Sorry for the delay since the last post, but I have been busy. Ok, I haven’t really been busy at all, but in this entry busy is a synonym for lazy. That said, here are the power rankings for week whatever-the-fuck-week-it-is in the Big Ten.Today’s theme is no swearing. Thus, I will channel my inner elementary school basketball coach (unless of course your coach was an awful person who swore at little kids). I realize I already broke this rule, but from here on out I will replace foul language with really neat words.
1) Indiana 20-2(8-1): Indiana is the best team in the country. I had a hunch this was the case earlier in the season, but now I feel very strongly about this assertion. They lead the nation in 3 point shooting (which is unbelievable because there are 347 teams in Division 1), they rebound the heck out of the basketball, they are extremely balanced, and they have a ton of depth. How many teams would start Will Sheehey? The answer: pretty much every other team in the country. In the end, Indiana’s ability to score inside and out is what makes them so special.Previous ranking: 2
2) Michigan 21-2(8-2): Michigan’s low post game is what concerns me. McGary is rock solid off of the bench, but Horford and Morgan aren’t very good. This is a team that can clearly beat anyone, but because they rely so heavily on outside shooting, albeit fantastic outside shooting, they could lose to Ohio. To quote my buddy Bob, “Beilein you sound like a frickin idiot saying Ohio. Ohio frickin beat you in the tournament.” Anyway, this team could win a national championship or lose in the round of 16. Considering the fact that they haven’t been to a sweet 16 since 1994, getting there would still be an accomplishment.Previous ranking: 1
3) Michigan State 19-4(8-2): Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. Against Minnesota alone, Trice was out with concussion-like symptoms, Harris played through back spasms, Payne had an extremely bloody nose, Dawson suffered a minor ankle sprain, and Appling’s shoulder popped out of place. While the injuries are very unfortunate, in my opinion, this team has the chance to be very special. Turnovers and perimeter shooting were huge problems coming into conference play. However, during the Big Ten slate, MSU has averaged only 11.7 turnovers per game and has shot 41.7% from 3. Couple those numbers with their ability to defend every position while rebounding at a high level and we have a very good team. Not to mention State’s outstanding low-post play. Right now, a healthy MSU team is a potential top 5 caliber team. While I am at it, why don’t I list my top 10 teams in the country? This list isn’t where I think teams should be currently ranked based on wins/losses, but rather a look at the quality of each team. Sounds like a jolly good time.
4) Michigan State
5) Duke: Giving them a bump for playing pretty well without Kelly
9) Ohio State
10) Syracuse: They will probably never be in my top five because they play absolutely no one in the non-conference and they play a 2-3 zone. Seriously, only 6th graders should use that defense.Previous ranking for MSU: 4
4) Ohio State 17-5(7-3): OSU has really impressed me in the last couple of weeks. They are finally starting to get offensive contributions from guys other than Deshaun Thomas. Craft is starting to score more, Lenzelle Smith has knocked down a few jumpers, Thompson is beginning to figure out his role offensively, and Ross has been a huge spark off of the bench. Everyone who has watched OSU more than once knows that Ross is the X-factor for the rest of the season, so I apologize for repeating that sentiment. Frick on a stick. Anyway, Ohio State is a team whose ceiling is much higher than I originally thought.Previous ranking: 5
5) Wisconsin 16-7(7-3): Wisconsin is an interest case this year. On the one hand, they are exactly like they have been in the Bo Ryan era. Namely, they have big white guys who can shoot, but don’t like doing so until there is 5 seconds left in the shot clock. Their games also continue to be as boring as King of the Hill marathon. On the other hand, they are the complete opposite of a Bo Ryan team. Wisconsin is a horrific free throw shooting team who is vulnerable at home. What in tarnation is going on in Madison?? In the end, they are having another solid year and will continue their impressive tournament streak.Previous ranking: 6
6) Minnesota 17-6(5-5): Needless to say, this team has really dropped. I can’t determine if it is due to the grind of the Big Ten, or if this team’s top 10 ranking was unfounded. Either way, I don’t like what their bench is giving them on a daily basis. Ahanmisi and Welch are giving them nothing at the guard position, and Eliason, while solid, is very limited on the interior. You need some depth to survive the Big Ten gauntlet, and Minnesota’s is stinking awful. In other news, Tubby Smith didn’t see his shadow on February 2nd, so get excited about an early spring!Previous ranking: 3
7) Iowa 14-9(3-7): I know they have a conference record of 3-7, but this isn’t the Big Ten Standings, it’s the ultra-groovy B1G Power Rankings! This team has had some painfully close losses to IU, MSU, Purdue (OT), OSU, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (OT). Fortunately for them, the back half of their schedule is much easier. Look for them to finish at .500 or better at the end of the regular season. At least if Iowa doesn’t make the tournament, corn season is right around the corner.Previous ranking: 7
8) Northwestern 13-10(4-6): The Wildcats are moving on up in the world! And by world, I mean this unbelievable pathetic attempt at a blog (could have really used a good f-bomb or two there). Northwestern is actually doing pretty well considering they have been playing without their best player, Drew Crawford. Wins vs. Minnesota, @Illinois, and vs. Purdue have been impressive, although not nearly as impressive as their student section.Previous ranking: 10
9) Purdue 12-11(5-5): I’ve been hard on Purdue this year, but they have been a solid 5-5 in conference, thus far. Granted, they haven’t really beaten anyone, but being .500 in league play is rock solid. On a sort-of-related note, one thing that impressed me about Purdue was their crowd against IU. They got beat like they were playing the Alabama football team, and those people stuck it out to the end. Not to mention they were playing their rival. If Wisconsin or Michigan (or anyone for that matter) ever beat MSU in the Breslin by 37 points, I might stab someone in the Jejunum. Props to Purdue fans, and especially these two guys.Previous ranking: 9
10) Illinois 15-8 (2-7): Holy shirts and pants, Illinois. You, my friends, have been horrible in the Big Ten. The crazy thing about their record, though, is that they are actually a solid team. Earlier in the year they won at Gonzaga (#6) and beat Butler (#14) on a neutral site. I think I mention those two wins in every one of my posts, but if you don’t like it, (insert me swearing at you and telling you that I hate you – which is true).Previous ranking: 8
11) Nebraska 11-12(2-8): My friends and I were trying to think of the best player in the history of Nebraska basketball, and I can’t remember who the final choice was, but I think we narrowed it down to Bubba Sparxxx and Randy Marsh. No more comments or jokes about Nebraska basketball.Previous ranking: 11
2) Penn State 8-14 (0-10): Will Penn State win a game? Will this blog make it big? Will Honey Boo Boo’s mom ever attract a man? The answer to all three of these questions is no. While I won’t comment on Penn State, I will leave you with a beautiful picture of the greatest homecourt advantage in college basketball.
Previous ranking: 12
Next week: expect a ton of vulgarity.