Recently, the Big East conference in basketball has supplanted itself atop the conference rankings and sent a record-amount of teams to the NCAA tournament last season. But not too far off is the Big Ten, which currently has the same amount of teams ranked in the top 25 as the Big East does (6).
However, the Big East has all six of its team ranked within the top 16, whereas the Big Ten has just two teams within that range.
With conference play set to open up, there's bound to be many teams knocking each other off in the two conferences. Last season, the Big East games were impossible to predict, with nearly every game coming down to the final stages of the second half. The conference was so competitive that the eventual National Champion finished ninth in the conference and solidified its bid after trumping the best of the Big East in the conference tournament.
The Big East has built its conference up very nicely, creating a very deep, competitive league. In contrast, the Big Ten's Achilles' heel has been its lack of depth. Last season, the conference was very top heavy, having three really competitive teams (Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin) and then a bunch of .500 teams in conference play.
However, things are beginning to look promising for the conference now that Indiana has reemerged as a legitimate basketball program and with teams such as Minnesota and Northwestern having no trouble against their non-conference foes.
Currently, the Big Ten has nine teams with double-digit win totals, while the Big East is at eight teams. And the lone undefeated team between the two resides in the Big Ten: Indiana (12-0).
The Big East still reigns as the premier conference in college basketball, having six teams with one or fewer losses. Yet, the Big Ten has cemented itself as next-in line to the Big East.
Conference play will be the ultimate decider between the two conferences. The Big Ten could play out the same way it did last year with two or three teams reining supreme, but there just appears to be too many competitive teams from top to bottom, from Ohio State down to Penn State, that could beat any team on any given day.
As Big Ten play beings to open up, here are the current standings:
1. No. 18 Indiana – 12-0
2. Minnesota – 12-1
3. No. 2 Ohio State – 12-1
4. No. 24 Illinois – 11-2
5. No. 20 Michigan St. – 11-2
6. No. 19 Michigan – 11-2
7. Northwestern – 10-2
8. No. 14 Wisconsin – 11-2
9. Purdue – 10-3
10. Nebraska – 8-3
11. Iowa – 8-5
12. Penn State – 8-5