Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Is the Big Ten the best?

The Big Ten is pretty widely regarded as the best conference in the nation this season and rightly so. The Big Ten has 3 top 10 teams that can win a national championship in MI, IN, and MSU. There are another 3 teams that are tourney locks and could make a deep tourney run in UW, OSU, and Minn. There are 2 more bubble teams in Iowa and IL, and Purdue and Northwestern are hardly pushovers. 5 teams are currently ranked in the top 25, and 7 teams have been ranked during the year. Kenpom currently has the top 6 teams all ranked in the his top 14, and Iowa and IL are in the top 30. Solid resume for a conference. Most of college basketball can't even get close in any regard to the Big Ten, except the Big East.

The Big East has a pretty good argument of their own, but I don't hear many people talking them up. The Big East will probably get 8 teams into the tourney, and would probably have 9 in UConn were eligible this year. There are 2 top end championship contenders in Louisville, and Cuse. There are currently 6 teams ranked in the top 25, and Kenpom has 6 Big East teams in his top 25.

Maybe it's not enough for them to win the argument they are the best, but they should at least be in the conversation.

1 comment:

  1. Conference strength is always an interesting debate. If one conference has three great teams and then five okay teams, is that better than another conference that has eight really good teams but no great ones? And how do you account for the bottom of the league? If a league has just one stinker and another has three terrible teams, does that even matter? It's hard to say—which is why this is usually such an enduring debate. The one place where there is no debate, of course, is college football, where the SEC has won every title since God knows when. That kind of settles it.

    But that reminds me of kind a disturbing fact. When is the last time the Big Ten won the NCAA championship in basketball? You have to go all the way back to 2000, when MSU won it after sneaking past the Badgers in the national semifinals. It has been 13 years! Just as remarkably, that was the Big Ten's first title since 1989 (Michigan). So since 1990 the Big Ten has one just one lousy title in 23 years.

    As you mention, Indiana, MSU, and Michigan are all legitimate title contenders this year. Hopefully they'll all make the Final Four and then two Big Ten teams will play for the title.