As part of our 5-Year Ranking series, here's how the Big Ten teams stack up according to conference wins. The makeup of the Big Ten is quite different from most of the other power-conferences. The also-rans in the Big Ten have fared much better than other league also-rans, while the middle teams are much more mediocre. With one or two surprises, the final league standings will probably look pretty similar to the 5-year standings.
In all honesty it shouldn't come as a surprise that UCLA struggled with an in-state non-conference opponent, the very teams that most in the fan base expect the Bruins to simply roll over regardless of their level of interest. But in recent seasons it's become more of an issue as the Bruins haven't been talented enough to simply flip the switch, and there was another hard lesson to learn in the LA Sports Arena. The preseason pick to win the Pac-12 shot 40.7% from the field and made just two of fifteen from beyond the arc in a 69-58 loss to Loyola Marymount.
Friday marks the first big day of the college basketball season with more than 100 games on the schedule. Sure most of the games look to be of the "opening sacrifice" variety, but a closer look reveals some intriguing matchups. It only makes sense to begin with the game that needs little introduction, the Carrier Classic game matching preseason national title favorite North Carolina and Michigan State. The game will be played on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, which will likely cue a few "I'm on a boat" jokes.
Next up is the Southeast region, which contributed to the craziness of the NCAA Tournament beginning with Butler knocking off top-seed Pittsburgh in the third round. The question now is what's next for the entire region beginning with the Panthers, who welcome a solid recruiting class while also waiting to see what Ashton Gibbs' decision in regards to staying in the NBA Draft will be.
By the time Thursday's schedule is finished millions of brackets will be ruined, which should come as no surprise given the regular season.
Southeast Region - Tampa
March 17 - 9:20 TBS
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (16) UNC Asheville/Arkansas-Little Rock