RE: The 2015-16 Big East Season to Date
So how do you rank overall conference strength? Is it determined by the number of teams a league has in the top 20, in the top 60 (dance hopefuls), the top 100, the top half of all D1 teams, the overall average rank of all the teams in the league? This AM I looked at the first 3 of these measures, using KenPom instead of RPI -- just because the former is so much better as a true measure of team strength.
The Big 12 clearly looks to be the top conference this year, with 5 top 20 rankings, 6 top 60s, and just 1 of its 10 teams outside the top 100 -- 90% of the league in the top 100! The ACC also has 5 top 20 rankings, and then 10 top 60s, and just 2 of its 15 members outside the top 100 -- 86% of the league in the top 100. Those two leagues have half of the top 20 teams!
After that, the Big 10 and the BEAST seem about equal as the 3rd and 4th best leagues; B10 has 3 top 20 teams, 7 top 60s, and 10 of its 14 members in the top 100 (71%), while we have 2 top 20s, 6 top 60s, and 8 of our 10 members in the top 100 (80%.) The B10/BEAST challenge also ended with 5 wins for each league, so take your pick as to which is the stronger conference this year.
After that, the SEC has more top 20 teams than the Pac12 (2 vs. 1), but the P12 also has 9 of its league members in the top 100 (75%), while the SEC has only 10 of 15 (67%.) So I see them as the the 5th and 6th strongest leagues -- in whichever order you prefer.
After that, the American has 1 top 20 team and 6 (54%) of its 11 members in the top 100, while the A10 has no top 20 teams, but 7 (50%) its teams in the top 100. No other league has more than a third of its members in the top 100.
Also, 55 of the top 60 KenPoms this morning were owned by just these 8 top conferences, so there may have been a lot of upsets this year, but there's also still a pretty clear separation between the haves and the have-nots, at least when comparing conferences and not individual teams.
So finally, NO, Stever, the sky is clearly not falling on the BEAST quite yet. We're still headed for 4-6 teams getting into the big dance next March. The fact that our cupcake victims have been collectively a bit worse than other cupcakes is pretty much irrelevant to analyzing conference strength.