Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/14/14
  There are numerous teams around the country that are consistently good, but which conference is the best overall?  The Big Ten Conference is the best basketball conference in the nation.  Not only do they often have the best team in the country but they constantly have such a deep conference as well.  Most of the other dominant conferences in country are very top heavy. The Big Ten conference is tied this season for the most teams in the top 25 with five teams.  Three of the five Big Ten teams in the top 25 are in the top five and Indiana is the number one team in the nation to start this season.  The Big Ten conference has the hardest average strength of schedule (SOS) as a whole this season.  This is one of the biggest contributing factors as to why the Big Ten is the best basketball conference in the country.  It is the hardest conference to play in because it is full of good teams that all have to play each other two times a season. Not only is the strength of schedule the hardest throughout the Big Ten, but also the Big Ten teams try to play the other elite teams in the country.  Some of the difficult non-conference games this season include: Michigan State Vs. Connecticut, Ohio State vs. Kansas, and Wisconsin vs. Marquette. In Division one college basketball, the teams are ranked by a standard called the Rating Percentage Index (RPI).  It is similar to the BCS rankings for college football. The RPI is determined by three factors: The teams division 1 winning percentage, the teams opponents’ division 1 winning percentage, and the teams opponents’ strength of schedule.  This season, the Big Ten has the second most teams in the top 50 according to RPI with six teams.  The only other conference that has more is the Big East with seven. However, five of the six teams in the Big Ten are in the top 25 in terms of RPI. As of 1999, ESPN has hosted a series of games consisting of the best matchups between the Big Ten conference and the ACC conference.  This is called the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  The Big Ten has won it since 2009 and I predict that they will do it again this season.  Last year, the Big Ten won eight out of the twelve games and it is very possible that they can win eight games again this season.  In every ranked matchup, the Big Ten team is ranked higher than their opponent. It is also possible that eight out of the 12 teams from the Big Ten can make it to the NCAA tournament this season.  They will look to win their first national championship since 2000 since they have four possible final four caliber teams this year. It will be very difficult to predict who will win the Big Ten this year because conference is so deep.  The depth is what makes the conference so exciting to watch.  There are often numerous upsets throughout the season.  To say that the Big Ten is the best basketball conference of all time could be argued considering the fact that other conferences have had a lot of success in the past. However, the Big Ten Conference has been the best overall conference recently because of their non-conference success and continuous depth each season.  The Big Ten should be exciting to watch this year.
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