Power Ranking the Major Conferences For the 2013-14 College Basketball Season
Which Conference Is the Best In College Hoops?
The 2013-14 college basketball season is almost among us. Getting excited yet? You should be. There will be so many storylines entering the season--just like every season. However, let’s take a look at the major conferences and do a good old-fashioned power ranking of them.
The top two conferences will probably surprise no one, as those two are consistently the best ones in college hoops.
Two conferences that will not be featured in this article are the MWC and Atlantic 10. Both are great and both will have teams that will make it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. However, they aren’t necessarily considered major/powerhouse conferences yet.
Regardless, I would rank those two after the top seven conferences. Some may disagree with that, especially with how successful the MWC and A 10 were last season.
There are some surprises in this power ranking.
The Big East will look a lot different since it basically split in two. Therefore, the AAC will also be part of this power ranking, but it will definitely not be the top conference. Sorry about the spoiler alert there. It will be interesting to see how the new Big East will fair, but it will not be as good as it has been in recent years. That can be expected, though, since Louisville and Syracuse moved on to different conferences.
Well, the season starts on Nov. 8. Get ready for it by reading on to see a power ranking of the major conferences.
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Louisville No. 3, Memphis No. 13, Connecticut No. 18
The top teams in the AAC entering the season are Cincinnati, Connecticut, Memphis and Louisville. All four of those teams will have the talent to make a deep run in the dance.
Three teams are ranked in the conference to start the year, but I could definitely see the Bearcats sneaking into the top 25 at some point.
SMU and Houston could be sleepers not only in the conference, but college hoops as well.
6. Big 12
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Kansas No. 5, Oklahoma State No. 8 (tied), Baylor No. 25
The Big 12 loses a bunch of talent from last season.
Kansas State will likely be nowhere near as good, but it still might be a tournament team. At the same time, the Wildcats could finish outside of the top five in the standings.
Kansas and Oklahoma State are getting a bunch of hype entering the season. Both are ranked in the top 10 and both have a very, very talented player on their team (many others as well). You may have heard of them.
Marcus Smart and Andrew Wiggins are arguably the two most talented players in the nation.
Baylor loses its best player, but Isaiah Austin is returning.
Other teams that will compete for a conference title are Oklahoma and Iowa State. The Big 12 will be down entering the year, but it could prove us all wrong. It would also not be a surprise if the Cowboys or Jayhawks won a national championship.
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Kentucky No. 1, Florida No. 10
Florida and Kentucky are going to be great once again.
The Wildcats are bringing in a decent recruiting class. So decent that people are saying it is the best recruiting class of all time.
The top two SEC teams entering the season are pretty clear. It is the rest of the conference that will have many questions. However, Tennessee will be better than most people think and Alabama, Missouri and LSU could make the dance.
Ole Miss will be getting back Marshall Henderson, so the Rebels could also make some noise.
I think the SEC will be the biggest surprise this year and I really wanted to rank it higher. It would not surprise me if it got five teams into the dance.
4. Big East
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Marquette No. 17
The Big East has arguably been the best conference in college hoops the last couple of years. Louisville did win a national championship last season.
However, the Cardinals are no longer in the conference. Neither is Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame (among others).
Marquette, Creighton, Georgetown and Villanova will have to hold down the fort. St. John’s could surprise a lot of people too and they might have the most talented team in the conference. It will be interesting to see if the Red Storm can finally meet expectations, though.
Xavier joins the conference and it should be much better than it was last season.
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Arizona No. 6, Oregon No. 19, UCLA No. 22
The Pac-12 could be the most competitive conference in college hoops.
The Arizona Wildcats are just as good as anyone and Sean Miller could finally win a title with the program.
UCLA loses its leading scorer, but some key players will be returning.
Oregon and Colorado will also compete and could be ranked all season long. The Buffaloes should be getting more hype entering the season, but they will show their worth once the 2013-14 season starts.
Other teams that could compete in the conference are Washington, Stanford, California and Arizona State.
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Duke No. 4, Syracuse No. 8 (tied), North Carolina No. 12, Notre Dame No. 21, Virginia No. 24
Syracuse. Duke. North Carolina. Those are three very well recognized teams in college hoops. All three will be ranked in the top 10 entering the new season. As you can imagine, all three will have the talent to win a national championship.
However, Virginia will be returning a bunch of talent and it will be good enough to finish in the top three of the conference standings.
Maryland could also make the dance.
Oh yeah, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh joined the ACC as well. As a result, the conference will be more balanced, but Duke and North Carolina will still be considered the top dogs.
1. Big Ten
Teams ranked in AP Top 25: Michigan State No. 2, Michigan No. 7, Ohio State No. 11, Wisconsin No. 20
The Big Ten is a very brutal conference to play in. It does not matter if a team is ranked No. 1 in the nation. It could lose to anyone at any given moment in the Big Ten.
Michigan State will enter the season by being ranked No. 2 overall, but Michigan and Ohio State are not too far behind.
Iowa will be returning a bunch of players from last year’s NIT runner-up team.
Wisconsin always competes for a conference title and this year will be no different. Indiana loses four starters, but will still enter the season with pretty high expectations.
Purdue, Illinois and Minnesota could also pull off some upsets in conference play and could be NCAA tournament bound.