Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Big Ten Power Poll - 12.21.2010

My Big 10 power poll for the week.  Once again, you can see the total results on Myron Medcalf's blog on startribune.com, usually updated mid-day Wednesday.  Last week's results are here.

1.  Ohio State Buckeyes.  As the late great Fred Durst once sang, "Keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin', keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin', keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin, keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin."  Quite the wordsmith.  Seriously though, Jared Sullinger is what nightmares are made of. 

2.  Michigan State Spartans.  Have a good chance to help remind everybody how good they actually are on Wednesday when the play Texas.  On one hand, the schedule has been brutal.  On the other, they're just 1-3 against good teams.  Even if those teams are some of the best in the country, Michigan State is supposed to be there too.  They may not NEED to beat Texas, but it would sure help. 

3.  Illinois Fighting Illini.  The loss to Paul Carter and UIC is likely just a blip on the radar, but going 0-3 shooting and turning the ball over twice all in the final 15 seconds of a close game against an inferior opponent may be symptomatic of a larger issue - lack of a ball handler.  I know McCamey has the assist numbers, but you can't convince me he's a true point guard.  You watch, that will be their achilles heel come March.

4.  Wisconsin Badgers.  Somebody needs to step up and claim this fourth spot, but lately all four teams who could be worthy here have been playing cupcakes.  I'm going with the Badgers here on the strength of their big win over Marquette, even if it was a week ago.  Nobody cares about beating Green Bay.  Especially the Vikings. 

5.  Minnesota Gophers.  On one hand, their tournament resume looks great thanks to wins over North Carolina, West Virginia, and a handful of mid-majors who have tournament aspirations.  On the other hand, I've seen with my own eyes their slow starts and poor defense since Al Nolen went down, but luckily it was during the easiest part of their schedule so they only ended up with one loss.  Was it just missing Nolen, or is it something larger?  We'll find out, or at least get a clue, on Thursday when he returns against South Dakota State - a team that already beat Iowa this year.

6.  Purdue Boilermakers.  You know, this team really doesn't have much of a resume right now.  The have so-so wins over Oakland, Alabama, and Virginia Tech, but nothing that really stands out.  Their only game against a truly good team was the loss versus Richmond.  I actually think they're better than the 6th best team in the conference, I'd probably put them third or fourth based on talent, but until they show it - and figure out who is going to help out Moore and Johnson - I've got to put them here.  

7.  Michigan Wolverines.  Wins over Clemson, Utah, and Oakland show that Michigan isn't going to be a pushover this year, and their near miss against Syracuse shows that they can play well enough to upset some people.  They aren't going to be in the NCAA Tournament this year, but things are finally starting to move in the right direction for John Beilein.  Maybe addition by subtraction is a real thing after all.  

8.  Northwestern Wildcats.  I was actually becoming a believer.  I had them all penciled in for the fifth spot based on their ability to take care of business and blow out the bad teams they were playing, all I needed was a little proof that they could handle a decent opponent.  Like St. John's, who they played in the MSG Holiday Festival Championship.  Who blew them away, handing the Wildcats a loss in their only chance to pick up a quality win outside the conference.  With their god awful schedule, it's going to be an uphill battle for them to make their first NCAA Tournament.

9.  Indiana Hoosiers.  The 9-2 record looks pretty, but they've beaten up on some really bad teams while losing in their only two "real" contests (vs. Kentucky and vs. Boston College).  I'm really looking forward to seeing how they handle this week's Las Vegas Classic, where they get Northern Iowa in the first round and then either New Mexico or Colorado.  This game could go a long way towards telling us if the Hoosiers are an upset threat, or just hopeless for another season.

10.  Iowa Hawkeyes.  Actually manage to get out of the cellar on my ballot, something I didn't think would happen at any point this year.  I also didn't think they'd win five games all year, and they already have eight after beating Louisiana Tech.  I know think they'll probably win four Big Ten games:  one against Penn State, one against Indiana, and two shockers.  Let's hope one of them isn't against the Gophers. 

11.  Penn State Nittany Lions.  Ouch.  The loss to Maine essentially guarantees that Talor Battle's career will end without a single NCAA Tournament appearance.  Missing on every opportunity to get a good win and then piling on this bad loss is just an ugly, ugly start to the season, and disappointing on many, man levels.  On the bright side, Jeff Brooks has stepped up to give them a legit second option behind Battle.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem to matter.

Two final things:

1.  I am now desperately in love with Emma Stone

2.  This is the funniest video ever, and it's not even close (no sound needed):

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