Louisville's win over Michigan gave the Big East the tiebreaker win as best conference of 2013, even as the Big Ten won our title for best NCAA tournament conference.
The Big Ten beat Big East in NCAA tournament wins, 14 to 13, by dominating the first two rounds. The Big Ten advanced 6 teams into the Round of 32 and 4 teams into the Sweet Sixteen. Attrition set in with only 2 teams making the Elite Eight, but Michigan carried the conference into the Final Four and the championship game. Beating Big East foe Syracuse was all they had to do to seal the deal for the Big Ten. After the Big East at #2, no other conference was close.
2013 Best NCAA Tournament Performance by Conference:
Key Round of 32 Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 Title Game Champion
Big Ten ++++++++6+++++++++++++++4++++++++2+++1+x1x
Big East ++++3 +++++++3++++++++3+++++++2+++1xx1xx
Atl 10 +++++++5++++++++1+
MVC ++2 +++1++1++1+
SEC + 2 +++1++1+
Big 12 + 2 +++1+
Atl Sun +1++1+
Mtn West ++2 ++
Michigan's win over Syracuse set up a winner-take-all battle for Best Conference of the 2013 season. Counting NCAA bids as well as NIT bids and points, the Big East pulled into a tie with the Big Ten as a result of Louisville's win, and the tie goes to the conference with the National Title under its belt.
It was close and down to the wire. The Big East placed one more team into the Big Dance, but the Big Ten's performance through the Sweet Sixteen gave them a big lead as only three Big East teams won their first tourney game. But those three went as far as they possibly could up to the Final Four, as Syracuse knocked off Marquette giving the Big East two in the Final Four.
Both conferences also scored five NIT "points"; if Iowa had won the NIT final, it would have tilted the title in our points system to the Big Ten, but they fell to Baylor.
Again, no other conference was close. The ACC's strong NIT performance and Duke's Elite Eight run gave it the edge over the Pac-12, who placed two teams in the Sweet Sixteen. The Atlantic 10 went 5-0 into the Round of 32 but fizzled thereafter. The Big 12 and SEC brought up the rear of the Big Six conferences.
Best Conference for 2012-2013 season:
NIT pts NCAA bids Round/32 Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 Title Game Champ
Big East ++5+++++++++8+++++++++++3 ++++3+++++3++++2xx1x1
Big Ten ++5 ++++++++7+++++++++++6++++++++++4+++++2++1x1
Atl 10 +3++++++5++++++++5++++++1
Big 12 ++ 6 ++++++5+++++ 2++1
SEC ++5+++++3+++ 2++1+1
Mtn West ++++5++++++2+
Atl Sun +2+1+1+1
Amer East +2+1X
Sun Belt +2+X
Big West 1+1X
Big Sky +1X
Ohio Vall +1X
Big South 11X
The Missouri Valley and Mountain West were the 2nd and 3rd best mid-majors, the former due mostly to Wichita State's Final Four run, the latter for placing five teams in the tournament.