Big Ten Power Rankings: Non-conference
First of all (I can almost guarantee I forget to add a “second of all” later in this post), I hope you all missed me during these last 8 months. You are probably thinking, “Hey Mike, I thought you were going to post during football season. Why did you lie to us and crush our hopes and dreams?” Well, the answer is simple: Taking an hour of out of my day, every other week, is clearly too much work for a young professional with no life.
For those of you who are new to the blog, every other week during the college basketball season I rank each Big Ten team while making a few jokes along the way. My blog has been described by Abraham Lincoln as, “The Trillest thing I have ever read.” Furthermore, Christopher Walken has deemed it, “a refreshing insight into the inter-workings of the Big Ten Conference. It is truly an honor to read this blog.” Anyway, happy Thanksgiving, everyone, or as the critically acclaimed film ThanksKilling so eloquently stated, “Gobble Gobble mother fucker.” Enjoy the post.
1) Michigan State: Ranked #11 in the country in football and #1 in basketball, I would say it is a pretty good time to be a MSU fan. If it weren’t for Ohio State (or as Brady Hoke would like to call them, “Err…ummm….errr….Ohio), I would consider MSU to have the best athletic department in the country.
Anyway, with regards to this year’s basketball team, MSU is absolutely stacked. State has 4 guys who I would argue are in the top 5 of their respective positions across the country; Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne. Harris, in my opinion, is the best 2 guard in the nation. MSU is also fairly deep, with 2 guys in Valentine and Trice that would start for a lot of Big Ten teams. Costello and Schilling provide quality beef upfront, while guys like Gauna, Ellis and Byrd are still trying to crack the playing group.
At the end of the day, MSU is the best team in the conference, in my opinion.
2) Ohio State: Just like last year, OSU’s defense will be incredible, but scoring will likely be an issue. Ohio State’s offense improved a ton last year, however, so maybe that will happen once again. With the departure of Deshaun Thomas, guys like Lenzelle Smith Jr., LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson need to step up to fill the scoring void. The emergence of Amir Williams should help out as well. Either way, they will assuredly have member of my All-White Trash Team, which is really the only thing that matters in college basketball. Congrats to Amedeo Della Valle for his amazing accomplishment.
3) Wisconsin: The Badgers will do what the Badgers do, and simply be rock solid all year. Wisconsin continues to prove that White guys can, in fact, jump (and by jump, I mean take charges, hustle, shoot 3s and play with impeccable fundamentals). All jokes aside, I actually like this particular Wisconsin team a lot. I can’t believe how much Frank Kaminski improved over the summer, and that is really a credit to Bo Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff. Those guys get it done every year, and there is something to be said about that kind of consistency.
4) Michigan: Michigan is going through a pretty rough stretch at the moment. They have a shitty football team with a lame-duck coach who will be around for at least another year, their president got hammered and gave a half-time speech, and their basketball team has already lost 2 games this season. That being said, Michigan basketball is clearly on the right path as a program. Beilein can flat-out coach, and he continues to find quality talent. Hell, they had a great season last year and will be a top 25 team during the 2013/2014 campaign.
At the moment, Michigan is simply struggling to adjust to life without Trey Burke, who was one of the best guards to play in the Big Ten in a long time. Fortunately, they have enough talent to at LEAST be a quality tournament team this year, with the potential to make serious noise again in March.
5) Iowa: I have a man-crush on Iowa and I have since last year. It’s not quite on the Brad Pitt level, but probably closer to Rider Strong. I really just like the pace that they play, as well as the guys on their roster. Iowa goes a legitimate 10-deep, with a ton of veterans including Roy Devyn Marble, Aaron White, Zack McCabe, and Melsahn Basabe. Iowa probably won’t contend for a Big Ten title, but they are a lock for the NCAA tournament which will be a huge step for their program.
6) Indiana: According to IU’s fanbase, you would think they won a national championship last year. Well, I guess they did win one award. Tom Crean was given the “Most Claps in a Season” trophy. He also finished second to Gene Keady in the "Weirdest Hair of All-Time" category. Congrats Tom.
Oh yeah, Indiana should be pretty good this year. It’s tough not to like Yogi Ferrel as a PG, and Noah Vonleh is going to be a lottery pick. Will Sheehey needs to play like a star this year if they want to make some noise in March.
7) Illinois: The 6 teams mentioned above are the only “locks” to make the tournament out of the conference. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t depth in the Big Ten this year. Illinois, while not really having any depth, has a solid roster. Transfers Jon Ekey and Rayvonte Rice have been huge for the Illini, while returners like Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu have been steady. Look for Illinois to be a bubble team all year. No jokes here = no fucks given.
8) Purdue: Not a whole lot to say about Purdue, or the rest of the teams for that matter. PU will be really average and probably won’t make the tournament. That said, how about a joke?
Wasn’t that a good one?
(Again, for those of you who are new to the blog, this is where I become a huge asshole).
9) Penn State: In all honesty, I am really rooting for PSU this year. After Tim Frazier’s unfortunate injury last year, they could use a good season. They still have the worst fanbase in the conference, and I’ll probably make a few jokes about that as the season progresses.
10) Minnesota: I have actually watched the Gophers a few times this year, and they are worse than spending Thanksgiving alone (I should have you all know that I am currently spending Thanksgiving alone, and in my self-deprecating state, I thought I would make myself feel worse). Minnesota sucks, and they are dumb for firing Tubby Smith and hiring a 16 year old kid. This isn’t the movie Little Big League, this is real life.
11) Nebraska: I actually like head coach Tim Miles, but this program is as garbage as ever. No more comments for this crustier-than-the-Krusty-Krab team.
12) Northwestern: This team is going to be horrible. Nothing more to say. Oh, and here is another joke:
Shit, I already used that one. Fugg it.