Regular Season and Conference Tourney Champions, since 2000

Thesis: Regular season conference titles are far more valuable than conference tournament titles at predicting success. In fact, winning the conference tournament, especially without a regular season title, actually seems to hurt.

—Of the 60 Final Four teams since 2000, 17 (29 percent) won both the regular season and conference tournament titles, 15 (25.4 percent) won neither title, 20 (33.3 percent) won only the regular season title, and only seven (11.9 percent) won just the conference tournament.

—Of the 30 teams to make the title game since 2000, 22 have won their regular-season conference championship, for a solid 73.3 percent.

—Just 13 of the 29 (the Pac-12 had no conference championship in 2000) won the conference tournament title — 45 percent.

—Eleven of the 29 won both titles, 11 won just the regular-season title, and only three won just the conference tournament title. Three teams made the championship game in that time span without winning at least one of the two titles—all in the last three years.

Conclusion: In terms of making the championship game, winning neither the conference regular season or tournament is just as valuable as winning only the tournament. In terms of making the Final Four, twice as many teams who win neither title make it as teams who won only the conference tournament. When picking your brackets, avoid trendy conference tournament titleists.

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