College Basketball Conference Power Rankings: Is the Big East the Best?

James Evens@JamesEvensCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2012

College Basketball Conference Power Rankings: Is the Big East the Best?

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    College basketball season is in full swing, and every season, there seems to always be a debate on who has the best conference in the game.

    Each conference has something special about it and has a certain type of play that makes them unique. 

    For example, the Big East is known for having a lot of NBA talent, and the Big Ten is known for power basketball with a lot of focus on defense and team play.

    Although it's a difficult task, here are my power rankings of the best conferences in college basketball. 

Best Non-Major Conference in the Nation: Mountain West

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    For right now, the Mountain West wins this title. With two ranked teams amongst it in UNLV and San Diego State, it makes this one an easy decision.

    This season, the Mountain West had a good run against top 25 squads, going 5-4 on the season, one of the few conferences in the country with a winning percentage against ranked opponents. 

    The Mountain West kind of runs away with this one, but the A10 could possibly close the gap. 

6. Pac-12

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    The Pac-12 is not very good this season; in fact, they are just awful. 

    There is not really a team that has an automatic lock to win this conference, and if there isn't some serious improvement made, or a fluke in the tournament, it looks like this could be a one-team conference in the tournament. 

    Unless there is drastic change, which is doubtful, the Pac-12 will remain on the bottom of this list for the rest of the season. 

5. SEC

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    The SEC has one team that really sticks out this season, and that is Kentucky. Although teams like Alabama and Vanderbilt will make some noise in the tournament, top to bottom, this conference isn't so great. 

    They are only 11-23 against Top 25 teams this season, and that just hurts them bad when it comes to ranking the conferences.

    The top of this conference is decent, and with the lead of Kentucky, they could very well get a Final Four team out of it this year, but the lack of depth within the middle of the conference is what really hurts the SEC when it comes to ranking. 

4. Big 12

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    The Big 12 is 10-21 against AP top 25 teams this season, but is a conference with two powerhouses this season in it that both have a great shot at making the Elite Eight.

    With Baylor and Kansas on top of this conference, it is hard to overlook the Big 12, but looking farther down the conference, it just isn't very strong this year.

    Texas and Oklahoma being down this season really hurts the Big 12.

    Texas Tech not winning a conference game yet also puts a serious hamper on this conference and shows the lack of depth.  

    This is a rebuilding year of sorts for this conference, and surely, they will be back and strong before we know it, but this season, they are middle of the road. 

3. ACC

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    Although they haven't had tremendous success against top-25 programs this season, going 6-16, this conference is once again top-heavy. With only four teams winning against a top-25 opponent, it puts a serious hamper on this conference. 

    Overall, however, I think this conference is better than the Big 12 when looking from top to bottom.

    With Duke and UNC both having strong seasons, it's easy to see why. 

    The ACC only has one team with a losing record and has the ability to compete, even at the bottom of the conference. 

    Once again, the ACC is a top-three conference. 

2. Big East

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    The Big East is second right now. Although they have the No. 1 team in the land in Syracuse, this conference is not as good as it was in years past.

    Pittsburgh's downfall was a huge loss to this conference, as they were highly rated coming into the season, but just have not lived up to expectations. 

    The Big East is 22-36 against ranked opponents this season, something that is a vast improvement from the other on this list so far.

    Overall, the Big East is very good, with Syracuse on top of the standings, and teams such as UConn and Marquette.

    With such a big conference, it's impressive that the Big East can be this competitive, but once again, it doesn't disspoint.  

1. Big Ten

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    The Big Ten has made the top of this list because of the parity within the conference this season. Everyone is beating everyone, and the Big Ten is really beating itself up on the road this season.

    It's hard to win wherever you go. Just look at Indiana losing on the road to a Nebraska team that isn't that great. Another example is Iowa, who beat Wisconsin at the Kohl Center earlier this season.

    The Big Ten is just good top to bottom, and every team has a shot to win every night. 

    Out of 12 teams, the Big Ten is looking at getting seven or eight bids this season due to the depth of this conference.

    They are 19-29 against ranked teams this season, with every team but Purdue, Wisconsin and Penn State beating at least one ranked team.

    This has been one of the most exciting years in recent memory in the Big Ten, and unlike some of the other conferences, the conference race doesn't even have a favorite yet.