Friday, March 21 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-03-21 11:28:45 GMT
RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) - This week, Coastal Carolina joins Duke, Virginia, Tennessee and several other big name schools at PNC Arena for a weekend of games as the NCAA Tournament is off and running. TomorrowMore >>
Chants take the floor for a practice in Raleigh before taking on top-seeded Virginia Friday night.More >>
This is the first of a 2-part series looking at some of the best players in the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Part 1 looks at standouts from the Big 6 conferences. Part 2, coming Thursday, will discuss the best of the mid-majors.
(RNN) – The commoners are creeping closer, but basketball's nobles still hold the castle surrounding the NCAA national championship.
Teams from the Big 6 – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac 12 and SEC – have won the last 22 titles. The most recent time a squad outside the major programs walked away from the Big Dance as champions was in 1990, when UNLV won it all.
Last season was a return to dominance for the power schools; only Ohio of the Mid-American Conference and the Atlantic 10's Xavier made it into the second week of play.
That bucked the trend of previous tournaments when mid-majors broke past the gates of the Sweet Sixteen – most notably Butler, which was in the final game two years in a row.
But 2012 was also an outlier in the terms of the talent pool. Many top freshman from 2011 stayed in school another year – most at Big 6 programs – and the incoming class of newbies was one of the strongest in a decade.
With that pool a little more shallow, the Butlers, Gonzagas and New Mexicos have a much better chance of ending that 22-year streak.