Comparing NCAA Tournament ATS records between the six best conferences, we find that four are close to or below the 50% mark since 2013 while the Big East has done fairly well against the number, especially Xavier and Butler. Let’s look at ATS records over the L13 years in the Big Dance for the teams that made the brackets this time.
Big East Gets Least Press, Has Stellar Big Dance ATS Mark
If there’s a Power Five for the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), then we can simply add the Big East and make a Power Six in Men’s Division I competition, right? Until the next realignment? The 2017 NCAA Tournament tipped off Tuesday with the First Four in Dayton. There will be 67 games in all, so let’s take a quick look at how the schools in, or formerly in, these six conferences -- the ACC, Big East, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 -- have done ATS in the Big Dance since 2003, as well as the conferences themselves overall.
ACC NCAA Tournament ATS (Since 2003)
North Carolina 24-17-1
Notre Dame 5-9
Wake Forest 1-7
Virginia Tech 0-2
Florida State 0-4
ACC ATS Since 2003: 121-135-5, 47.3%
Microanalysis: In terms of ACC teams in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, since 2003, North Carolina (58.5%) has been the best money-maker while Florida State (+3501 to win NCAA Championship, BookMaker), Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are a combined 1-13 ATS.
Big East NCAA Tournament ATS (Since 2003)
West Virginia* 14-6-1
Notre Dame* 5-9
Virginia Tech* 0-2
*Not in conference any longer.
Big East ATS Since 2003: 159-139-5, 53.4%
Microanalysis: A semblance of its old self, the Big East still boasts the team with the best (big sample size) Big Dance ATS Record in Xavier at 21-4-1 (84%), perennial March Madness Bracket Buster Butler (75/1 to win National Championship, Heritage) and defending national champion Villanova (9/1, 5Dimes). So including former Big Easters West Virginia (14-6-1 ATS), this conference has proven to be the best to bet.
SEC NCAA Tournament ATS (Since 2003)
South Carolina 0-1
SEC ATS Since 2003: 79-66-5, 54.5%
Microanalysis: The SEC is down some this year, but still has five teams in The Big Dance, and with Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo, Kentucky is obviously the one to watch. Nobody has more bids (56) to the Tourney than the SEC Tournament-winning Wildcats (8/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). Florida (+3801, JustBet) has beat the spread by an average of 3.0 ppg in its 29 NCAA Tournament games L13 years.
Big Ten NCAA Tournament ATS (Since 2003)
Michigan State 22-16-1
*Includes ACC record.
Big Ten ATS Since 2003: 89-90-4, 49.7%
Microanalysis: Teams from Michigan have gone 31-21-1 ATS in the Big Dance since 2013, and although it's a perceived down year for the Big Ten, Purdue (33/1, BetOnline) may be able to win a couple of games and Northwestern (TBS, 4:30 p.m. EST; PK -105 vs. Vanderbilt on Thursday in West Regional, BetOnline) finally made the tourney for the first time. But Round 1 may send most of the seven Big Ten schools home.
Big 12 NCAA Tournament ATS (Since 2003)
West Virginia* 14-6-1
Iowa State 8-5
Kansas State 4-5-1
Oklahoma State 6-8
*Includes Big East record.
Big 12 ATS Since 2003: 92-92-2, 50%
Microanalysis: The Big 12 has six teams in the NCAA Tournament with Frank Mason III, Josh Jackson and Kansas (10/1, BetOnline) and Iowa State the strongest with its Sunflower State rivals Kansas State having an 11-11 play-in game against Wake Forest Tuesday (truTV, 9:10 p.m. ET; WAKE -1 -105, Heritage).
Pac-12 NCAA Tournament ATS (Since 2003)
Pac-12 ATS Since 2003: 64-63-0, 50.4%
Microanalysis: The Pac-12 has four teams in, including three pretty strong ones in conference tourney winner Arizona (+1550, JustBet), UCLA (+1525, 5Dimes) and Oregon (25/1, 5Dimes). The West Region's No. 2 Wildcats open up March Madness at Vivint Smart Home Arena in SLC against North Dakota Thursday (TBS, 9:50 p.m. EDT, AZ -17 Intertops) while Lonzo Ball and the Bruins face the South Region's No. 14 seed and MAC Tournament winner Kent State at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento Friday (truTV, 9:57 p.m. EDT; UCLA -17½, BetOnline). The last Pac-12 team to win it all? Arizona in 1997.
NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST-ROUND PICK: Butler -11 -108 (Pinnacle)