have in college basketball prop bets. The Big Ten doesn’t really have another heavy hitter. Michigan, Maryland and Northwestern have shown some promise at different stages this season, but they don’t look like championship material. If someone’s going to go all the way from the Big Ten, it has got to be Purdue. 

Big 12

The Big 12 has produced five top seeds and five second seeds since 2011 and is home to the last two champions, the Kansas Jayhawks and Baylor Bears. Those two, however, are the only teams to have won March Madness in the conference’s history. Kansas has also been the main representative of the Big 12 all these years, with six Final Four appearances since the conference’s inception in 1996, but the conference is as strong as ever this season. 

Kansas State Wildcats and Texas are currently in the Top 25 alongside Kansas and Baylor. None of them have lost over eight games, which is also a big positive. However, when it comes to championship contention, none of them have enough in the tank. 

The Kansas Jayhawks are certainly capable of winning the championship once again and could be a solid wager at sportsbooks. They’ve retained the services of Jalen Wilson, who has put in another strong season. He has averaged 19.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this season. 

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SEC 

The SEC hasn’t produced as many bids as some of the conferences mentioned in this piece but has produced three top seeds and four No. 2 seeds since 2011. This season, they’ve got some strong contenders for the March Madness title with Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Kentucky all in the Top 25.

Alabama has a 26-4 record this season and will certainly be in contention for the title. It is the third favorite for glory this season with most betting sites. Florida and Kentucky have been consistent forces for the last few seasons but have dropped off a little this season. 

American Athletic

The American Athletic has produced just one top-two seed since 2014, but it is home to the in-form team in the NCAA regular season. The Houston Cougars have lost just two matches all season and look set to hold onto that record heading into March Madness. 

They’ll face sterner opposition in March Madness, but that shouldn’t detract from their accomplishments this season. If they win the championship, they’ll question the very premise of this piece, but until they do, there might be some wisdom in betting on teams from a traditionally strong conference. 

About the Author

Mark Fordham for Bookies.com
Mark Fordham
Mark spent over a decade as a sports reporter and editor with Goal.com and Bleacher Report. He is now a Content Editor at Bookies.com covering all manner of sports from the Premier League and cricket to the NBA and NFL.