Ohio State takes over the #1 position in both national college basketball polls. Just like they did in college football a couple months ago...then they lost their very next game at Wisconsin. In hoops, they don't visit Madison until February 12th, so maybe they'll be alright for awhile this time.
After the Buckeyes, the talent level drops off DRAMATICALLY! as 2-6
are about as interchangeable as can be. And 7 and 8 are right in there
You've heard of the expression "for argument sake," well you can
arguably put the big mass of teams in the muddled middle in various
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (18-0, 5-0) Jared Sullinger has to be the leading front-runner for the Chicago Tribune Silver basketball award. He has won the Big Ten
freshman of the year award already; sometime back in October. OSU is
currently number four in the nation in field goal percentage, second in
fewest fouls, fifth in assist to turnover ratio.
2. Purdue Boilermakers (15-3, 4-1) Losing
at West Virginia is not as acceptable as it seems. Although they were a
final four team last year, and our receiving votes in the polls this
week, the Mountaineers almost lost at DePaul.
Seriously DePaul. And I do love random inter-conference games (between
teams from power six conferences) in the middle of January and February
though! Such an underrated part of life.
3. Michigan State Spartans (12-5, 4-1)
I have to put these guys here based on reputation. Very blah the first
part of the season; but they'll inevitably get it going in February and
March. And there's actually a method to this madness. Izzo's line-up
shuffling tells the story (read here for an explanation). Former Michigan "Mr. Basketball," freshman Keith Appling had a career high 19 in the OT win over NU.
4. (tie) Wisconsin Badgers (13-4, 3-2) Jordan
Taylor and Jon Leuer are developing into NBA Talents. And Keaton
Nankivil is their third option. Like Illini Coach Bruce Weber said, "no
doubt, you got Taylor and Leuer your two main guys, but Nankivil is a
great spot shooter, knows the system. He's older, knows how to play of
Leuer and Taylor and the system to get open shots, and if he's open, he
was 13-20 from three in the Big Ten going in and once you got a big guy
doing that it really spreads your defense." Nankivil finished 3-8 from
three, 14 pts, 7 rebounds in the win over the Illini.
4. (tie) Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5, 3-2)
They handled Wisco the first time at home, so what went wrong Saturday?
Bruce Weber said it best: "Second half, you know what they're going to
do, but you have to execute your defense because they just probe you
probe you probe you and I thought we made some bad decisions on
rotations, let Nankivil open, got into Leuer, they went
inside-outside." And I hate to say this yet again, but to quote Big Ten
Network's Shon Morris after the UIC fiasco, "Mike Davis had one rebound.
That's one more than a dead guy." Sadly it was true in Madison as well.
6. Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-4, 3-3)- Can't believe they didn't sit Trevor Mbakwe, big ten leading rebounder or not, discipline is needed.
7. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-7, 3-3)- You'll
notice I can't refer to them as the Penn State Talor Battles anymore.
They do have some decent second and third pieces; but they still have
the most bush league fans in all of college basketball; all 13 of them.
PSU's strength of schedule is top ten and RPI top 60 believe it or
not! Now if only they hadn't been so utterly crushed by a mediocre
Maryland team and suffered that home loss to maine; they would be on to
8. Northwestern Wildcats (11-5, 2-4)- a
soul-crushing defeat at the Breslin Center. They need to get at least
two or three signature wins fast, otherwise their season is already
over. Wins over Michigan and SIU-Edwardsville should be a given; but
neither helps RPI and SOS. Need to sweep Wisconsin, at Minnesota next
week or the tourney bubble officially bursts before February even gets
9. Michigan Wolverines (11-7, 1-4)-
After their pathetic excuse for offense in the first 35 minutes at
Indiana (a really bad defensive team), they don't deserve much attention
from me in this BTPR.
10. Indiana Hoosiers (10-8, 1-4)- Because
of his mood swings, megalomania and the lack of respect he shows in
dealing with the media sometimes, it's REALLY hard to wish for Tom Crean
to right this ship. Although you can read a funny mini-tirade of Crean going off on a reporter here.
11. Iowa Hawkeyes (7-10, 0-5)- They looked competitive against Ohio State. That's got to be a morale victory, right?
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