Note: projections will not include my predictions for the Big Ten basketball tournament, nor any March Madness predictions.
Perhaps the most underrated and overlooked program in the country right now.
Another consecutive sweet 16 and more looks likely.
A couple signature wins. Kentucky is #18, and now with the win over Louisville, they’ll shoot up the chart. Road win at Texas was a superlative resume builder too.
Looked really good at Wisconsin, in what is as tough a game as they’ll have this seen.
Illini are #10 in the nation in RPI. Took care of PSU handily for once. Which is refreshing as they always struggle with the lowly Lions.
7. Minnesota Golden Gophers 12-3 (1-1) + projected 9-9 in Big Ten basketball = 19-11 NIT/NCAA Tournament bubble
Their RPI is 50, and they seemed to destined to do the same they always do, give us plenty of “NCAA bubble” watch stories come March.
8. Michigan Wolverines 10-4 (2-0)+ projected 9-9 in Big Ten basketball = 18-12 NIT
The ankle injury to Glenn Robinson III was not serious, but this team is still without Mitch McGary. The losses will come when they play the league’s better teams. And Kate Upton will jump off the bandwagon. If she hasn’t already.
Not the greatest start to conference play. Boilers are 144th in the nation in field goal percentage.
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers 8-6 (0-2) + projected 5-13 in Big Ten basketball = 13-16 NOTHING
Better days are ahead for this program. I don’t exactly when those days will come, but things will improve. After all, Tim Miles is witty and possesses good comedic timing. It’s got to count for something, right?
They can score; especially from the backcourt. They just can’t defend and their front line is weak. One of the league’s powers will come to State College and lose though. It happens every year. It’s a very difficult place to get to and the pain-the-ass-commute will make some visiting road teams sluggish and they’ll fall.
12. Northwestern Wildcats 7-8 (0-2) + projected 2-16 in Big Ten basketball = 9-22 NOTHING
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments discussing, Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Bears and Bulls on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)