Auburn'sÂ Tony Barbee is delusional. How else to explain his contention that the SEC is the best basketball league in America? He argues that the national titles won since 1997 confirm his point, but that's all Kentucky and Florida. In the same stretch, Arkansas pretty much collapsed, Vanderbilt has gone nowhere significant, and once you get past those four schools, with Florida being the noveau riche, what does the SEC have to offer? Missouri? The Tigers have been to the Sweet Sixteen four times and Elite Eight three times since the tournament expanded to 64. That's from the Show-Me state! They're not showing much!
Which of these schools would you bet on for the Sweet Sixteen, much less the Final Four? Arkansas, Georgia and LSU have been to the Final Four in the modern era (meaning integrated teams), but has anyone else? (Chad reminds us that Mississippi State made it in 1996).
Do the same exercise with the ACC, the new Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12 and the PAC 12 - take the two best teams out and look at the conference. Is it a better group?
In the ACC, at least up until this year, you'd pull out Duke and UNC. Last year that would've left BC, Clemson, FSU, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest - and that group, even with several programs rebuilding is clearly superior to the SEC. From here on out, with Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pitt and soon Louisville, and there's no comparison whatsoever.
In the Big 12, you could pull Kansas and Baylor and still have a solid conference.
PAC-12? Arizona and, say UCLA. That still leaves Cal, Stanford, Washington, Oregon and Utah, all good programs.
Big Ten? Take out IU and Michigan and you still have Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin.
We understand boosterism but that's like saying that because the ACC has four teams in the Top 25 (five if you count Louisville) that it's comparable to the SEC. Well anyone would tell you that it's not.
As we said, delusional.