The 2024 NCAA Champion Will be from One of These Conferences

I need to update the Championship DNA page.  I’ve updated – nay, upgraded – the conference criteria.  It’s no surprise that the NCAA champs come from the best conferences, but it’s not just the Power 6.

In every tournament, for the past 20, the NCAA Tournament champion has come from a conference whose rating is above a certain threshold.

As you can see, the threshold is set by virtue of Connecticut winning from the Big East in 2004.  2023’s Big East was a smidge better, but still barely over the mark.  Only 6 of the last 20 champs came from the strongest conferences for their respective years:

  • 2005 North Carolina
  • 2008 Kansas
  • 2009 North Carolina
  • 2010 Duke
  • 2019 Virginia
  • 2022 Kansas

Which Conferences Qualify in 2024?

This year, five conferences qualify – one more than last year.  Good job to the ACC rebounding from an all-time low rating to get back above the threshold – barely.  The five:

  • Big 12
  • Big 10
  • SEC
  • Big East
  • ACC

Which Conferences are Just Short of the Mark?

Bad news for Arizona fans.  The PAC 12 missed the mark – just barely – for the third straight year.

The Mountain West had a great season – nearly as good as last season – but still falls a bit short of the threshold.

Bottom Line for Your Bracket

Pick a champ from one of the 5 best conferences, which really includes all of the obvious contenders besides Arizona.  The other Champ DNA criteria will help narrow the list of contenders down considerably, so stay tuned for that.

Conference strength really only matters for picking the champ.  Plenty of teams from conferences that don’t meet the threshold have made deep runs – even all the way to the championship game.