Like the SEC and Big Ten are in football, the SEC and the Big 12 are in basketball

Alabama Basketball, Kansas, Houston and UConn are the early favorites for college basketball's next Final Four.
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Not a day passes without it being said or written that the SEC and the Big Ten dominate the college football world. Discussed less often but close to being equally true is that the SEC and the Big 12 dominate the college basketball world.

UConn has been the biggest team story in college basketball over the last two seasons. Kansas and the Alabama Crimson Tide are getting more attention than UConn this offseason. Next March and early April, college basketball fans can expect the Big 12 and SEC NCAA Tournament teams to outnumber those of any other conference.

Many college basketball experts agree the gap between the SEC and the Big 12, and the rest of college basketball is growing. This week ESPN's Dick Vitale projected a 2025 March Madness Sweet Sixteen. Ranking the teams 1 - 16, Vitale included five teams from the SEC and five from the Big 12. The ACC and the Big East had two teams each. Vitale's top 16 also included one Big Ten team and Gonzaga from the WCC.

Vitale's list is fairly consistent with the early Bracketology efforts by Joe Lunardi. Lunardi currently projects the SEC to have 10 NCAA Tournament teams; with the Big 12 and the Big Ten gaining nine each.

Check out Vitale's Early Sweet Sixteen below, along with the NCAA Tournament seed assigned to each by Joe Lunardi.

  • 1) Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12); 1-seed by Lunardi
  • 2) Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC); 1-seed by Lunardi
  • 3) UConn Huskies (Big East); 1-seed by Lunardi
  • 4) Houston Cougars (Big 12); 1-seed by Lunardi
  • 5) Iowa State Cyclones (Big 12); 2-seed by Lunardi
  • 6) North Carolina Tar Heels (ACC); 3-seed by Lunardi
  • 7) Baylor Bears (Big 12); 3-seed by Lunardi
  • 8) Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCC); 2-seed by Lunardi
  • 9) Duke Blue Devils (ACC); 2-seed by Lunardi
  • 10) Auburn Tigers (SEC); 2-seed by Lunardi
  • 11) Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten); 4-seed by Lunardi
  • 12) Arizona Wildcats (Big 12); 3-seed by Lunardi
  • 13) Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC); 5-seed by Lunardi
  • 14) Texas A&M Aggies (SEC); 6-seed by Lunardi
  • 15) Kentucky Wildcats (SEC); 6-seed by Lunardi
  • 16) St. John's Red Storm (Big East); 7-seed by Lunardi

There is considerable power from the Big 12 in Vitale's top eight teams. Alabama Basketball is carrying lots of water for the SEC, with the other four SEC teams at No. 10 and below.

The season may play out differently, but until then the SEC and the Big 12 are college basketball's big dogs.