Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Big Ten Power Poll - 12.29.2010

 My ballot for this week's Star Tribune Big 10 Power Poll, which you can find here at Myron Medcalf's blog page:

1.  Ohio State Buckeyes.  An absolute crushing of Tennessee-Martin does nothing to hurt their status.  They are still looking like they are head and shoulders above everybody else in the conference.

2.  Purdue Boilermakers.  It's a good thing for the rest of the conference that Robbie Hummel got hurt because JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore are basically unstoppable.  They completely destroyed Michigan in Ann Arbor, and any time you can beat a Big Ten foe in their arena by more than 20 you deservea big bump up.

3.  Michigan State Spartans.  Looking at their roster they might be the best team in the conference, but it's tough to know what to make of them since they were just 1-4 against good teams.  Three of the losses are pretty explainable, but a truly elite team doesn't lose to Texas by double-digits at home.  If this wasn't a Tom Izzo team I'd be pretty concerned.

4.  Illinois Fighting Illini.  Back-to-back poor shooting nights and late game collapses have the Illini riding a two-game losing streak as they head to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to take on Iowa.  They way they collapsed in the final minute in both of their recent losses is a huge read flag.  I will personally guarantee you this team loses in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

5.  Wisconsin Badgers.  Looking fairly solid, but how good can a team be when they rely almost completely on the three-pointer?  They're going to beat some teams they shouldn't when they're hot, and lose to some teams they shouldn't when they are ice cold.  Also they're boring and I hate them.

6.  Minnesota Gophers.  The loss to Wisconsin in Madison wasn't unexpected, but it's still disappointing.  They just seem like something is missing.  I thought the return of Nolen would bring whatever it was back, but this still doesn't look anything like the same team that won the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, and I don't even know why or what exactly it is. 

7.  Northwestern Wildcats.  I don't know how to describe them other than pathetic.  They've absolutely dominated some really terrible teams, but as soon as they run up against a half-way decent, but probably not tournament type, squad in St. Johns they roll-over and die.  They're going to need to go at least 10-8 in conference to get an at-large bid.  Just an awful schedule, I have no idea what they were thinking.

8.  Michigan Wolverines.  So much for being a mini-sleeper in conference.  You can't be a surprise team if you can't at least defend your home court, and against Purdue on Tuesday they were completely defenseless.

9.  Penn State Nittany Lions.  I can't move them up any higher thanks to that loss to Maine, but beating Indiana on the road was a big first step for Penn State.  Their road to an at-large bid is razor thin so every game is huge, and that was one they definitely needed.

10.  Iowa Hawkeyes.  The Hawkeyes get a chance to take on an Illinois team that is coming off back-to-back losses, one understandable (Missouri) and one not (UIC).  With the game in Iowa City the Hawkeyes have a huge opportunity to get a big win.

11.  Indiana Hoosiers.  It's awfully tough to find any good things to say about Indiana right now.  They had a rough go of it in the holiday tournament they played in Vegas. losing to Colorado and Northern Iowa, and then came home and lost their Big Ten opener to Penn State in Bloomington.  They have 9 wins, but 7 are against some of the worst teams in the country and the other two are against teams that are merely bad.  This could get ugly.

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