Earlier in the week CBS Sports posted their 'United States of College Basketball,' a map of all the states with the top program for each state being featured on the graphic. Factors such as coaching, recruiting, facilities and so forth were all considered for the map as CBS works on previewing the upcoming college basketball season. Anyway, here's the map:
As most of you should probably be aware of, there are several states in Big Ten country that are the home for multiple schools. That makes this list somewhat interesting as CBS Sports had to pick between rival universities. Sometimes that decision is relatively easy, other times it is not. The end result was they had to decide between three states for Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. While picking a school like Illinois over Northwestern makes sense, the other two weren't so clear cut. While I'm a Purdue fan, I can see why they picked Indiana over the Boilers, even if Purdue is coming off of last season as the better team. Long story short, it's Indiana basketball and it's still a pretty big deal. As for the state of Michigan, I know the selection of the Spartans likely peeved Michigan fans, but State has not only been the better program for awhile now, but they also have the better team and are coming off of a better season last year as well.
CBS Sports justified the decision with the following:
Yes, Michigan State beating out Michigan. Was there a tighter race between two powerhouses? Nope. Wolverines fans won't love it, but in the end we think Tom Izzo's a little bit better than John Beilein as a coach...and we think Izzo will land just a few bigger recruits over the next five seasons
Teams Straight Up Missing the Cut
While the Big Ten is a big deal in the midwest, not every team is a straight up powerhouse. That of course led to three states with Big Ten teams that didn't make the map: Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The choice of Iowa State for the state of Iowa isn't going to make Hawkeye fans happy, but based on recent events it makes sense. Of course the loss of Fred Hoiberg means Iowa could have definitely been the pick here as well. Interestingly enough, CBS doesn't even focus too heavily on the loss of Hoiberg and how it will effect the program. Past Iowa, the choice of Villanova over Penn State makes a whole lot of sense. Penn State has been historically bad, while Villanova has been strong as of late.
The funniest part of this list, even more so because it's 100% correct, is the choice to go with Seton Hall for the state of New Jersey. Seton Hall is not a good team, not even close. They haven't made it to the NCAA Tournament since 2006 and have only reached 20 wins in a season once since 2005. The last five seasons have included two losing seasons, a .500 season, a 16-15 season and their best season, a 21-13 campaign that ended with a second round loss in the NIT by double digits. Even with the Pirates lackluster resume, they still easily beat what Rutgers has compiled. The Scarlet Knights haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1991, have had multiple coaching scandals recently, have an athletic department in disarray, haven't had a winning season since 2005-06 and finished last year on a 15 game losing streak.
Even better is their endorsement of Seton Hall, closing out the paragraph by stating that "we go with Seton Hall, which could realistically fire its head coach come March." Ouch.
the Rest of the Bunch
Past the previously mentioned teams, everything else is pretty cut and dry. The reality is there's not much competition in states like Ohio or Maryland, paving the way for CBS to easily select Ohio State and Maryland. That more or less is the same scenario for Minnesota and Wisconsin, with the state of Nebraska being the only one somewhat debatable. While they considered Creighton, who in all honesty are the better team right now, what Tim Miles is doing in Lincoln, the incoming recruiting class, athletic facilities and willingness for the athletic department to spend money to improve the program are probably enough of a reason to justify the selection of the Cornhuskers.