Pac-12 basketball schools know that November results really matter

Casual college basketball watchers focus on the sport after the NFL season ends. Late February and the on ramp to March Madness are the only times a lot of people dive into college hoops.

College basketball analysts know that the whole season counts in terms of NCAA Tournament resumes and at-large bids. The Pac-12 has to start the season on a strong note if it wants to maximize its number of tickets to the Big Dance.

Jon Wilner of the Wilner Hotline had more data:

“There is a direct correlation between non-conference results and Selection Sunday success,” Wilner wrote. “Win early, and the multiplier effect will generate lofty NET rankings and set the conference on course for the desired outcome in March. But when the Pac-12’s non-conference winning percentage is below 70 percent, the NCAA bid total is below four.

“Consider the data:

2012: 61.1 percent/two bids

2013: 74.8 percent/five bids

2014: 78.3 percent/six bids

2015: 72.5 percent/four bids

2016: 78.0 percent/seven bids

2017: 72.2 percent/four bids

2018: 69.8 percent/three bids

2019: 61.3 percent/three bids

2020: 73.9 percent/canceled

2021: 74.0 percent/five bids

2022: 66.7 percent/three bids

The first six weeks matter more than you might think.”

Wilner is right. This is why USC’s loss to Florida Gulf Coast is a bad sign. The Trojans badly need to beat Vermont and then get on a roll at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament later this month.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire