Big 10 Power Rankings 12-17

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By Paul M. Banks

1. Purdue (9-0)
Their nucleus has an excellent mix of NBA level athletes, college talent that excels in their system, and tough hard-working role players. In other words, they have the blue print in place that you need to go far in March in today’s college game.

2. Michigan State (8-2)
So this a typical (H to tha) Izzo team? That redeems themselves later in the year for their early preconference missteps? Remember, a few months before they won the national title, they lost to Wright St. Yes, Wright St.

3. Northwestern (8-1)

I can’t say this high a ranking will last, but no team in the conference below them has a more impressive body of work. And look out for the freshman from Naperville Drew Crawford. When he blew up for 35 points on Sunday, it was a new high for a Big Ten player this season. NU shot 20-47 from behind the arc in that game, both conference records.

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Big Ten Power Rankings 11/12

purduecheer

By Paul M. Banks

Forget about what the Big Ten lacks in football, in hoops they’re the best or second best conference by pretty much all hoops experts. #16 Ohio State has already opened the season with a rip-roaring victory over Alcorn St. and by the end of the next couple of days, pretty much every team will have tipped off. Let’s get it started in here!

1. Michigan State

Opener 11/13 vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Look for Delvon Roe and/or Derrick Nix, to fill in where the departed Goran Suton left off. But who will take Travis Walton’s place as the top defender? Likely a team approach, until one individual asserts himself.

2. Purdue

Opener 11/13 vs. Cal-State Northridge

Their junior class is as good as any in Big Ten history. And you’ll likely see JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel playing in “the league” someday soon. And just to add more hype and pressure, the Final Four is just down the road in Indianapolis this year.

3. Ohio State (1-0)

Evan Turner is looking like a sure-fire lottery pick, and William Buford has late first round potential. In other words, the Buckeyes will be very dangerous on the wings and perimeter! They’ll likely whomp James Madison next.

4. Michigan

Opener vs. Northern Michigan 11/14

It’s been awhile since they’ve been ranked this high, preseason #15. Having 2 of the Big Ten’s 8 players on the Wooden Award watch list certainly has a lot to do with that.

5. Illinois

Opener 11/13 vs. SIU-Edwardsville

Freshman D.J. Richardson looked great (game high 23 points) in the final preseason scrimmage. Fellow frosh Brandon Paul has looked good too. They’ll be key to supplementing the nucleus of returning juniors. Big years will also be needed from wings Alex Legion and Dominique Keller. So the Illini should be at least 7 or 8 deep this winter.

6. Minnesota

Opener 11/13 vs. Tennessee Tech

Lost two spots in the rankings before they even played because their top recruit Royce White, one of the nation’s best incoming freshman, is acting like an idiotic thug, and got himself suspended. He may get himself kicked off the team before it’s all said and done.

7. Northwestern

Opener 11/13 vs. Northern Illinois

The Wildcats football team has not won a bowl game since 1949. The just-down-the-road Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. The slightly further down the road Chicago Blackhawks last won a Stanley Cup in 1961. The basketball Wildcats last made the NCAA tourney…NEVER. Is THIS the year? Maybe not for all those other teams, but it will be for NU hoops.

8. Penn State

Opener vs. Penn 11/13

Did you know they won the NIT last year? Seriously does anyone? How many NIT champions from this decade can you name? thought so. This year their schedule looks REALLY EASY the first two months…a school record for wins in a season is exceedingly possible.

9. Wisconsin

Opener 11/15 vs. IPFW

I know this pick might come back to bite me in the…but seriously they have to have a down year sometime, correct? If you look at this roster it screams “down year”. It also says “lots of big slow white guys.”

10. Indiana

Opener 11/13 vs. Howard

The faster Maurice Creek develops, the faster they move up the ladder. Do you think Tom Crean is having seller’s remorse yet? Let’s ask that again when he’s getting whomped by 30 every night during conference season.

11. Iowa

Opener 11/15 vs. UT-San Antonio

You know how all the animals go and hide underground before a devastating storm comes in? Somehow they just know, like all the smart players who transferred out of Iowa city this off-season. They all knew what they were doing. This team should be even worse than Indiana last year. 

Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings

CBS SPORTS

“ONIONS!!!!   SEND IT IN!!!”

By Paul M. Banks

It’s Big Ten Basketball Media Day, and you know what that means? College basketball  season has officially begun! Well, actually it sort of began a couple weeks ago when Midnight Madness occurred and practices began. But nevertheless, college hoops season is almost here. msu-dance-teamAnd to quote the famous Christmas Carol, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

1. Michigan State (31-7, 15-3)
Spartans return a good portion of the top guns from last year’s National runner-up team. With Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan and Durrell Summers back, the Izzone will have lots to get excited about this winter. Look for Delvon Roe to take a big step forward too.

2. Purdue (27-10, 11-7) A sweet sixteen appearance last year proved that the Baby Boilers are now all grown up, and established Matt Painter as a very strong branch in his legendary coaching tree.

3. Ohio State (22-11, 10-8) Imagine what they could have been had B.J. Mullens returned. He was one of just two Big Ten ballers to be drafted last season. Evan Turner (possible lottery pick) and David Lighty could follow.

4. Illinois (24-10, 11-7) If Mike Davis or incoming freshman D.J. Richardson can replace the departed Chester Frazier’s defense, it’ll be another year of progress in Champaign. But it’s all an appetizer for the main course in 2010-11- when they could be dominant.

5. Michigan (21-14, 9-9) Finally broke through to the tournament last season. However, they’re still a 2-man team. Then again Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims are no ordinary men. Look for them to be a tougher out this season.

6. Minnesota (22-11, 9-9) Finally broke through to the tournament last season. How valuable will Tubby Time be this season? Depends on what he gets out of Damian Johnson and Lawrence Westbrook.

7. Northwestern (17-14, 8-10) The ‘Cats went from laughing stock to NIT (and one win shy of the school record for victories) in just one season. Do they take the next step up this year? I asked the boss himself, NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips, and he responded “I say this both intellectually and emotionally. I believe it’s going to happen. I don’t know if it’s going to be this year, but I think we are going to get to the tournament. Recruiting is going well, and in future years I think we’ll have a nice nucleus.”

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8. Penn State (22-11, 10-8) They still have their star point guard with a porn star name, Talor Battle, but little else. The Nittany Lions’ nickname begins with NIT for a reason.

9. Wisconsin (20-13, 10-8) The swing offense is so boring, it could make LeBron James unexciting to watch. Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration, but this team will win quite a few 48-44 games, and continue besmirching the national reputation of the Big Ten. Look for Bo Ryan to overachieve and make more than you could ever believe out of what he has- yet again.

10. Indiana (6-25, 1-17) It certainly will be a step up from last year, but then again how could things get worse? At least they have football…oh wait. Keep an eye on Jeremiah Rivers, Doc’s kid.

11. Iowa (15-17, 5-13) And you thought they were boring in football? At least they win ugly on the gridiron, here they’re just plain ugly to watch. They could easily break 20+ losses, as all their top players from last year’s team, a very bad one, are gone. But here below, you’ll find something much easier to look at.

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