The Candid Coaches: Which Conference Will Be the Best College Basketball League After Reorganization?

CBS Sports college basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander surveyed nearly 100 coaches for the annual Candid Coaches series. They surveyed everyone from head coaches in elite programs to assistants at some of the smallest Division I schools. In exchange for complete anonymity, the coaches offered complete honesty on a number of topics. Over the next few weeks, we will publish the results of the questions asked.

12 big, according to KenPom.comranked as the best basketball league in seven of the past nine seasons – but, soon, the conference will change. Oklahoma And the Texas It will be off to the SEC. HoustonAnd the CincinnatiAnd the BYU And the UCF incoming. From a football perspective, it’s clearly not very good considering that Oklahoma and Texas are huge football brands. But it makes sense to say that the Big 12 basketball producer will still be elite given that Houston, Cincinnati and BYU are all strong hoop programs.

But will the Big 12, for the most part, still be the Better?

This is debatable since (a) the losses of the twelve companies would make the SEC stronger, and b) the big ten add up. University of California And the USC from Pac-12 in August 2024. So, with all this in mind, we asked about 100 coaches the following question:

With Oklahoma and Texas heading to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and UCLA and USC heading to the Big Ten, what conference do you think would be the best basketball league going forward?

1. Big Ten 41%
2 seconds 28%
3. Big 12 15th%
4. ACC 14%
5. The Great East 2%

Quotes that popped

over the top ten

  • “I’m in a big country in the East – and it’s not close. Big Ten is a beast from top to bottom.”
  • “I don’t want to rule out the Big 12 because it has to be a monster – but who the hell knows who’s going to be in that league in two years? That’s why I’m going to say the Big Ten. It’s the most consistent right now, and the addition of UCLA and, to some extent, USC can It just helps.”

on SEC

  • “The Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been recruiting for the past five years, has been recruiting everyone in the country. duke And UNC gets their buddies, but there are seven teams in the SEC that have four stars and five stars. Ridiculous talent in the league. Lots of NBA players in the SEC every year”
  • “It’s just the SEC in terms of their aggressiveness in recruiting with the NIL. That, combined with the already normal, physical, top-down sport. Even a team that’s not that skilled, watching them play, this was a different kind of athlete.” When they have football-type players who play basketball, it makes a difference. This contradiction is there and it’s really hard. As a mediocre coach, we play better against the 12 big SEC teams just because of the sporting inconsistency.”

on Big 12

  • “The last two great champions came from Big 12. If Texas Tech Close VirginiaThey will have the last three – and arguably only lose two of the last five teams.”
  • “By all the metrics over (a few) years, BIG 12 has been the best league (most seasons). Acquisition of schools like Houston, who will be in the top 10 every year, I just think the league is going to keep getting better. Easy matches in this league. Most of these teams are all set up like nothing. It’s just the hardest league. Nothing is easy.”

on ACC

  • “I believe ACC will always be the best. He has a tradition and love for basketball from fan bases to administrators. This league is investing and knows that basketball is king.”
  • “Even with the money flowing into the SEC and the Big Ten, I think the ACC will focus more on basketball and continue to have success – just like the new Big East. That is…until they all move to the new SEC/Big Ten.”


Bruce Pearl said in a post-match interview last January that his school is “the school of everything.” Meaning there is no reason Auburn He can’t be good at everything – football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, you name it. In general, this now also applies to the Big Ten and the SEC in general because these conferences are adding giant brands that will allow them to generate the kind of revenue that other leagues can’t.

This survey reflects this reality.

Sixty-nine percent of the coaches surveyed said that, going forward, either the Big Ten or the SEC – two conferences mostly known for high-quality football – would become the best basketball league in the country. For what it’s worth, I agree. They would both be so big and deep and powerful and rich that they would pretty much have the best facilities, the best TV show, a lot of the best coaches – and the most money that could be spent on name, picture, example and whatever else they chose. Over time, Power 5 will become a Power 2. And while all of this is clearly and undeniably driven by football — the Big Ten, for example, wanted the USC way of football more than they wanted UCLA basketball — a byproduct To add significant value brands that increase revenue (and reduce competition) will raise the Big Ten and the SEC in myriad ways, including ways that make basketball products, in general, bigger and better than ever before.

In professional sports, big market teams often enjoy success in part because they have more money than anyone else. In college sports, this will also be healthier than ever. This does not mean that the 12 programs are as big as kansas And the Bayloror ACC programs like Duke and North CarolinaThey won’t continue to thrive in basketball because they certainly will. But the majority of college coaches believe that there will soon be more good, great programs in the Big Ten and SEC than anywhere else, and there’s really no reasonable reason to believe that their ideas on the subject are misleading or misplaced.

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