How the Big Ten stacks up
Where B1G's '12-13 season ranks all-time; will it translate to tourney success?
One thing that's been missing from this season is a debate over which conference is the strongest. The reason is obvious: There really isn't much of a debate at all. Whether your choice of metrics is the number of teams ranked in the AP poll (the Big Ten leads all conferences with five in the top 20), more antiquated methods (five teams in the top 22 of the RPI), or more sophisticated methods (six teams in the top 13 of my ratings and five of the top 14 in the BPI), there's a consensus that the Big Ten is strong. Even if you prefer to look at the strength of competition from top to bottom, the Big Ten is the undisputed winner.
It's gotten to the point that I truly feel sorry for teams in the middle of the conference. Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa have amassed 20 conference losses between them and are much better than their records indicate. If these teams played in the Mountain West or the ACC, chances are they'd have fewer losses and a little more respect nationally.
Even in this season when the commonly held opinion is that there are no historically great teams, it's interesting to ponder where the top of the Big Ten ranks among the great conferences since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams, and what that might mean for the prospects of its teams in the postseason. As it turns out, there isn't an obvious "greatest conference of all time." This season's Big Ten ranks way up there, but depending on how you judge conference strength, there are a few candidates in recent seasons that are comparable to this season's Big Ten.
To read Ken Pomeroy's full article on how the Big Ten stacks up all-time, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Poll: More FBS coaches favor 8-team playoff
- Miss. St. suspends safety Cox after arrest
- Sarkisian: Reinstated Shaw to play vs. UCLA
- OSU, Baylor to play as originally scheduled
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Greenberg/Telep: Kansas Jayhawks
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Marquette
• Gasaway/Rankin: Indiana Hoosiers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Michigan Wolverines
• Gasaway/Rankin: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Gasaway: Breakout second-year coaches
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Telep: Latest on No. 13 junior Theo Pinson
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Ford: NBA draft lottery preview
• Ford: Winners from the NBA draft combine
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game