2011 Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings, Very Early Season Edition

As we learn every November/December, college basketball
polls in the early season are often pretty useless. Therefore, as I do
my power rankings I’m going to try and ignore the polls in evaluating
these Big Ten teams. We’ll see how that works out. Going with the eye test here.

By Paul M. Banks

ohio state cheerleader

1. Ohio State Buckeyes-
I’m getting really tired of rating this school #1 in both sports all
the time. But Jared Sullinger has been to Big Ten Freshman awards (he’s
won three of the first four weekly honors) what J.D. Salinger is to
writing a bildungsroman.

2. Illinois Fighting Illini
This is not a homer pick, who else in the league has two quality wins
so far? (North Carolina, at Gonzaga) And McCamey is currently looking All-American.

3. Michigan State Spartans-
Everyone knows all about Tom Izzo being “Mr. March,” but the very
under-reported converse of that is: his teams often struggle in
November/December. This isn’t as bad as the year they won the national
title yet lost to Wright St. somehow in the preconference, but it’s not
exactly good either. I’m ranking them this high based on the fact I know they’ll
turn it up a notch later.

4. Purdue Boilermakers-
They really have very little after E’Twaunn Moore and JaJuan Johnson.
And they’ll need some role players to step up and take that “third
banana” status. It could have been John Hart, but he’s out 4-6 weeks now
with a fractured metatarsal.

northwestern ladycats

5. Northwestern Wildcats-
Cats will need a really impressive conference record to make the
tourney since their non-con opponents have been weaker than Lara Flynn
Boyle while she’s got a body temperature of 104. Still, this offense is
for real, and you have to be encouraged by the way they handled
Creighton and Georgia Tech, their only two “real” opponents so far. Take
care of Lav’s Johnnies in NYC and we’ll talk.

6. Minnesota Golden GophersI was just about to rank them somewhere 2nd-4th, then the Virginia debacle happened. And their defense looked REAL ugly in that loss.

7. Wisconsin Badgers-
I really hate to second guess Bo Ryan, really I do because every time I
do his team defies expectations and I can hear him dancing the Soul Ja
Boy all over the trampled predictions of those who doubted him. But seriously
after Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor what does this team have? Really? Tim
Jarmusz- that’s your third key player- c’mon!

8. Indiana Hoosiers
Definitely the best of the bad teams this year in the conference. And
things are looking up in the future with Tyler Zeller’s little brother
Cody on board.

9. Michigan Wolverines
They’ve looked a lot better than expected so far, but their best player
is still Stu Douglass. Yes Big 10, you must soon endure the wrath of
Stu Douglass in a couple weeks.

10. Penn State Talor Battles- What is up with no one watching this team on both the media
and fan sides? They travel zero media members and I was watching the
highlights of the PSU-Duquesne game, and the entire lower bowl was
empty. If Battle gets into foul trouble this season, will they forfeit?
If he gets injured, will they discontinue their program?

11. Iowa Hawkeyes I really should rank them 12th or 13th. Nebraska might win more Big Ten conference games than the Hawkeyes this winter.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

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