Last month, we started our Sales Pitch series by ranking the schools in the ACC based on the quality of their enticements for men’s basketball recruits and then moved on to the Big East, where we examined whether anyone in the league can close the recruiting gap on Villanova. We followed that up with the Big Ten, and the biggest first tier we’ve seen of any conference so far, and the Pac-12, where UCLA and Arizona are keeping the rest of the league at arm’s length. We continued with the SEC, where everyone continues to chase Kentucky on the recruiting trail, and then looked at the Memphis vs. Houston battle at the top of the American. We wrapped up the top seven leagues with the Big 12 — Kansas was the consensus No. 1, but how can Texas and the rest close the gap?
This week, we cast a wide net over the rest of college basketball. We look at the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West teams that have been the most successful in recent years, while also taking a peek at where Gonzaga might stack up on a national scale. We also dig a little deeper into how Loyola Chicago has remained in the national conversation the last several years, and look at the battle at the top of the Ohio Valley between Belmont and Murray State.
As a reminder, ESPN spoke with a wide variety of anonymous coaches across college basketball’s top seven leagues (as rated by KenPom and other relevant metrics systems), as well as nationally relevant programs beyond those conferences, for our Sales Pitch feature. Over an eight-week period, we ranked the programs in order of which have the best sales pitches for recruits and transfers.