If you ask most college basketball fans they'll tell you how far you go in the NCAAs is more important. Conference titles are nice, winning your tournament is nicer, but a run in the tournament is king to most college basketball fans.
I'm iffy on this... I think regular season conference titles mean a lot. Conference tourneys are really for those on the bubble to play their way in and I don't hold them in high regard. A deep run in the NCAA tournament can validate a season... or invalidate it by exiting stage left the first weekend.
Relating to Alabama, do we weigh the Elite 8 run in 2004 heavier than winning the regular season SEC title in 2002? I go back and forth on this... on one hand a tournament run is national exposure, but a regular season title is more indictative of a body of work (season summary).
In the end I lean towards how you look in the NCAA tourney. I know it's not fair to judge a team's season by a weekend, but it sort of gives us an indication of how tough a conference is.