Photo Credit: GBMWolverine
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.
The Big South home of NCAA’s leading scorer Chris Clemons. Clemons’ Campbell Fighting Camels (one of my favorite NCAA nicknames) have not fared well this season and have one of the worst defense’s in NCAA ranked 316th on Kenpom. I see Radford winning the Big South this year. They are 12th in the nation in 3 point shooting and only turn the ball over 16.6% of possessions good for 44th nationally. They have already beat Notre Dame and Texas this year and I see them having no trouble capturing the Big South crown.
Stark’s Pick: Radford
One of the top conferences in college basketball right now, this conference race will be loads of fun to watch shape out. The Big Ten currently has two Top 10 teams both from the state of Michigan and 7 ranked teams in the conference. I think the competitors for the conference crown are Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio State, and Nebraska. I think Michigan has separated itself in non-conference play from everyone else. They have one of the best defenses in the nation and have a breakout freshman in Ignas Brazdeikis to go along veterans with Final Four experience in Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson, and Jon Teske. I see the Wolverines taking the championship.
Stark’s Pick: Michigan.
The Big West, the conference with the best nicknames in my opinion (I mean how can you not like the Rainbow Warriors, Anteaters, Matadors, or the Gauchos) looks like it will come down to either UC Irvine or UC Santa Barabara. UC Irvine has a stout defense ranked 44th on Kenpom and play one of the slowest offenses in the nation ranking 297th in pace. UCSB has a well balanced offensive attack though with 5 guys averaging double figures. Another team who I think has a shot is Hawaii. I think UC Irvine will come out on top in they are hitting stride going into conference play winning 3 straight including wins over quality teams in Colorado and Rhode Island. I think UC Irvine comes out on top though with their lockdown D.
Stark’s Pick: UC Irvine
The top dogs in the CAA are Hofstra and Charleston. Charleston has picked up wins over VCU, Rhode Island, and Memphis in the nonconference. Hofstra has a superb offense ranking 33rd in Kenpom and they rank 29th in 3FG%, 61st in 2FG%, and 1st in FT% in the nation. They also have a star in Justin Wright-Foreman, the reigning CAA Player of the year. He is in line to repeat purring up 25.7 ppg, 4.6 RPG, and 3.8 APG. Wright-Foreman will lead Hofstra to a CAA title.
Stark’s Pick: Hofstra
Don’t be fooled by North Texas 12-1 nonconference record. They have played one of the weakest schedules thus far including 3 non-D-1 opponents. I think C-USA will come down to Western Kentucky and Old Dominion. Old Dominion ranks 13th in defensive efficiency on Kenpom. Western Kentucky is coming into conference play hot coming off wins against St. Mary’s and Wisconsin. I think Old Dominion and senior BJ Stith who is averaging 17 points and 8.5 rebounds a game will come out on top
Stark’s Pick: Old Dominion
The Horizon League is going to be Northern Kentucky’s to lose. Wright State was tabbed as the preseason favorite but has stumbled this season so far with a 7-8 record. They could make a run but I still think Northern Kentucky will roll through the conference headed by Drew McDonald who is currently averaging a double-double.
Stark’s Pick: Northern Kentucky
The Ivy League should come down to Harvard, Yale, or Penn. Penn has an impressive win over Villanova, but got blown out by Toledo and lost to a lowly Monmouth team. Yale does not have a bad loss yet and has beat everyone they should have. I think Penn comes out on top as they have a well-rounded team.
Stark’s Pick: Penn
The MAAC only has one with a winning record with that being Niagara. The conference has not fared well so far. Rider was the preseason favorite in the media poll. I’m going to pick Niagara to win led by Marvin Prochet who is putting up 18 points and 9 rebounds a game.
Stark’s Pick: Niagara