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Blog Entry

Big day for the Big Ten

Posted on: December 21, 2008 2:58 am

I'm sure I'll touch on it to a larger extent in the Monday Look Back, but it's worth pointing out -- now that this long day of college basketball is complete -- that the Big Ten had a heckuva weekend. Michigan State beat No. 5 Texas, Minnesota beat No. 9 Louisville and Purdue beat No. 22 Davidson, and the guess here as that the league will have at least four and perhaps five ranked teams when the polls are updated.

Not bad for the conference that is most generally regarded as the weakest of the BCS leagues.

And is the Big Ten going to be a six-bid conference?

At this point, it sure seems possible.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Big Ten

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2008 11:09 am

Big day for the Big Ten

i think msu plays better when parrish doesnt have us ranked.

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2008 8:40 am

Big day for the Big Ten

Good analysis....agree with most of "beating each other up", I basically meant what you say below. Wrong verbiage on my part, I guess. "beating each other up" was meant refer to the "doormats" knocking out a bubble team (or possibly two). Too often a team has a great record against stronger opponents and a few of "doormat" losses causes them to be balancing bubble team. In the Big TEN this year, the balance of the conference could theoretically inable a 17-19 win team to not make it, Sagarin, Pomeroy, and RPI not withstanding.

There will indeed be AT LEAST 5 NCAA tourney teams from the Big Ten, and if all the top teams take care of business and allow few upsets by Indiana and a couple other doormats (NU?  PSU?  Iowa?)

I think you are right, though, NCAA bids are largely "earned in November and December" , but they can be lost in January and February.

Six teams, real possible....Seven teams maybe....Eight teams, unlikely. I am a Kansas fan, so probably will not have too much to cheer about this year, just have to keep looking at the championship poster from last year. Will be routing for some Big Ten (and anyone else) teams to break some ACC and Big East power.

Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2008 11:47 pm

Big day for the Big Ten

It's pointless to debate how many bids a conference deserves before conference play even starts. We can discuss the relative strengths of the various leagues, but that doesn't always correlate closely with the number of bids each league will end up receiving. Two equally strong leagues could get very different numbers of bids if one is top-heavy and the other is very strong in the middle.

As of now, if we're looking at the body of work from top to bottom of the various leagues, the Big Ten is no worse than 2nd behind the ACC. Most unbiased (read: computer) rankings will tell you this.

Assuming no catastrophic losses before conference play, I think the Big Ten's resume will be good enough that a 9-9 conference record may be enough in certain cases (depending on the team's non-conference and Big Ten tournament results). Because there's only one truly bad team in the Big Ten, it's hard to see any more than 7 teams finishing at or above .500. So I think 7 is the upper limit (don't laugh, it's happened more than once). Hard to envision any scenario where the Big Ten doesn't get at least 4, and that's only if the conference is very top heavy.

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2008 4:40 pm

Big day for the Big Ten

I don't know how you could say anybody but the SEC is the weakest BCS league this year.  I know the general sentiment is that the Big Ten is usually the worst, but that's far from true this year.  The SEC has only one top-25 team and really no other teams that even deserve consideration for the top-25 - Tennessee is the only team from the SEC with any wins over top-25 teams, and even they aren't top-10 good.  The Big Ten has five different teams with wins over top-25 teams and four wins over top-10 teams (compared to zero for the SEC).  The Big Ten is clearly stronger than the Pac-10 as well.

Six bids is what the Big Ten got the last time they had a conference RPI on the level of what they have now.  Seven is definitely possible this year.  That's a far cry from what everyone was saying prior to the season, which was that the Big Ten would be a 4-bid league.

After a year in which the SEC had only one Sweet 16 team (and even that team got badly beaten when they got there) but had six teams in the NCAA tourney, you would think the league would get a lot more scrutiny, but it doesn't seem to have materialized. 

This year, the SEC has been trailing the Mountain West and Atlantic 10 in conference RPI.  The SEC is at best a 4-bid league, and (if they didn't have so many easy conference games to pad their win totals) would be only a 3-bid league as Kentucky and Tennessee are the only teams that look NCAA tourney bid-worthy based on their productivity outside of conference play.  There isn't a single team in the entire SEC West that looks like an NCAA tourney team.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2008 4:14 pm

Big day for the Big Ten

Based on actual results so far (rather than popular perception which is based on no data), Big Ten teams have done better overall than every other league except the ACC, which is the early consensus #1.  Big Ten ranks second in the Sagarin Conference Ratings and Pomeroy Ratings.  Big Ten teams narrowly lost the ACC/Big Ten Challenge 6-5 despite Purdue and MSU playing very poorly in big losses.  This was followed by Michigan beating Duke, essentially evening the series.  Ohio State then beat Notre Dame in Indy, and yesterday Minnesota over Louisville on a neutral floor, MSU over Texas in Houston, Purdue crushes Davidson.  Texas may be fired up after their loss, but now must travel to Madison to take on the Badgers - who beat them in Austin last year.  Indiana is the worst team in the Big Ten so far, and for them to be 5-5 with so little talent is a miracle...

Once the pre-conference schedule concludes, these conference rankings change very little (can change slightly after an unusual mid-season inter-conference game).  Now when Big Ten teams "beat each other up" they'll be strengthening each others' resumes because 10 of 11 teams in the conference are in the top 100 (RPI, Sagarin, Ken Pom).  There will indeed be AT LEAST 5 NCAA tourney teams from the Big Ten, and if all the top teams take care of business and allow few upsets by Indiana and a couple other doormats (NU?  PSU?  Iowa?) - Big Ten could have SEVEN or less likely EIGHT teams in the Big Dance.  Sorry fans who hate the Big Ten, in terms of differentiating your conference, NCAA bids are largely earned in November and December... 

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2008 7:33 am

Big day for the Big Ten

Totally agree with 5 and maybe 6, but the league season may drop that to 4 if they beat each other up. Big Ten has been a suprise and very impressive since the early Michigan win against UCLA. Nice to see teams like Purdue and Gophers stepping up, havent heard much from them lately. Big wins for all 3.

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