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Big Ten Conference Shows Early Dominance, Can it Beat the ACC?

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Late Monday afternoon, the newest AP Top 25 college basketball poll came out. The Big Ten Conference had a lot to be thankful for with the poll. The Big Ten Conference leads the nation with six teams on the top 25. Here is a look at the breakdown of Big Ten teams:

Minnesota and Illinois both joined the list after not making any of the previous polls. Wisconsin also received votes, after dropping out of the poll several weeks ago. The Big Ten started the season with five teams in the top 25.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge represents a key test for the conference. On Tuesday and Wednesday teams from the two conferences will play each other in the annual competition. This year’s competition features twelve match-ups. The Big Ten appears to have the odds in their favor, with the three ranked ACC opponents playing ranked Big Ten opponents. Here are the key matchups:

The Big Ten Conference lost the first 10 ACC/Big Ten Challenges, but has now won three in a row and looks to make four in 2012. The games are nationally televised on ESPN’s family of channels.

This year’s challenge provides a key opportunity for the Big Ten to show their dominance. The conference enters the challenge with six ranked teams, including five undefeated teams. As I mentioned in an article about Indiana, it is very important for Big Ten teams to continue their strong starts before they beat up on each other in league play.

Last year, the Big Ten sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament. The conference had a one seed (Michigan State), a two seed (Ohio State), three four seeds (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan), and a ten seed (Purdue). Only Ohio State made it past the Sweet Sixteen. This year, the Big Ten looks to send more teams to the Tournament and progress further. No Big Ten team has won the NCAA Championship since Michigan State did in 2000.