This is not just a flash reaction to what's happening now, because a couple of conference teams winning first- and second-round games in any particular year is just a snapshot of Big Ten success, not the definition of it.
Really, this about the way Michigan and Michigan State powered through their opponents Saturday to get to the Sweet 16, and the inkling that this tournament is now set up to be a fairly expansive celebration of the Big Ten's hoops talent and mindset.
Look around, and it's an easy conclusion: If there's a conference that has put together the right formula for NCAA bracket triumph and in this fluctuating age, it's the Big Ten and its cluster of top, tough-minded teams.
The facts: 4 seed Michigan just ran right through highly regarded 5th-seeded VCU this morning in the South region; and right after that, 3 seed Michigan State overpowered athletic 6 Memphis in the Midwest.
So the first two teams in the Sweet 16 are two Big Ten power teams, with Indiana, Ohio State, Minnesota and Illinois taking their shots Sunday.
I've said the Big Ten seems to have hit on a formula, and is executing it better than anybody else, so let's try to figure out what it is, realistically (that means, other than: getting the best players and scoring the most points, OK?) ...
As much as I've been lauding the Atlantic 10 in the last day or so ... with VCU gone and Butler no sure thing against Marquette later Saturday, I've got to tip my hat to my old conference (hey, is Northwestern doing great or what?) ...
I've already picked Indiana to win the national title this year and Michigan State to be there in the Final Four, too, and this probably will be repeated throughout the next few weeks.
How do these Big Ten teams fit that tournament-winning model?
By the way, the Wolverines aren't only about pretty offense -- they out-rebounded VCU 36-21 Saturday -- and they have a nice mix of older and younger talent that includes ...
Trey Burke, sophomore point guard.
Tim Hardaway Jr., junior wing.
Glenn Robinson III, freshman wing.
And Saturday, freshman big man Mitch McGary (21 points on 10-of-11 shooting, 14 rebounds) owned the rim.
After the game, Izzo laughed about the mid-game huddle flare-up between longtime buddies Keith Appling and Derrick Nix. "It's great, isn't it?" Izzo told CBS' Rachel Nichols.
Well, it's just fine if the coach is as good—and commanding -- as Izzo. If it was a lesser coach, probably not so much. This is a tough, tough team, and yes, they out-rebounded Memphis 41-25.
The Michigan State talent mix includes.
Adreian Payne, junior big man who had maybe the best individual performance of the brackets so far -- 14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocked shots.
Gary Harris, freshman guard.
Derrick Nix, senior big man.
Keith Appling, junior point guard.
The Hoosiers talent mix includes ...
Victor Olapido, an explosive junior wing.
Cody Zeller, a sophomore who is the most talented center in the tournament.
Yogi Ferrell, freshman point guard.
Ohio State, the 2 seed in the West, plays a 2nd-round game against Iowa State Sunday.
The Buckeyes' talent mix includes ...
The one Big Ten team that fell short in the early rounds:
Wisconsin, the West's 5th seed, beat Indiana multiple times this season, but lost to Mississippi in the first round.
It's not easy to measure up in the Big Ten these days.