La Salle’s foray into the Sweet 16 marks the eighth A10 team to reach the second week of the NCAA Tournament over the past ten years. The league began the tournament with high hopes, putting an impressive five teams into the Field of 68. Saint Louis, VCU and Butler were all presented with fairly reasonable chances at reaching the Sweet 16, none delivered. On paper, the Explorers were the least likely Atlantic Ten team to advance to a regional semi-final (La Salle was given just a 4.9% shot by King Basketball Algorithmist Ken Pomeroy), yet after three straight wins they are the last conference team standing.
Just eight A-10 teams in ten years doesn’t provide us with a significant sample size, the Big Ten has four teams advancing to the Sweet 16 just this year alone, but it certainly allows for some further investigation.
I plugged all of the information I could find into my trusty TI-82 graphing calculator and some tangible patterns emerged. The word “revolutionary” is tossed around so carelessly these days that the term has cease to have meaning. Let’s just say that my findings will change the direction of Atlantic Ten basketball for years to come and leave it at that.
(click to enlarge)