Big Ten breakout

SAY WHAT YOU will about its storied basketball tradition, but the Big Ten is still considered a football conference that plays hoops when it gets cold. The league hasn't earned an NCAA title since Michigan State's win in 2000, compared with five for the ACC and three each for the Big East and the SEC in the same time. Still, when the 2012-13 season began, it arrived with great promise and great expectations: five Big Ten teams in the preseason Top 25; the conference ranked tops in the nation by Sagarin, the RPI and KenPom.com; and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo's declaring the Big Ten to be by far the best he's seen it in 30 years. So where did this seemingly sudden power surge come from? Here are the Big Three reasons.