Although it is still early, the college basketball landscape is slowly starting to take shape. A few teams have started to make their case to be considered a favorite to cut down the nets in April. Through two months of play, which conferences are the best in the country?
1) Big Ten
Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State are all ranked in the top 10. Michigan State has a signature win against Kentucky while Ohio State and Wisconsin are blowing teams away early. There is a good chance that the conference sends seven or more teams to the tournament this year. Northwestern at 6-5 has the lowest winning percentage in the Big 10.
2) American Athletic
The conference comprised of Big East castaways are having a nice debut season. Louisville and Connecticut are ranked sixth and tenth in the latest polls. Memphis looks to have another strong season for the AAC. SMU, South Florida and Houston are having strong starts that could be a sign of big things to come for all three programs.
3) Big East
The Catholic 7 schools of the original Big East combined with Xavier, Butler and Creighton to create a strong league. Although Villanova is the only ranked team in the league, there are several teams that will contend for NCAA and NIT bids this postseason. Expect Butler, Creighton and Xavier to crack the Top 25 at some point while perennial conference whipping boy DePaul has started 6-4.
4) Pacific 12
Seven teams in the Pac-12 have eight or more wins on the season. Arizona is the top ranked team in the nation thanks to an impressive start. Oregon and Colorado are also ranked. Colorado has been a surprising team this year. The Buffaloes defeated Kansas earlier in December on a last second field goal.
5) Atlantic Coast
Syracuse and Pittsburgh both started the year 9-0. The Orange are ranked second in the nation while the Panthers look to propel themselves into the rankings shortly. North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse are likely to be locks to go dancing in March while Notre Dame is another team likely to get an invite to the NCAA tournament. Virginia Tech leads the league by virtue of their victory over Miami in the first conference game this season.
The top conferences in college basketball are starting to assert themselves as the calendar creeps toward 2014 and the start of league play. Over the next 10 weeks, a lot of teams are going to state their case to keep playing in March. However, only a handful of teams from a handful of conferences have a legitimate shot of being crowned champion in the end.