With the world at critical mass for ranking teams in the preseason, ESPN decided to change it up a little bit and put the teams in predetermined groups before ranking them, which is kind of the same thing but ended with this breakdown of which conferences are the best of the best. They run through every conference in the nation, from the big six right down to the SWAC, home of UK opponent Mississippi Valley State, and give a preview of what to expect from each. It makes for a pretty good look at what will be happening in hoops this season, even in the dark recesses of college basketball that you usually wouldn’t visit without a flashlight.
The Big Ten, with title contender and fellow Maui visitor Michigan State, leads the list, with the Kansas schools headlining the Big 12 in the second slot. The SEC ranks third, and here’s the breakdown of the conference we call home:
3. SEC: The Southeastern Conference gets the nod at No. 3 thanks to proportion. The SEC has a higher potential NCAA tournament-team hit rate than our No. 4, the Big East. The conference loses a few points for imbalance — five of those six potential NCAA nods would go to teams from its East division — and for its lack of a potential national champion. But taken as a whole, any league with the likes of Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Mississippi State in its ranks deserves some serious preseason credit. It is time, however, to place a team back in the Final Four. The SEC has been shut out since Florida’s second national title in 2007.
I would tend to agree that it’s time an SEC school graces the Final Four again, so long as that SEC school has ‘Kentucky’ across its chest. The rest will have to wait their turn.
The power conferences make up the rest of the top of the list, with the peasants falling into place just behind. Check out the rankings, if for no other reason than it’ll kill some time in the excruciating wait for real basketball in the Bluegrass. It’s almost here…