Picking a Favorite and a Dark Horse in Each Major Basketball Conference

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Picking a Favorite and a Dark Horse in Each Major Basketball Conference
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Big Ten figures to be a scamble.

Conference play is about to get underway, and nonconference results have helped established the likely title contenders and possible surprise teams in the major conferences.

Based on their play through Christmas and the teams' conference schedules, we picked the title contenders from those conferences, a favorite to win the conference title and a possible dark-horse team. The dark horse is a team that is not among the presumed favorites but seems capable of challenging for the conference championship if everything falls into place.

The 11 conferences deemed to be the major conferences for our purposes are the top 11 conferences in the RPI rankings. They are also the conferences that frequently get more than one team into the NCAA tournament.

The conferences are listed in reverse order of their perceived strength, with the top conference presented last.

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