Final Big Ten Power Rankings (3/6/13)
This, unfortunately – and by unfortunately, I mean fortunately, because I am sick of writing these fucking things – will be my last Power Rankings entry of the year. Fret not, however, because I will still have plenty of topics to cover. For starters, in the next couple of weeks you can look for my All-Big Ten and All-White Trash teams.
1) Indiana 25-5 (13-4): Indiana is still the best team in the country, in my not so humble opinion. However, the distance between them and the rest of the field isn’t as great as I previously thought. Last night, Indiana got physically dominated by a hungry Ohio State team. The same thing happened recently when they played Minnesota. IU’s skill is off the charts, but I am not sure they are physically tough enough to cut down the nets. Well, it really depends on what kind of scissors they buy.
That said, I still think they will win the Big Ten outright, which would be an incredibly impressive accomplishment. Thus, even though they got everyone’s hopes up last night, I think they go to Ann Arbor on Sunday and leave with a W.
Previous ranking: 1
2) Ohio State 22-7 (12-5): I am going to spend this portion of the blog giving Thad Matta a ton of credit. For years, I have been saying that Matta is a great recruiter and an average coach. I am officially changing that opinion and labeling Matta as a really, really good coach. OSU, under his direction, has been consistently efficient on offense and good to great on defense. He is also probably the best coach with regards to BLOBs and SLOBs. If you don’t know what those things are, Google it (you better not fucking use Bing).
Anyway, Ohio State has gotten a lot better this year on offense. Thomas has (relatively) struggled over the past 8 or 9 games, but their team has not. On the other side of the ball, I said a few months ago that they could be a great defensive team, and now they might be the best in the country. Hell, Aaron Craft is the only thing in the world quicker than a postgame handshake with Tom Crean.
Previously I had questioned their ceiling, but I am not longer on board with that train of thought.
Previous ranking: 5
3) Michigan State 22-7 (11-5): I still like this team’s potential to make a deep run in March. However, if they want to make a serious run at a title, Keith Appling will have to play better. I’m not talking Family-guy-pre-getting-cancelled to Family-guy-post-cancellation improvement; I’m talking Smalls-with-the-big-ass-hat to Smalls-with-the-cool-outfit-Benny-hooked-him-up-with improvement.
In my opinion, Appling’s play moving forward is really all that matters with this team. They are going to defend, rebound, score in the paint, and look meaner than the competition, but if teams can just sag off of Appling, their offense will suffer tremendously.
Previous ranking: 2
4) Michigan 25-5 (12-5): Unfortunately, for Michigan’s sake, they seem to have peaked in January. Defensively, they have gotten worse, and their low-post scoring problems aren’t going away. In addition, Burke is the only player providing them with any sort of consistency. They can still beat anyone in the country, but they could also lose in the second round of the tournament. We will see how far Trey Burke can take UM.
Previous ranking: 3
5) Wisconsin 20-9 (11-5): The Badgers are doing what they Badgers do every single year. They are playing above the talent level that they actually possess. It starts with Bo Ryan, as he knows how to get more out of his players than anyone in the regular season. I couldn’t even imagine if he coached at a school that could recruit like North Carolina or Kentucky.
When looking ahead to the dance, Wisconsin will likely have a mediocre tournament like they do every year. They’ll beat teams they are supposed to beat, and as sure as NASCAR fans flocking to a NRA rally, they will lose to a higher seed.
Previous ranking: 4
6) Minnesota 20-10 (8-9): In case you were wondering, the Gophers and I are dating again and things are really rocky. What’s not to love about a team that followed a win over the #1 team in the country with a loss to Nebraska? At least things are exciting.
With regards to their potential in the tournament, I still think Minnesota can do some damage. However, in Kindergarten I thought Umps were called “Ums” and look where that got me.
Previous ranking: 8
7) Illinois 21-10 (8-9): Interesting year for the Illini. A handful of tough losses mixed in with a few outstanding wins (@Gonzaga, vs. IU, and a blowout vs. OSU). Illinois is dangerous because of their 3 point shooting, but that is really all they do well. They are an average defensive team with no low-post presence on either end of the court.
Even though the Illini will likely finish 8-10 in the conference, I still think they will make the tournament. Considering Illinois’ struggles over the past few seasons, that is a step in the right
Previous ranking: 6
8) Iowa 19-11 (8-9): If Iowa didn’t have a non-conference Strength of Schedule ranking of 313, they would probably make the tournament. Unfortunately for them, they played Sweatpants University, The University of Bronson Arroyo, Butt University, Easter Egg Hunting Technical Institute, and the University of Texas-Pan American (actually one of their games).
You are probably thinking, “Didn’t he make a joke just like that before?”
My response: Don’t end a sentence in a preposition, and I will continue to make up fake colleges because it is really fun.
Previous ranking: 7
9) Purdue 14-16 (7-10): Purdue was this close (roughly the length of a hedgehog’s dick) to getting on my good side. However, even with their loss to Michigan, they still helped mankind in its fight against evil by beating Wisconsin. Looking at them holistically, I don’t understand Purdue’s inability to defend this year. Under Painter, they have been outstanding on that end of the court, yet they are 10th in the conference in scoring defense this year. Their offensive struggles have been well documented, but their defense is the reason they are under .500.
Previous ranking: 9
10) Nebraska 14-16 (5-12): I really think Tim Miles has this program headed in the right direction. It will be difficult, considering they have absolutely no history of success, but they have a solid fanbase that will support even their terrible teams. Nebraska is still a long ways away from being a tournament team, but I think they will get there in 3-4 years.
Previous ranking: 11
11) Northwestern 13-16 (4-12): I think it’s time for the Bill Carmody era to be finished. Not finishing above .500 in conference play in 13 years is simply unacceptable. This year, Drew Crawford’s injury really killed them, but a lot of coaches would have taken the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 squads to the tournament. If you say it can’t be done at Northwestern, look at what Pat Fitzgerald has done with their football program.
Previous ranking: 10
12) Penn State 9-19 (1-15): Obviously, great win for PSU last week. Now that they are off of the proverbial schneid, the 17 Penn State basketball fans won’t have to witness a win-less conference season. Look for PSU to be improved next year when Tim Frazier comes back from injury.
Previous ranking: 12