NCAAB Most Powerful Conferences
A very eventful season in college basketball is coming to a close. With the #1 spot seemingly cursed, there has been a season full of surprising upsets, stormed courts, and unbelievable finishes. Amidst all of these crazy games, home court advantages and shocking results, this season has been very entertaining. Here is an overview of the nation’s best teams by what I consider the three most powerful conferences in the country.
1) Big Ten
The Big Ten has five teams in the top 25 that on any given night could beat any team in the country. Its best team, Indiana, is making a strong case for the number one overall. Despite a disappointing 77-73 loss to Minnesota last night, they’re still arguably the most balanced team in the nation. Michigan State is rather young and inexperienced but their squad is very strong. Coach Izzo is known for his tournament experience, and with the talent he is working with this season, Michigan State will be poised to make a deep run in the tournament. Michigan, led by Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., make up the best backcourt in the Big Ten. With their excellent shooting and ability to make plays, they can hurt you in any way and are compelled to make a run in the tournament. The last two ranked teams in the Big Ten are Wisconsin and Ohio State. Neither team has lived up to its expectations this year but they are both very solid teams. Ohio State is led by Deshaun Thomas, who led the tournament in scoring last year with 30 points per game. Thomas is a streaky shooter that can dominate a game at any given time. Wisconsin is led by Jared Berggren and Ben Brust and has a very balanced team that plays solid defense and is always a threat to win games. Both of these teams are not as strong as they were in past years, but are still legitimate threats in this year’s tournament.
Final Word: The Big Ten is a strong conference which could possibly get eight teams into the tournament this year. The strong competition and talent that this conference has shown throughout the year proves that they are the best conference in college basketball this year.
2) Big East
The Big East has more ranked opponents than the Big Ten with six, but their teams do not stack up as well. The Big East’s best team is debatable, but I think it’s Syracuse. The Orange are the most balanced and best coached team in the entire conference. Only time will tell if they are better than Georgetown. That puts Georgetown at a very close second with the best player in the entire conference, if not the nation, Otto Porter. Porter has shown that at any moment he can take over a game and defines the phrase “put the team on your back doe.” Louisville is a distant third, with much to be proven, but the Cardinals are still very capable of making noise come Big East Tournament time. I would put Marquette at fourth with the experience of Vander Blue, the explosiveness of Junior Cadougan, and possibly the best sixth man in the country in Davante Gardner. Notre Dame and Pittsburgh are very even at fifth and sixth, with both teams having excellent three point shooters, but still with a lot to prove. UConn and Villanova will probably be on the bubble all the way up until selection Sunday. Depending on how the rest of the regular season and Big East Tournament go, both teams could get in or one could be squeezed out.
Final Word: The Big East is a very powerful conference that could easily get eight teams into the tournament come March. Their teams are very balanced and the Big East is known to have one or two teams that are strong enough to make a deep run in the tournament. The Big East is one of the best conferences in the country but their teams just don’t quite measure up to the Big Ten’s this year.
3) ACC/Big 12
These conferences are grouped in the same category because each one only has a few good teams this year. Kansas and Duke are the two most dominant teams in each of these conferences and they are both making strong cases for #1 seeds. Both teams have solid rotations of players and are very well coached. The next two strongest teams in each of these conferences are Kansas State and Miami (FL). Both of these teams are having strong seasons. Miami has a solid backcourt in Durand Scott and Shane Larkin and a very strong forward in Kenny Kadji. Kansas State also has a very good backcourt in Rodney McGruder, Shane Southwell and Angel Rodriguez. Their team has a lot of experience and is determined to make noise in the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma State, Iowa State, North Carolina, and Virginia are all solid teams that will make the tournament. With competitive games within their conferences, any of these teams can make a run in the tournament; they just have to get hot at the right team.
Final Word: When it comes down to it, The ACC and Big 12 are not as good as the Big Ten and the Big East. Their top two teams could compete with the top two teams of any of the other conferences but when it comes to overall standing, these two conferences are much weaker.
NCAA Basketball is a beautiful thing. Teams show grit and grind as they tear each other apart during the regular season. The regular season determines where each team stands in the tournament but when it comes down to it all that matters is making it into the field of 64. Once you make it to the big dance, anything can happen, regardless of which conference they’re in. Any team can get hot, any squad can get upended by an upset, and most of all, any team is able to win the entire thing if they play their best basketball in one month: March. That right there is what’s so beautiful about college basketball and the best part is…that month is quickly approaching.