Predicting the Champion for Each Major Conference in College Basketball
Who Will Win Each Major Conference?
Non-conference play for the 2013-14 college basketball season is about to become a thing of the past. Sure, a couple of teams still have some out-of-conference games left, but for the most part conference play has begun. So before the conference season is in full throttle, let’s predict the champion for each major conference in college hoops.
There are going to be a couple of no-brainers and a couple of picks that people will disagree with. That tends to be the nature of sports.
Regardless, every team picked is off to a pretty good start to the season and it is not like I am going with completely bold picks. Sorry folks, but DePaul is not going to win the Big East this year and Northwestern is not going to win the Big Ten. Talking about spoiler alert.
Some people argue that the Atlantic 10 should be a major conference, but there are still many people who would also disagree with that. For the purposes of this article, we will include not only the A 10, but the MWC as well.
Although really any team could win its conference--since basically every game needs to be played--two conferences that are going to be very competitive are the Big Ten and the ACC.
Popular picks for the ACC title are Syracuse, North Carolina and Duke. Can someone steal the show in the conference?
As for the Big Ten, it currently has three teams ranked in the top five--Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Well, before conference play takes over the college hoops world, see who will win every major conference.
AAC: Connecticut Huskies
Yes, I know that the Louisville Cardinals are also in the AAC, but Connecticut has been great so far, minus its two recent losses.
For what its worth, Memphis and Cincinnati are also good enough to take home the crown and both teams should have no problem making the NCAA tournament.
Shabazz Napier is one of the best players in the nation and he helps make up a very lethal backcourt. Not to mention, he is as clutch as they come and I am sure Florida knows all about that.
ACC: Duke Blue Devils
Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood. These two make up the best scoring duo in all of college basketball. They are averaging 38.6 points per game combined and have played teams such as Kansas, Arizona, Michigan and UCLA.
Syracuse is probably the popular pick to win the conference right now, but Parker is getting better and better, which is scary for the rest of the ACC.
Atlantic 10: VCU Rams
VCU has disappointed up until this point, but the Atlantic 10 is still talented enough to get the Rams back into the top 25 and then some. That is if they can start off hot and not lose for awhile.
Massachusetts has been amazing early on and teams like George Washington, Saint Louis and Dayton (among others) have a serious shot at making the dance. The A 10 is one of the most talented conferences in college basketball for a second straight season.
However, it is the Rams who earned a No. 5 seed in the tourney last year and it is the Rams who returned most of that talent.
Big 12: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Since Day 1, I have said that Oklahoma State is the best team in the Big 12 and I am still going with that.
Kansas is going to get better and better. As the Jayhawks do that, they will be a lot of people’s favorites to win the conference title once again.
Coming into the season, the Big 12 was said to be a two-team race. No one told Baylor and Iowa State that, who are both ranked in the top 15. Heck, even Oklahoma and Texas have a shot at the title, even if it is not a great one.
However, the Cowboys have Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le’Bryan Nash and Phil Forte. All four are averaging 12 or more points per contest.
Big East: Creighton Bluejays
Villanova has been the best team in the Big East so far, which is why it is ranked as high as No. 11 in the polls. Not to mention, the Wildcats are the only ranked team in the conference.
Still, I have too much faith in that one guy named Doug McDermott. He is a top five player in this sport and he will keep Creighton a contender for a national championship all season long.
That does not mean winning the conference will be easy, though, because people can expect the Big East to be one of the most competitive conferences in the nation.
Big Ten: Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State are all ranked in the top five. That is pretty impressive if you ask me. Between the three, the Spartans are the only one with a loss. That loss came against North Carolina, who is known for picking on the top dogs in college hoops this season.
Are there other teams who will challenge for a conference title? Of course, and I am looking right at you Iowa. Still, Michigan State is one of the most experienced and talented teams in the country. The Spartans have my vote.
MWC: New Mexico Lobos
San Diego State is the best team entering MWC play. I give the Aztecs all of the credit in the world now that they have proven their worth, but the Lobos lost the least amount of talent over the offseason.
New Mexico won the MWC regular season title and conference tournament last season. The MWC was arguably at an all-time high, too.
This is a team that earned a No. 3 seed in the dance last year--did nothing with it once the tourney started. Sure, teams disappoint all of the time, but I am going to say that New Mexico starts looking like the team it was last season and goes on to win the conference.
Pac-12: Arizona Wildcats
Colorado and Oregon will more than likely go on to earn solid seeds in the dance. However, it is really hard to go against the No. 1 team in the country. Arizona has been great early on--undefeated in non-conference--and it should have no problem winning the Pac-12.
This is a conference that has many teams who could make the dance. Still, the Wildcats are the best team right now.
I am sure Pac-12 play will be very exciting to watch regardless.
SEC: Florida Gators
Kentucky may have finally won its first marquee game of the season, but the Florida Gators already beat two ranked opponents before that happened. If they were at full strength, they would have beaten Wisconsin on the road and I am sure Connecticut wouldn’t have kept the game that close.
Florida has lost both of its games by a combined seven points. Well, it is at full stretch now and it is going to be very tough to beat. Five-star recruit Chris Walker has not played yet and he is going to give the Gators a huge boost once he finally does.
If the Wildcats' freshmen can forget that they are arguably the best recruiting class of all time and play like the team we are still waiting to see, they will go on to win the SEC and national championship with ease. Who knows if that will happen, though.