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Ranking The Six “Power Conferences” in College Basketball

Posted on January 23, 2012 by Teddy Bailey

We’ve hit midseason, and College Basketball is in full stride. So why not rank the 6 Power Conferences? Onward…

The Big Ten is the best conference in America as of now.

#6- PAC-12:

When you look at this Conference, your first impression is, “Hmm, mediocre, only three teams under .500.” Then, when you look at who they have beaten, you laugh. No team in the PAC-12 has beaten a Top-25 Team. None. Nada. I don’t know what the deal is with the scheduling, because there is absolutely no chance to grab an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament if you haven’t beaten, or played a ranked opponent. College Fans are starting to dismiss the Big East as a “Power Conference” in College Football. Can you please turn your attention to the “Power Conference” who’s best showing in the RPI is California at 37, and then Colorado at 62! Compare that to the 6 teams the Big East has in the RPI Top 25, and you get an absolutely disgraceful conference. All insults and opinions aside, the Pac-12 is looking at 1 team to make the NCAA Tournament. They have a possibility of having no at-large bids. NONE! Granted, it’s an Off-Year for USC, UCLA and Washington, but the fact that 12 schools are mediocre at best, is hard to imagine.

Regular Season Champion: California (16-5)

Anything can happen in a Conference Tournament, but the regular season title unanimously goes to Cal. They’ve gotten embarrassed by every good team they have played, but they can beat the teams they need to beat to win the regular season crown.

At-Large Bids: None

On The Fence: Stanford, Oregon

#5- SEC:

The SEC has been better than recent years, but still falls into their usual ranking. Get past Kentucky and possibly Florida or Mississippi State, and you get the same thing the Pac-12 has, mediocrity. Granted, the SEC actually has one of the best teams in the country, and Florida and Mississippi State are solid teams, but we thought LSU would be a Top 25 team. We thought Tennessee would be a quality team after the Bruce Pearl era. They both aren’t. However, watch Vanderbilt to make a move at Kentucky and the Top 25, as the Commodores beat Marquette at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Vandy just has to learn how to close out big games, as they have three losses against ranked teams in overtime. A loss to Mississippi State put them back, but that OT loss was only their 1st in SEC Play. We’re looking at 3-5 bids for the Southeastern Conference, but only if Vandy or another un-ranked team can step up late in the season. Florida, Mississippi State and Kentucky are all locked in.

Regular Season Champion: Kentucky (19-1)

Is a comment necessary?

At-Large Bids: Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt

On The Fence: Alabama# 4 ACC:

The Top 4 Seeds are looking like Syracuse, Ohio State, Baylor and Kansas.

Before I get any more hate mail, let’s please agree that choosing #3 and #4 is a coin toss. The ACC is behind the Big 12 for one reason: They aren’t a good conference from top to bottom. Yeah, there will be 1-3 teams who just bring down the conference, but when you have more than three, the conference just goes from good to okay. That’s how i describe the ACC: Okay. The top is great! Florida State is guaranteed a Top 25 spot after wins over Duke and UNC, and some are calling the Seminoles the favorites. Now I wouldn’t go that far, but the ACC found a #3 team in their conference. Virginia had that monstrous 12 game winning streak, and are the most underrated team in the country. A loss to Duke is understandable. They play Va. Tech tonight, which should be a breeze. After Duke, UNC, Florida State and Virginia, NC State and Maryland are the next ones in order of finish. After that the ACC goes downhill, but a solid start so far for the Atlantic Coast.

Regular Season Champion: Duke (16-3)

There is a comment necessary here. UNC is a better team than Duke WITH Dexter Strickland. Without him, they are not. The Junior guard who is out for the season was an unusual veteran for Coach Williams’ squad. Duke did lose to Temple along with Florida State and Ohio State, but I love the dynamic duo of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers. Another coin toss, but I take the Dukies baby.

At-Large Bids: North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia, NC State

On The Fence: Maryland

#3- Big 12

The Big 12 won the coin toss. The only reason? It’s because they have three of the premier teams in all of College Basketball. Kansas, Missouri, and Baylor have shown up to play this season. A combined 51-6 of those three squads have absolutely annihilated any other teams in the conference. The ones that have not been eliminated are Kansas State, and surprising pick or not, Iowa State! Kansas State will be riding a 8 game winning streak going into their three almost impossible games with Kansas, Missouri, and Baylor all in a 8 day stretch. If they do win their next six games, and win one of those three, I see the Wildcats being a NCAA Tournament team. Now for the Cyclones of Iowa State, they have been in every single game. In their five losses, they have yet to lose by more than 10 points. ISU went toe to toe with Michigan, Missouri and Kansas, and just need to find a way to beat a ranked team. They’re my second underrated team in College Basketball right after Virginia, and a deep sleeper. Behind them, it looks ugly. Texas and Texas A+M are both okay, but not really tournament caliber teams.

Regular Season Champion: Kansas (16-3)

The Jayhawks beat Ohio State, Kansas State, and Baylor. They have yet to play Missouri, but you can’t argue against a team that is in the Top 5 and 6-0 in Big 12 play.

At-Large Bids: Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State

On The Fence: Iowa State, Texas

#2- Big East:

It’s hard to sort out a conference that has almost 10 teams that go in, out, up and down in the AP Top 25 poll each week. We’ll start with the easy part. Syracuse. You play in the Big East. It’s a year where almost no one can win on the road. A loss to Notre Dame is understandable, and I still have the Orange as my top team in the Big East. After that, it’ up for grabs. Here’s #2 through #5 in the Big East: Georgetown, Marquette, West Virginia and Connecticut. After that, it’s a mix of messages that my brain receives. I like Seton Hall at #6, and then Notre Dame, Louisville and South Florida. After those 8 or 9 teams, it’s a very mediocre conference. Villanova and Rutgers can make some noise, but I have no idea what the Pitt Panthers are doing this season. The hardest part, is picking who’s in and who’s not. Here it goes:

Regular Season Champion: Syracuse (20-1)

If they were 21-0, I wouldn’t make a comment. Now we know that they are beatable, which opens it up for teams like Georgetown and Marquette. Still, the Orange are top dogs with Jardine and Triche in their backcourt. No one has any idea about Fab Melo, but he will be missed.

At-Large Bids: Georgetown, Marquette, Connecticut, West Virginia, Cincinnati

On The Fence: Louisville, Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Villanova

#1- Big Ten:

Congrats to the Champs. Finally, the Big Ten has returned to it’s prominence. The Big Ten doesn’t have the top three that the Big 12 does, but from top to bottom there is quality squads. Let’s start with Ohio State, the champions. They rebounded after the Illinois loss with a win over Indiana, and with a win over Michigan on January 29th, I crown the Buckeyes the regular season winners. Even with a loss over Michigan, I’m, take the Spartans over the Wolverines at the #2 spot. Michigan falls down at number three. It gets hard after that, as Illinois and even Illinois have taken loss after loss. I like Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin from 4-6. After that, tournament dreams are about to crash, as the mediocrity catches up with Purdue, Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota. However, even Nebraska and Penn State showed that they can win at home, so the whole conference is capable of knocking off a conference foe in their backyard.

Regular Season Champion: Ohio State (17-3)

Jared Sullinger and William Buford are absolutely terrific for the Bucks’ who clinch the Big Ten title in my mind with a win over Michigan on the 29th.

At-Large Bids: Michigan State, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

On The Fence: Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue

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