Big Ten doing more with less

John Beilein, Tom Crean and Thad Matta have consistently won without elite recruits. AP Photo, USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I trotted out some data on recruiting rankings and the number of NCAA tournament wins recorded by the six major conferences over the past four seasons. I came to the conclusion that the SEC "has done the least with the most."

By that, I meant the league, thanks in large part to the presence of Kentucky, had signed a high number of top 25 players over the past four freshman classes yet, UK's 2012 national title notwithstanding, has not been able to translate all those recruiting victories into NCAA tournament victories.

If there's a conference that has done the least with the most, it stands to reason that there must be a league that's done the most with the least. Sure enough, the Big Ten is that conference. No major conference can match its performance in terms of NCAA tournament wins, and as we'll see, Jim Delany's league has compiled that record despite a relative lack of talent that was rated as elite coming out of high school.