Photo Credit: Anonymous Eagle
With the non-conference season wrapping up for most teams this week, I thought why not and predict the regular season winner for every single conference in college basketball. For my predictions, I will use a mix of current season performance, Kenpom stats, and my own gut feeling. Let’s ride.
Vermont is coming off back to back America East championships and looking for more. UMBC won the conference tourney last year and we all know what happened there, but has stumbled out of the gate this year posting a 7-7 record. Stony Brook is looking to knock them off this year and has quality non-conference wins over Rhode Island and South Carolina en route to an 11-3 record thus far. Vermont has challenged itself in the non-conference losing to Kansas and to Louisville. I think America East POY candidate Anthony Lamb leads Vermont to the title.
Stark’s Pick: Vermont
The AAC has an interesting race shaping up as 4 teams received first-place votes in the preseason poll and the conference has played well in the non-conference. I see it coming down to a 3 team race between UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati. Houston’s non-conference schedule has not fiercely challenged them, although 13-0 and is still impressive. Cincinnati has played a solid non-conference schedule and has fared well. UCF stumbled against Florida Atlantic but has won 4 in a row after an OT loss to Missouri. I think Mick Cronin coaches Cincinnati to the championship.
Stark’s Pick: Cincinnati
The A-10 is in a down year as my article last week explored. Read it here.
Davidson, St. Louis and VCU look to be the leaders, but don’t be surprised if Dayton or Rhode Island sneak into the conversation. VCU has a suffocating defense ranked 7th in the nation in defensive efficiency. St. Louis was a favorite to win the preseason based on a very talented roster but they have struggled offensively ranking 225th in the nation in offensive efficiency. I think Davidson will pull away with the crown. Bob McKillop’s offense running through Kellan Grady is a thing of beauty. They have played the last 4 games without the potential NBA draft pick Grady. Once he returns watch out.
Stark’s Pick: Davidson
Duke, Virginia, UNC, and Florida State will contend for the ‘ship. I think Duke has too much firepower with 3 potential lottery picks on its roster for anyone to knock them off the ACC throne. Virginia’s pack-line D will give them a run put Duke will overpower them.
Stark’s Pick: Duke
I think Lipscomb will run away with this conference and could win a game or two in the NCAA tourney. They’ve knocked off TCU and played Louisville tough. They retained their top 6 scorers and have a star in Garrison Mathews.
Stark’s Pick: Lipscomb
Will Kansas win it’s 15th straight Big 12 title? The team that I think could knock them off is Iowa State. If Iowa State can return a healthy Lindell Wigginton and Solomon Young they have a shot to win the Big 12. If not Jayhawks all the way. Rock Chalk.
Stark’s Pick: Kansas
The Big East is looking solid this year and the conference race should be interesting. I see the regular season title either going to Marquette or Villanova. The games I have watched this year for Villanova they have not impressed me. Marquette has a superstar in Markus Howard who hung 45 on Buffalo. Marquette has solid size as well with all rotation players above 6’5 aside from Markus Howard and Joseph Chartouny. I think Marquette will break in the new Fiserv Forum with a Big East banner.
Stark’s Pick: Marquette
Montana is the favorite in this conference and is a very balanced team. They also returned 85% of their scoring from last season and have 4 guys averaging double figures. They beat Mike Daum and South Dakota State at SDSU. Don’t sleep on Weber State who is lead by Jerrick Harding, averaging 21.2 points a game. I think the Grizzlies will roll through the Big Sky.
Stark’s Pick: Montana