(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)
Across the nation conferences are wrapping up their non-conference portions of their schedules, which gives us a good chance for us to take a look at how the conferences stack up. The Big Ten has certainly been the team most talked about in terms of having a great collective conference resume; however, in recent weeks the Big Ten has taken some hits with a handful of bad losses, allowing both the Big 12 and ACC to catch up.
The following rankings are based off of Warren Nolan’s NET conference ranking data as of December 30th, 2018.
|117-32 (0.7852)||With five teams in the top 20 NET, the Big Ten has been very impressive winning non-conference match ups top to bottom in the conference. Expectations to begin the season were low given the amount of talent leaving the conference, but the majority of the conference have won games they were supposed to plus more. The conference can realistically have a chance to get anywhere from 8 to 10 teams into the big dance.|
|93-26 (0.7815)||Kansas has been playing as well as anyone in the country behind returning guard LaGerald Vick and junior forward Dedric Lawson. Without their starting center Udoka Azubuike, Kansas has looked vulnerable. With Udoka likely back in the line up for conference play, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and TCU who all only have one loss a piece will most likely face a Kansas team at full strength. West Virginia has been one of the teams currently not performing up to pre-season expectations. They are just one Oklahoma State from being at the very bottom of the Big 12.|
|142-40 (0.7802)||NET ranked #1 Duke and #2 Virginia are certainly in the discussion for Final Four teams, but even beyond them the ACC has very strong teams in the top two thirds of the league. Kevin Keatts at NC State has the Wolfpack playing at a very high level and building a lot of momentum for the program. Chris Mack has the Cardinals at 9-4 in his first season with out a single recruit of his own. |
|94-31 (0.752)||The Big East up top is currently wide open with teams like Marquette, St. John’s, and Villanova as the top tier right now. After a pair of bad losses earlier this season, Jay Wright has found a way to course correct. Even the second tier of teams of Butler, Seton Hall, and Creighton all have a chance to win the Big East race. Dark horse Seton Hall has been building a very impressive resume with wins over Kentucky, Maryland, and most recently giving St. John’s their first loss.|
|121-43 (0.7378)||Even though the SEC does not have many teams at the top, they are likely the most balanced team with only one team that’s outside of the top 100 NET. Rick Barnes and the Vols have the most impressive non-conference win over Gonzaga. With wins against UNC and Louisville on the road, the Wildcats are already rebounding from a tough early season.|
|89-58 (0.6054)||Arizona State is the team that is truly holding up a Pac-12 conference that continues to lose outside of the conference. Teams like UCLA and USC who were projected to be near the top of the conference have already lost 6 in the non-conference. Besides the Atlantic 10 at the bottom of the top 10, the Pac-12 has the lowest non-conference winning percentage among these teams.|
|107-42 (0.7181)||Kelvin Sampson and the Houston Cougars are headlining the American Athletic conference, now currently 13-0 on the season. The Bearcats have only lost one game (against Mississippi State on the road) since their opening game against Ohio State.You can truly appreciate the depth of the conference when you see that Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State (admittedly the Shockers have lost significant talent) is in the bottom half of the league. |
|83-47 (0.6385)||As always the West Coast conference has another two team race, but instead of St. Mary’s chasing Gonzaga, the Dons out of San Francisco are currently projected to finish second. Given that most bracketologists have the Dons as a current play-in team, San Francisco needs to tread carefully as a bad loss could move them out of the tournament consideration|
|80-49 (0.6202)||Nate Oats and Buffalo have had only one loss on the season, which is on the road against a very good Marquette team. Unfortunately for them, the teams that they beat looked a lot better at the time: West Virginia, Saint Bonaventure, Syracuse, and San Francisco. All of those three schools are now currently in a bit of a struggle.|
|91-80 (0.5322)||Finally the Atlantic 10 closes out our top 10 conferences. The VCU Rams may be benefiting with the more win/loss margin emphasized NET. They have single digit losses to Virginia and St. John’s paired with their victories over Texas and Wichita State. The St. Louis Billikens have the most impressive resume with wins over the trending-up Seton Hall Pirates, Oregon State Beavers, and a close loss to undefeated Houston.|