« on: May 02, 2015, 10:16:06 am »
Here's a serious question. And before you misunderstand the direction I'm going here, I'm not comparing the WIAC to the CCIW and trying to claim one league is better than the other.
I know this board has been boasting (and for good reason) about 3 different teams in the last four Final 4s. Yet they've lost in the semis in three of them. The WIAC on the other hand, has had 2 dominant teams for the last 10+ years.
Admittedly, I'm envious with the fact that the CCIW has so much parity with the likes of Augie, IWU, Wheaton, NCC, Carthage and Elmhurst (my apologies to Millikin and Sager's North Park). I'm actually a little disappointed in the WIAC since Stevens Point and Whitewater have only had sporadic challenges from the likes of Platteville and River Falls recently. I almost feel the WIAC has fallen into that MIAA (Hope and Calvin), NESCAC (Amherst and Williams) category; where it's generally a 2-team top-heavy league.
Better to have parity or two dominant teams winning championships?
I'm not sure really what's "better", but if the conversation is about determining the "best conference" (and I'm not sure if that is where you are going here or not) then I think it comes down to 1) parity, and 2) strength at the top. I think both have to be in place.
The "top conference" in Division III men's basketball seems to rotate between a small number of leagues. Massey had the CCIW as #1 in 2014-15 - http://www.masseyratings.com/rate.php?s=cb2015&sub=11620&c=1 - and I think subjectively most would arrive at that same conclusion. The CCIW had a nice balance of Top 25-caliber teams (Augustana, IWU, Elmhurst, North Central) and parity. As to the latter, the damage done by the bottom 4 on the top 4 was pretty impressive.
Here is a a little snapshot of the CCIW and WIAC over the last 5 years:
(records are for regular season conference games only)
CCIW (last 5 years, 2010-11 through 2014-15)
1. Illinois Wesleyan 54-16 (.771) -- 2 CCIW titles/5 NCAA appear./12 NCAA wins/2 Final Four
2. North Central 49-21 (.700) -- 2 CCIW titles/2 NCAA appear./6 NCAA wins/1 Final Four
3. Augustana 48-22 (.686) -- 2 CCIW titles/3 NCAA appear./8 NCAA wins/1 Final Four
4. Wheaton 44-26 (.629) -- 3 NCAA appear./5 NCAA wins
5. Carthage 36-34 (.514)
6. Elmhurst 26-44 (.371) -- 1 NCAA appear./1 NCAA win
7. North Park 14-56 (.200)
8. Millikin 9-61 (.129)
WIAC (last 5 years, 2010-11 through 2014-15)
1. UW-Stevens Point 70-10 (.875) -- 4 WIAC titles/5 NCAA appear./11 NCAA wins/1 Final Four/1 national champ
2. UW-Whitewater 64-16 (.800) -- 2 WIAC titles/4 NCAA appear./13 NCAA wins/2 Final Four/2 national champs
3. UW-Platteville 46-34 (.575)
4. UW-La Crosse 44-36 (.550)
5. UW-River Falls 31-49 (.388) -- 2 NCAA appear./0 NCAA wins
6. UW-Stout 26-54 (.325)
7. UW-Superior 24-56 (.300)
8. UW-Eau Claire 23-57 (.288)
9. UW-Oshkosh 22-58 (.275)