Most people who follow college basketball believe the Atlantic Coast Conference is the nation’s best. Arizona coach Lute Olson isn’t so sure.
And right now, it’s hard to argue against the Pacific-10 Conference, which has four teams - Arizona, UCLA, Stanford and Washington - in the final 16. The ACC has three - North Carolina, Duke and Maryland.
“The fact is, last year, five teams went to the NCAAs, and four made it to the Sweet 16,” Olson said.
This year, Pac-10 teams are 8-0 in the tournament.
“It’s confusing how some teams from other conferences with below-.500 records can actually expect to go to the tournament and yet a team like Washington, if they had gone 10-8 in conference, I guarantee they wouldn’t have been in,” Olson said.
“There’s definitely bias involved in it (the selection process).”
Pac-10 teams have won two of the last three NCAA Tournaments - UCLA in 1995 and Arizona last year. Arizona is 4-0 in the tournament against ACC teams.
Are seniors a dying breed for the nation’s best teams?
Coaches often talk about senior leadership helping win championships, but the four teams in the East Regional have only two seniors each on their rosters.
While Connecticut is believed to be the nation’s youngest team from an age standpoint, North Carolina’s “starting six” average 22 years, 8 months.
When asked about the age of his team Thursday, North Carolina coach Bill Guthridge shot back, “And a 60-year-old coach.”
Big East power
The best record in the Big East in the decade of the ‘90s doesn’t belong to Georgetown or even Syracuse. It’s Connecticut, whose nine-year mark is 222-71.
“If we keep getting to this point, maybe we can get (to a Final Four),” Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. “But really, there is no sure way to get there. It takes good play and good fortune.”
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Today East North Carolina (32-3) vs. Michigan St. (22-7), 4:39 p.m., then Connecticut (31-4) vs. Washington (20-9), 6:59 p.m. West West Virginia (24-8) vs. Utah (27-3), 5 p.m., then Arizona (29-4) vs. Maryland (21-10), 7:25 p.m.