A quick thought before I get to this week's rankings:
Bump both Duke and Georgetown down just a bit, as both have weaknesses that could be exposed. I watched Duke get shredded - again - by quick guards who can penetrate. That could kill them in the tournament. Not quite as big a concern, but Georgetown's Roy Hibbert got killed by Syracuse's Arinze Onuaku. Onuaku was only able to play 25 minutes due to fouls, and thus only scored 13, but put on a clinic everytime he got the ball in the paint against Hibbert. It was so bad, that at one point Hibbert was fronting Onuaku. Hibbert stands 7-2, while Onuaku is 6-9. He was fronting him. I said it last year, and I'll say it again: whoever drafts Hibbert is going to get an all-time bust of a player. Yet he's still projected late lottery. I don't get it.
1. Purdue - I don't see any way you don't have them at the top. Leading the Big Ten and have won 11 straight games. With only 2 tough games remaining, they could end up with a pretty nice seed in the NCAA tournament. Not sure if they're tournament ready, but then again, I didn't think they'd own the Big Ten either.
2. Wisconsin - What I like about the Badgers is they just take care of business. Not a single bad loss on their record, although I'm sure they expected to beat Purdue in Madison. They could surprise in the tournament.
3. Indiana - Obviously they drop like a rock if D.J. White is hurt for the season, which wouldn't exactly be a total shock. The guy is an absolute stud, the best player in the Big Ten, and more fragile than Fred Taylor. It looks like it's just a sprain, and that's good news. As good as Eric Gordon and the other guards are, there's nobody on the team that can even come to close to stepping in for DJ.
4. Michigan State - This team freakin' baffles me. After a very impressive non-conference showing, they've turned into a middle of the road Big Ten team. Losses to Iowa and Penn State are absolutely brutal for a supposed top team. They're only road wins are against the two worst teams in the conference in Northwestern and Minnesota. They're either making a run to the elite 8 or getting bounced in round 1, more likely the latter.
5. Ohio State - No team is more firmly entrenched in their spot than the Buckeyes, even after the loss at Michigan yesterday. I don't see them moving up, or down, anytime soon. I also don't see them getting in the tournament, meaning only four from the Big Ten this year. They still have time to do some damage, with Wisconsin, Purdue, and Michigan State coming to Columbus and a game at Indiana, but they'll have to play well. If they end up 2-2 in that stretch, that leaves them 20-11 and 11-7 in a weak Big Ten, with wins against Syracuse and Florida (bubble teams as well) in the NC. Good enough? Maybe.
6. Michigan - Don't look now, but the Wolverines are streaking with three straight wins and have a cupcake of a schedule the rest of the way, starting by going to visit the helpless and hopeless Gophers on Thursday. The one-two punch of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims is starting to get it done.
7. Iowa - It gets pretty tough to rank teams 7-10, as they're all pretty schizophrenic. I'm going to go with Iowa at the top, as you can pretty much count on them to be tough on their home court, and their defense and style at least makes them a threat to beat teams. Not good teams, but teams, nevertheless.
8. Illinois - I still can't believe how bad these guys are. Weber should probably be fired. Still, a 24 point road win and a 1 point road loss out of any team in this bottom group should have them pretty jazzed.
9. Penn State - Could easily flip them with the Illini, especially since they beat them by 1 at home. I chalk it up to Illinois still be giddy after winning the easiest game in the history of their program.
10. Minnesota - Let's move on. Nothing to discuss.
11. Northwestern - If there was any possible way I could move them up to #10, I would. But there isn't. Worst basketball team ever.
Syracuse +10.5 @ Louisville
Texas A&M +5.5 @ Texas
San Diego +7.5 vs. Gonzaga
Rhode Island PK vs. Xavier
Providence +6.5 vs. Georgetown