Looking at the rise in basketball talent across the midwest and recruiting in the Big Ten

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Over at Bucky's Fifth Quarter, Phil Mitten takes a look at regional recruiting and the Big Ten's ability to bring in talent.

The most interesting thing to me is how well Michigan has done compared to other schools in the conference. While the Wolverines aren't lighting the world on fire with recruiting (at least before the 2012 class), to see the Wolverines pulling closer to the upper tier of the league is comforting. Michigan State and Ohio State are still kings, with Indiana finally reasserting itself as a power and Illinois and Purdue hanging around, but Michigan over the last two years is tied for second in the conference in Rivals 150 players brought in. Half of the team's total from the last six years. Things are trending up.

Mostly, the article shows that the Big Ten is benefiting from bringing in a consistent level of talent, as well as drawing from a bit of a deeper talent pool the last few years. While the Midwest isn't the most fertile recruiting ground, it is capable of producing enough talent to keep the conference playing at a high level. As Michigan and Indiana continue to round back into form as national players, the conference will only get stronger. However, as of right now it looks like the Big Ten steadily pulls in the same amount of talent each year regardless of what the Midwest has to offer. This could be a good thing (consistency) or a bad thing (failing to capitalize on the talent available). Either way, the Big Ten once again looks to be the country's premiere basketball conference.

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