The 2013 college basketball regular season was all about the Big Ten conference. It began the season with three teams in the top five of the AP Top 25. Six different Big Ten teams were ranked in the top 10 during the regular seasons. And it now has seven teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
The Big East may have more teams in the Tournament, but the quality of teams in the Big Ten is better than any other conference. Here are the reasons that the Big Ten teams will continue their dominance on the rest of the country.
The Big Ten has more top-end talent than any other conference in the country. Of the 15 players on the three Sporting News All-American teams, the Big Ten has four.
Trey Burke is the top point guard in the country and is in contention for several national player of the year awards. Indiana has Victor Oladipo, one of the best defenders in the country, and Cody Zeller, an elite big man. Ohio State won the Big Ten Tournament, because it had Deshaun Thomas, the leading scorer in the conference.
Having an elite player gives a team the chance to win any game. Connecticut won the 2011 National Championship, because it had Kemba Walker, the best player in the nation that spring.
Great coaching has been a staple in the Big Ten for years. The conference has some of the most successful coaches in the country.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo is simply one of the elite coaches in college basketball. His teams have made the NCAA Tournament the past 15 seasons, and he has made the Final Four five times during that span.
Ohio State's Thad Matta has made the Tournament in seven of his nine seasons with the team. He led the Buckeyes to a Final Four appearance last season and to the championship game in 2007.
Bo Ryan has led Wisconsin to the NCAA Tournament in each of his 12 seasons with the team. In his first 11 appearances, Wisconsin has only had a first-round exit once.
Strength of Schedule
Big Ten teams will be successful in the NCAA Tournament, because they won't be playing each other. Conference play was brutal in the Big Ten with so many excellent teams. The tough competition will help the Big Ten teams in the Tournament.
The Big Ten was so tough this season that seven of its 12 teams have a strength of schedule ranked in the top 15 nationally. Six of those teams are in the Tournament, with Michigan being the only team missing.
The Big Ten will have three teams in the Elite Eight. Indiana is one of the favorites to win the entire Tournament. Ohio State is in the weakest region on the bracket with arguably the weakest No. 3 seed.
Michigan State can always be counted on to play well in the Tournament, although they have to get by Duke. And Michigan turns the ball over less than any other team in the country, yet its potential one-four matchup would be against a Kansas team that ranks 210 in turnovers.
Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota will all be tough outs as well. Expect to see several Big Ten teams making deep runs this March.