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Top conferences in NCAA basketball – Part II

by Donte Nystrom

  1. Big Ten

NCAA Bids- Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State

Michigan State is arguably the best team in the nation and they’ll definitely get a chance to prove that when they play Duke on Nov. 14, plus they have Miles Bridges who should have been a one-and-done. Northwestern, Purdue and Minnesota barely cleared their way into the top-25, but all three should see themselves in a comfy seat on Selection Sunday. Borderline bubble teams include Wisconsin and Michigan and maybe even Penn State, who has a very good front court with Mike Watkins. However, this is Michigan State’s throne to lose. Hopefully there is no Ned Stark luck coming their way.

  1. Pac-12

NCAA Bids- Arizona, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford

Arizona isn’t going to make the national championship. But they’re the best shot the Pac-12 has at doing so. They have too much going on off-court than on it. USC could make a run at winning the conference, but also gave those same off-court issues as the Wildcats. I think USC May edge out the Wildcats come tournament time simply based on the fact it has over 90 percent of its scoring back from last year plus Duke transfer Derryck Thornton. UCLA will be fun to watch again this season – yes, without Lonzo behind veteran Aaron Holiday and Freshman star Jaylen Hands. Oregon May be a tougher case to make the tournament than Stanford, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they squeeze in as a 12th-seeded dark horse.

  1. Big East

NCAA Bids- Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, St. Johns, Butler

One thing is for certain: Villanova probably has the best player in the country behind Jalen Brunson. However, the Wildcats have the youngest contending team with two huge key players graduating last year. Xavier, Providence, and Seton Hall have three or more returning starters that can easily take the first slip from a fragilely young Villanova team. Xavier has the best shot at overtaking Nova for the top spot with Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura leading the way for the Musketeers. St. John’s and Butler are both stretches with struggles in consistency, but if they can keep the ball rolling, they should find themselves on the big screen on Selection Sunday.

  1. ACC

NCAA Bids- Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Miami, Louisville, Virginia Tech

This has been the marquee conference of Division 1 basketball over the years. Between Duke and North Carolina, they share a majority of the national championships in history. They always seem to throw a handful of teams into the tournament and this year should be no different. Duke is the preseason AP No. 1 and are led by the always entertaining Grayson Allen along with Marvin Bagley III. North Carolina is trying to defend a national championship with a lot less talent, but still have Luke Maye. I’m most worried about Louisville, solely based on the coaching situation with Padgett, but they have enough talent to carry them in. Miami could possibly steal the crown from the blue bloods on top. Notre Dame and Virginia Tech should be very strong at-large bids.

  1. SEC

NCAA Bids- Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Vanderbilt,

The SEC has never seen seven teams in the big dance before, until now. Heck there may even be more than that. About five of these teams are lock: UK, UF, Bama, Mizzou and A&M. Arkansas and Vandy are on the outside looking in while Auburn can make it as well, if they can get their program back on track. Maybe Georgia? There are many good options to choose from this year. Florida has the best shot at taking down the Wildcats right grip atop the SEC, but I wouldn’t count out A&M or even Bama. Bama has the best point guard, Collin Sexton, in this year’s class. Tyler Davis and Robert Williams will surely give Kentucky’s big men a run for their money in a smash-mouth fight to the conference title.

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