I was writing a history of the BTT and it got me thinking about conference tournaments in general. When the BTT started, there was a lot of discussion about whether it was necessary. Let's see if we can find out.
Here are some pros and cons of conference tournaments:
Conference tournament +
- Exposure: Nationally televised games during a week in which college basketball is highlighted.
- NCAA tourney prep: Playing on neutral courts and on short rest can help get a team ready the week before the big dance.
- Exciting do or die moments: For the teams that have no chance to get an at-large bid, every game is a fight to extend the season.
Conference tournament -
- Lessens the importance of the regular season: If a team can lose every game during the year and then run off a few games and get into the NCAAs, the regular season games become less meaningful.
- It makes the NCAA tournament worse: A team with a losing record in a bad conference can get hot and win the tournament. That doesn't make them a better team than a bubble team or their conference champion that they displace in the tournament. It brings the overall level of teams in the tournament down just a little bit.
- Some teams don't seem to care: It seems like some teams that have their seeds nearly locked in place don't care about their results in the conference tournaments. Losing earlier in the conf. tourneys gives them more rest before the NCAAs.
I was perfectly happy before the Big Ten had a tournament. I never liked the small school conference tournaments, since teams got in that didn't deserve to based on the regular season. Now that it has been around so long, I am growing to like it. And with the extra teams that were added to the tournament, bad teams stealing bids is not as a big of a deal.
What does everyone else think? Do you like the Big Ten Tournament? Are conference tournaments in general a good thing?