Big Ten, Big East Among Top College Basketball Conferences This Season
As of Monday, 21 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 are teams in a power conference.
These power conferences dominate the landscape of college basketball every season, and this year is obviously no different.
No. 1 Indiana and No. 3 Michigan represent the Big Ten, so does that make it the best conference in the nation? Not necessarily.
Surely, the amount of teams from a conference in the Top 25 matter, but to be seriously considered the best power conference it has to be deep from bottom to top.
That’s the real deciding factor.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Despite having No. 2 Florida and No. 21 Missouri, the SEC also has four teams with a losing overall record.
The teams at the bottom of the conference are doormats to the teams at the top and do not really add much competition.
Kentucky is having a down year, for their standards, and it is really hurting the SEC.
This is what was talked about in the intro; to be considered one of the best conferences, the teams at the bottom need to be competitive.
Is Mississippi State really going to take down Florida? I don’t think so.
5. Big 12
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
The big players in this conference are No. 5 Kansas, No. 13 Kansas State and No. 22 Oklahoma State.
With 30 percent of teams in the AP Top 25, this may come as a surprise to many.
Remember how I was talking about depth?
There is no legitimate depth in the Big 12. Four teams at the bottom of the standings have either an even or losing record.
The bottom teams offer no real threat to the top teams, thus the conference cannot be considered any higher on this list.
TCU was a pretender with a 9-4 record entering the conference schedule. In Big 12 play, the Horned Frogs are 0-8 and don’t offer any competition to a higher team.
William Mancebo/Getty Images
This is a return year for the Pac-12. In 2012, Washington won the Pac-12 regular season, but did not qualify for the NCAA tournament.
This year is much different, as teams are competitive. Only two teams in the conference hold a losing record (USC and Utah).
The only thing that really hurts the Pac-12 is only having two teams in the AP Top 25 in No. 7 Arizona and No. 19 Oregon.
The next two teams in the standings, Arizona State and UCLA, are both in a good position heading into tournament crunch time.
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images
No. 4 Duke and No. 8 Miami (FL) represent the ACC in the rankings, and having two Top 10 teams is huge in this ranking system.
What puts them above the other conferences is how deep it is.
There are two teams with a losing record, but they’re flirting with .500 at 10-11.
Probably the most important thing to note is the competitiveness of the middle-of-the-pack teams. Virginia, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Maryland are all great teams that can offer serious competition.
To no fault of its own, the ACC comes in at third only because of how good the other two conferences are.
2. Big East
Nate Shron/Getty Images
Seven of the 15 teams in the Big East are ranked in the Top 25.
The depth of the conference is incredible. Villanova upset then-No.5 Louisville and No. 3 Syracuse in one week.
Any team can truly give No. 9 Syracuse competition and no conference game is an easy win. Especially if that game is on the road.
DePaul and South Florida are the only teams holding the Big East back from being the best conference in the nation. The teams hold losing records and only have one win in conference play.
It was really close, but no team in the Big East are ranked in the Top Five in the country; a big reason it isn’t the best.
1. Big Ten
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
I hinted at this in the intro, but the Big Ten is the only conference with two teams ranked in the Top Five in the country with No. 1 Indiana and No. 3 Michigan.
The conference really emerged this season as one of the best. As the season progressed, the conference teams solidified themselves as some of the best in the country.
Five teams in the 12-team conference are ranked in the Top 25, and with the exception of Penn State, all the teams in the conference are competitive.
Wisconsin and Illinois both have 15 wins and Iowa has 14.
No other conference is better, and every game that involves Big Ten teams is exciting to watch.