Ranking the 5 Best Conferences in College Basketball
In college football, the SEC is the unquestioned premier conference in the nation. As for college basketball, we seem to have this conversation every year as to which conference is the best in the nation.
Of course, every year is different -- especially with the recent conference realignments within the ACC, American, Big 12, Big Ten, and Big East conferences, during which each conference has seen at least one newcomer or departure in the last couple years.
Since the prime Big East years, there hasn't been a consistently dominant conference in college hoops. One year it may be the ACC, and another year it might be the Big Ten. Which conference is this year's number one conference?
Before I dive into the top five, I wanted to explain to you how I determined these rankings.
The rankings are sorted by the conference's average team nERD. If you're unfamiliar with the term, nERD is our in-house metric that measures overall team efficiency. It estimates a team's score differential against a league-average team on a neutral court. For example, Kentucky's nERD is 22.55 and Duke's nERD is 17.62. In that matchup, we would expect Kentucky to win by 4.93 points on a neutral court.
I will also be referencing our offensive and defensive efficiency metrics, which are measured in percentile form. So if a team's offensive efficiency is 99%, that means that team's offense is better than 99% of all NCAA teams on offense.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the top five conferences in college basketball, starting with the number one conference in the nation.