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Monday, February 28, 2011
Rating the conferences: From 1 to 32

By Albert Larcada, ESPN Stats & Info

The Big East’s improvement in the human polls helps to increase its lead over the Big Ten in this week’s ESPN Stats & Information conference power rankings.

The recent strong play of St. John's has given the Big East eight schools inside the top 20 of each human poll. A ninth school -- West Virginia -- is in the top 20 with the computers.

The Big Ten, and to a lesser extent the Big 12, are still capable of catching the Big East with a strong March. The ACC, Pac-10 and SEC will likely not have enough firepower entering the tournament to overtake the top three.

The Big East is almost certain to enter the NCAA tournament as the best conference. But as we all know, March means "prove it" time in college basketball. In a little more than two weeks, these rankings will be put to the ultimate test.