After an uncanny season of numerous upsets, it is unlikely the usual highly-ranked powerhouse teams will run roughshod through their conference tourneys on their way to the Big Dance. It seems no team is safe in 2013.
With a few mid-major tournaments starting as early as tomorrow and Wednesday, and the rest beginning late next week, now is a great time to look ahead at what might be an even more crazy few weeks of college basketball.
Eric Prisbell of USA ranks the best tournaments for 2013 this way:
1) Big East
3) Big Ten
4) Atlantic 10
6) Mountain West
7) West Coast Conference
8) Big 12
10) Missouri Valley Conference
I'm not so sure the Big East will be the best or most exciting tourney. The ACC and Big Ten look prime for a number of upsets. The SEC looks like a mess right now, but that could provide for some interesting games. Is the Big 12 ranking too low simply because of Kansas?
What say you? Which tourneys are you looking forward to watching? Which do you think will provide the most excitement?
(Look for pre-conference tournament analysis from the Sidelines NCAA community early next week. On tap: SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and the Pac-12)
The Big 12 really only has two teams that look strong going in - Kansas and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys already won at Kansas and then lost a 2OT thriller to them at home. Kansas St. could make some noise, but they'll need to win their last conference game at Oklahoma State to prove they can compete with the top two - and to stay out of Kansas' bracket.
The Big East should be exciting. There are six teams that are all pretty much equal in talent.
But I'm most looking forward to watching the Big Ten tournament. Five really strong teams will make some must-see basketball.
The Pac 12 should be pretty good, so I'm not sure why they are ranked so low. Arizona, Oregon and UCLA all look very good and Cal and Arizona State have the potential to win the tourney. Colorado and Washington could surprise someone, too.
I'm not sure why the Mountain West is on the list. None of the teams have any real shot of beating New Mexico.
The ACC is the tourney to watch. Miami and Duke are the teams to beat, but the others in the conference have proved they are beatable. Several of the first round games should be exciting.
There's no denying the Big East is historically a thrilling tournament, but the Big Ten has the potential to be nearly as entertaining as the NCAA Tournament this season
I think the tradition of success puts the Big East at the top of the list for many pundits and writers. Personally, I prefer a tournament like the ACC this year where you have no realistic idea who will win. This could also be the last year of the ACC as we know it. It's already Big East 2.
The finals of the Big 12, the Big 10 and even the PAC 12 may be good, but the first few games may be boring.
Come on, you guys, the Big East as we know it is dissolving, as pretty much all the teams are leaving for greener pastures. Louisville, Rutgers, Syracuse, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova are all moving to new conferences soon. Enjoy the highest level of basketball competition for one last year before the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten become the power conferences.
There's no denying the Big East is historically a thrilling tournament, but the Big Ten has the potential to be nearly as entertaining as the NCAA Tournament this season. (That's right, as big as the whole thing)
The conference has incredible individual talents at the guard positions in Trey Burke (UM) and Victor Oladipo (IU) and with forwards DeShaun Thomas (OSU), Adrian Payne (MSU) and Cody Zeller (IU). Burke and Thomas are front-runners to win the national player of the year award this season.
Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State have all been ranked in the top five nationally at some point in the season. Behind them are teams that have played with them on the road and at home, as Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois and Minnesota have had signature wins and have also been ranked around the top 10-15 nationally. These teams will be hungry to move up their potential NCAA seeding and on a neutral court, all bets are off in the Big Ten. Four Big ten teams are currently ranked in the top 13 and five are in the top 25, but those are just the leaders. There is simply no conference that matches the overall depth the Big Ten has, and the conference tournament will prove it.
Big Ten tournament is going to be crazy. I can't wait! WOLVERINES!
Yep, the Big Ten and the Big East will be the ones to watch. I might be stretching it, but the conference tourney might be better than the actual Big Dance this year. amiright?
The ACC should be a great tourney. Miami and Duke are not unbeatable, and North Carolina and NC State could easily come out of this on top.
What, no love for the Atlantic 10? Five teams with 20 or more wins and all five in the top 50 RPI! St. Louis, VCU, Butler, Temple, and La Salle are all very good teams and will be a force in the NCAA tourney.
The Atlantic 10 tourney is not one to overlook.
I really like the SEC. Big 10 should have a good tourney as well. I am looking forward to seeing you makes it to the tourney.