The Top NCAA Men's Basketball Conferences: the Case For the Big Ten

Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIDecember 15, 2009

BOISE, ID - MARCH 20:  Guard Trevon Hughes #3 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives with the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Taco Bell Arena on March 20, 2009 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Yes, the ACC is good. Yes, the Big East is still the best conference. But who deserves the number two spot?

The Big Ten. That's right, you heard me.

The Big Ten is the second best conference in college basketball.


Look to the teams in the conference. The Big Ten has perennial tournament teams. Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Purdue are great teams and all have made the tournament the past few years.

This year alone, three Big Ten teams are in the AP Top 25 with four other teams receiving votes. Purdue is currently fourth and is undefeated as of December 15.

Who won the ACC/Big Ten challenge?

That's right. The Big Ten did.

Who beat the infamous Duke Blue Devils?

That's right. Wisconsin did.

The ACC has Duke and North Carolina like usual. But after that, who? Georgia Tech? Please. That's like saying Taylor Battle is going to lead Penn State to the Big Ten championship ALONE.

The players in the Big Ten are great. Out of the top 100 scorers in the country, the Big Ten has two. One of which is Manny Harris. Harris is averaging 22.2 points per game which places him 11th.

The Big Ten has five teams in the top 100 for average points a game. Ohio State (six), Michigan State (16), Illinois (36), Purdue (44), and Minnesota (53).

The overall records as of Dec. 15 are better in the Big Ten than the ACC. Miami has the best record in the ACC at 9-1. North Carolina is 8-2 and Duke is 7-1. The fourth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers have the best record in the Big Ten at 9-0. All the teams are above .500 except Indiana (4-5) and Iowa (3-7).

The ACC has plenty of teams above .500. But there's no way Virginia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami, and Maryland are going to finish high in the AP polls. Not happening.

Also,the ACC schedule thus far has been weak. Miami, who has the best record, has beaten North Carolina Central, Nova Southeast, Tulane, NC-Wilmington, South Carolina, Florida Gulf Coast, USC Upstate, Minnesota (only decent win), and South Carolina State. They lost by one to Boston College. Good luck the rest of the way with the easiest non-conference schedule (NC A&T, Bethune-Cookman, and Pepperdine).

Supposedly the best team is Duke. Let's look at them.

Only one impressive win for the Blue Devils. They beat a very talented UConn team by nine points. They lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge by four. Everyone else they beat is mediocre. Teams like NC-Greensboro and Coastal Carolina have fallen victim to the Blue Devils.

Look to the Big Ten's best. The Purdue Boilermakers have had a tougher schedule. They beat a respectable St. Joe's team by 15. They beat a very talented Tennessee team by one. They beat Wake Forest by 11. They also went on the road to Alabama and won by eight. 

Judge a conference by the way they play and the strength of schedule. Not by their publicity or the way they are perceived.