Yesterday, we published how many teams from each league reached the Sweet 16 in the 2010s.
The SEC came out on top at 32 appearances. The ACC was second with 29, and the Pac-12 and Big 12 came within five of its mark.
There was a sizable gap until the next conference, the Big East, sitting in fifth with 15 trips. The Big Ten was the final major conference with only 11 second-weekend showings. The AAC was the most successful non-major legaue with seven Sweet 16s. Sixteen conferences in total sent a minimum of one team to the Sweet 16 in the decade.
With that summarized, let’s check out how the attribution to schools can be broken down for each conference:
South Carolina and Tennessee finished as the most frequent SEC schools in the Sweet 16, both accomplishing the feat seven times the 10-year period. Half of the conference made it to the second weekend, and all seven schools appeared more than once.
With the most different schools to reach the second weekend and a relative even spread throughout all nine of the programs to get there, the ACC is the most balanced conference, although membership changes certainly played a role in the numbers. Notre Dame went to all 10 Sweet 16s last decade, but only six of them happened while the Fighting Irish played in the ACC. The Irish tied with Duke for the top spot in the league, with Florida State and Louisville knotted for third with four a piece.
The Pac-12 owes Stanford a thank you. The Cardinal reached all the Sweet 16s in the 2010s and carried more than 38 percent of the league’s appearances. Behind Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA tied for second with four each.
If the Pac-12 should thank Stanford, the Big 12 needs to kiss Baylor’s ring. The Lady Bears also made runs to the Sweet 16 each year from 2010-2019, giving them responsibility for almost 42 percent of the Big 12’s production. Texas provided the next-most appearances with four, with Oklahoma following close behind.
Most of the Big East’s Sweet 16 appearances came from schools that are no longer in the conference. Connecticut, Notre Dame and Louisville, which have all joined other leagues since the turn of the decade, accounted for 10 of the league’s 15 second-weekend runs. DePaul has the most Sweet 16s of any current Big East school, although that could change when UConn re-joins the conference after this coming season.
Maryland and Ohio State tied for the most Sweet 16s in the conference at three appearances each, though the Terps had slightly more than half the amount of time as the Buckeyes and most of the conference to get there as one of the newest league members. Only five of the Big Ten’s 14 programs reached the Sweet 16, and the league finished last among the six major conferences.
A total of 23 individual non-power conference teams from 15 different schools made it to the second weekend of an NCAA Tournament in the 2010s, and Connecticut and Gonzaga were by far the most prolific. The Huskies are one of the greatest machine in college basketball history and have been going to Final Fours, let alone Sweet 16s, seemingly forever: getting stuck in the AAC wasn’t going to stop them. The Bulldogs have become the premier program in the WCC and ran to the Sweet 16 in four times in 10 years.