Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big Ten Power Poll - 11.16.2010

I was lucky enough to be a part of the Star Tribune's Myron Medcalf's power poll, which I will link to once he gets it up and running tomorrow.  My submission is here:

(Link to the poll, now up and running)

1.  Ohio State Buckeyes.  Not only do they have the biggest and most impressive win after beating Florida tonight, but their one possible weakness - point guard - doesn't look like a weakness any more.  Freshman Aaron Craft has 14 assists against just 3 turnovers in their two games.  Oh, and fellow freshman Jared Sullinger is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds.  Look out.

2.  Michigan State Spartans.  Off the court issues and injuries don't seem to be affecting Sparty, and I don't know why I would ever doubt an Izzo team.  They head to Maui next week, where we should get an idea if they're a national title favorite, or merely a contender.

3.  Illinois Fighting Illini.  We'll know more about Illinois after this week's Coaches vs. Cancer tourney where they play Texas and either Maryland or Pitt, but they've looked good in their three games since struggling in their exhibition contests.

4.  Minnesota Gophers.  If you're ranking the quality of wins by Big Ten teams thus far, the Gophers probably have #2 and #3 with their wins over Wofford and Siena.  The only problem is the Siena game exposed a few too many flaws to put them in the upper tier.  Like several other Big Ten teams they're in an upcoming tournament with several other qualities teams and we'll know more after we see how that shakes out. 

5. Purdue Boilermakers.  Tough to know how they're going to be with Hummel on the shelf when their only game was against Howard.  I'm slotting them below the Gophers due to Minnesota's two quality wins already, but above Wisconsin since they made the Sweet 16 last year with basically the same team.

6. Wisconsin Badgers.  Beating up on Prairie View and North Dakota isn't going to impress anybody.  Going to UNLV this weekend and playing the Rebels right when they get Tre'Von Willis back will.

7.  Northwestern Wildcats.  Got to give the Cats for opening on the road and taking care of business, but their non-conference schedule is so weak this year it would take monumental collapses from the teams above them for Northwestern to move up in this poll before conference play starts.  It may also keep them from their first NCAA bid.

8. Indiana Hoosiers.  Indiana is out to a 3-0 start, and even if they haven't really played anybody their win over a so-so Wright State team by 23 is the most impressive win out of the conference's bottom feeders.

9.  Penn State Nittany Lions.  Barely knocked off St. Joseph's tonight.  This does not bode well for Talor Battle's chances to finally make it to an NCAA Tournament.

10. Michigan Wolverines.  Played, and beat, a team in South Carolina Upstate that I'm not even sure is Division I in their opener.  Although I suppose if they stick to that level of competition it's pretty much the only way they'll have a good season.

11.  Iowa Hawkeyes.  If there was any doubt who the worst team in the Big Ten was going to be this year, and their probably shouldn't have been, the Hawkeyes erased it by losing to South Dakota State.  When Gatens is back from injury they might have enough offense to steal an upset win here or there, but I can't foresee any possible way they move out of this 11th spot at any point.

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