Friday, September 27, 2013
College Basketball's 32 in 32: TBI's Preseason Conference Rankings for 2013-14
This year, there are 32, so the task is even heavier. However, this time, The Back Iron will succeed in previewing all of the college basketball conferences in all their geographically schizophrenic (Chicago State in the WAC? For reals, player?), realignment-ravaged glory.
One will be presented each day leading up to the season's opening tip-off on November 8. Our worst conference in the nation will lead off the procession, with a brief moment to pour some out for the poor lonely SOBs at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (aka The Nation's Only Independent, aka The Fat Dude With Pimples, Braces and a Harelip Who Got Shot Down by Every Chick He Asked to Prom).
The best conference in America (SPOILER ALERT: It's exactly who you think it is, and it's even more dangerous next year) will be unveiled on November 7, with a full NCAA mock bracket to follow on opening day.
You can bookmark this post for the up-to-date rankings and links to each conference as its preview gets posted.
Read on past the jump for explanations of what each preview will feature, as well as the aforementioned rankings and links.
Just like last season, each league will have predicted order of finish, with capsules that won't go quite as deep as last year's. (Click here for a taste of what last season's previews looked like.)
Also, each school's most intriguing non-conference matchup will be highlighted, based on name value of the opponent, possibility of a win or simply because they're teams of similar skill and cache. Maybe their colors are compatible, who knows? Fill in your own reasons after I explain mine.
Finally, the conference awards will be given out: first- and second-team all-conference honors, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.
One caveat on the all-conference teams: Just like my All-American ballot, which will be revealed somewhere along the line, I don't put up freshmen. That will lead to some serious eye-rolling when I get to, say, the Big 12 and leave out that Wiggins dude, but hey, Harrison Barnes peed in the pool for everybody.
Now, on to the rankings:
2. Big Ten
5. Big East
7. Mountain West
8. Big 12
9. Atlantic 10
10. West Coast
11. Missouri Valley
12. Conference USA
13. Sun Belt
14. Ivy League
17. Big West
22. Atlantic Sun
23. America East
28. Big South
29. Big Sky
Check back every day starting October 7 for a new league preview.
(And seriously, would it kill the MAAC or the Colonial to throw NJIT a life preserver here? The NEC's already got 10, so an odd number just complicates things. But the MAAC has 11 this season and the CAA has nine. Somebody do the math and give Lenny Kaplan a call, eh?)