McGary and Robinson

Talent Distribution: the Big Ten

This is day three of evaluating the upper-end talent in major conferences. So far we've covered the ACC,  the AAC, and the Big East. Go to the first link (the ACC) to read up on methods and where the data comes from. There's also a graphic there that shows in very simple terms why landing top 100 recruits is probably more important than you think. 

The B1G landed seven teams in the tourney last year, and had the national runner-up with Michigan. But of the other six teams, only Ohio State advanced as far as the Elite Eight. Last year seemed like a good opportunity for the conference to land two Final Four teams for the first time since 2005, but it was not to be. Then the NBA draft came and three of the top nine picks were Big Ten players. So what's left?

The conference lost 13 players (through graduation, early entry,  or transfer) who were former consensus top 100 recruits. And they replaced those with 13 new ones. So the conference still sits at 40. Here is how those players are distributed:

Michigan State leads the way with eight. This is the 4th conference we've looked at, and MSU is the fifth team with at least that many top 100 recruits on their roster, joining Georgetown and a trio from the ACC (UNC, Duke, Syracuse). The worst conference record last season for a team with that many high end recruits was 11-5.

After MSU it is a step ladder going through Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The fans of the remaining four (Northwestern, Minnesota, Penn State, and Nebraska) should know that there were 18 teams in major conferences last year that had either zero or one consensus top 100 recruit on their roster, and one of those 18 teams had a winning conference record.

What about top 50 recruits?

The conference has 18 total, and 16 of those (89%) are on four teams. Keep that in mind when you're putting together your preseason Big Ten predictions.

Finally, what about the elite consensus 5* players? These are the kids who were in the consensus top 25.

There aren't a ton, but keep in mind that these kids are rare, because many don't last in college beyond a year or two. The Big Ten has six of these players, while the ACC has ten, the AAC has six, and the Big East has two.