March Madness and Sadness: Pac-12 winning and SEC losing through two days of the NCAA Tournament

The Pac-12 and the Southeastern Conference are experiencing much different NCAA Tournaments.

KJ Simpson’s baseline jumper with 1.7 seconds left — a shot that bounced around the rim several times before falling through — gave Colorado a 102-100 victory against seventh-seeded Florida in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

It also kept the Pac-12 undefeated through five games in the tourney. The SEC, meanwhile, had little to celebrate through two days of March Madness.

The powerhouse league was 1-5 before No. 4 seed Alabama and ninth-seeded Texas A&M won in dominating fashion late Friday.

Still, the Pac-12 was the conference with the most to boast about.

Colorado has two wins, including a victory against Boise State in the First Four on Wednesday. Arizona beat Long Beach State, Washington State edged Drake and Oregon knocked off South Carolina on Thursday.

“So much scrutiny is given to the November games and December games, and that’s just part of it,” said Colorado coach Tad Boyle, whose team lost to Florida State and Colorado State in the first month of the season. "But you can’t lose sight of the fact that you just have to keep concentrating on getting better and better and better.

“Sometimes you can put so much pressure on those games, and maybe as a coach I put too much pressure on them, I don’t know. But I do know this: We kept talking about, ‘Guys, we’ve got to keep getting better,’ and to these guys’ credit, that’s what they did.”

It's the last NCAA Tournament for the current iteration of the Pac-12, which is losing everyone except Oregon State and Washington State. Those two might be the big winners since the conference's revenue from the tourney could end up in their pockets.

The NCAA distributes a portion of its revenue to member conferences based on how schools do in the tournament. Those payments are determined by “units,” which are earned for each game a school plays, not including the national championship.

Each of the 132 units up for grabs in the tournament is worth about $2 million paid out over six years. It amounts to $341,802 per game played. The Pac-12 now has guaranteed itself 10 of those.

The SEC could end making more but not nearly as much as it expected when eight teams made the field — and only Texas A&M a lower seed in the opening round.

But No. 3 seed Kentucky, the sixth-seeded Gamecocks, No. 8 seed Mississippi State all lost Thursday. Florida and fourth-seeded and defending SEC Tournament champion Auburn joined them with early exits Friday. Kentucky was arguably the biggest shocker, losing to little-known Oakland.

No. 2 seed Tennessee was the SEC's only winner Thursday.


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