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. 

2009-2010 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Part 3 of 4

purdue hoops

By: David Kay

It gets real next week.  Most teams in the country are beating up on smaller division schools this week in exhibition games (unless you’re Syracuse and being upset by some Division II school called Le Moyne.)  The countdown to the opening tip of the season continues with Part 3 of The Sports Bank’s week long Big Ten preview, breaking down the top teams in the conference.

Michigan State saved face for the Big Ten last season with their run to the NCAA Championship game.  Only the Spartans and Purdue made it into the Sweet 16 and both teams will not only be the teams to beat in the Big Ten this season, but if they can stay healthy, figure to be Final Four contenders.  Ohio State has the most talented player in the conference in Evan Turner and should be a Top 20 caliber team throughout the season.

1. Purdue (T-2nd B10, 11-7 in B10, 27-10 overall, NCAA Sweet 16)

2009-2010 Outlook:
The Boilermakers underachieved during conference play last season, mainly because of nagging injuries to Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer.  Assuming Hummel and Kramer can remain healthy, their top six players return including JaJuan Johnson who drastically improved in his sophomore season.  A lack of experience off the bench will be a concern for Matt Painter’s team, but their top six is talented enough to lead Purdue to the Big Ten title.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: JaJuan Johnson (Jr)/Sandi Marcius (Fr)
F: Robbie Hummel (Jr)/Patrick Bade (Fr)
G: Chris Kramer (Sr)/D.J. Byrd (Fr)/Kelsey Barlow (Fr)
G: E’Twuan Moore (Jr)/Ryne Smith (So)
PG: Lewis Jackson (So)/Keaton Grant (Sr)

Gone: C-Nemenja Calasan, F-Marcus Green

jajuna johnsonPlayer to Watch: Johnson- In a drunken conversation, a friend of mine made the mistake of declaring that Johnson would one day be one of the top ten big men in the NBA.  He has received endless criticism for that statement as my friends and I now compare Johnson to the likes of Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. In all seriousness, Johnson came out of nowhere to be an effective big man for the Boilermakers.  If that growth continues, Purdue could be a Final Four contender.

2. Michigan State (1st, 15-3, 31-7, National Runner-up)

kalin-lucas2009-2010 Outlook:
Sparty really hit their stride during their run to the national title game.  Yet a few question marks surround the team heading into this season, most noticeably down low.  Freshmen Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman will have to provide some muscle inside for MSU.  Raymar Morgan should be more of a factor this season seeing as he was slowed by health issues last season.  Kalin Lucas is one of the top floor leaders in the country and Delvon Roe should only get better in his second season.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Delvon Roe (So)/Tom Herzog (Jr)/Garrick Sherman (Fr)
PF: Draymond Green (So)/Derrick Nix (Fr)
SF: Raymar Morgan (Sr)/Austin Thornton (So)
SG: Durrell Summers (Jr)/Chris Allen (So)
PG: Kalin Lucas (Jr)/Korie Lucious (So)

Gone: C-Goran Suton, G-Travis Walton, F/C-Marquise Gray, C-Idong Ibok

Player to Watch: Morgan- The 2008-2009 season was a rough one for Morgan.  He was bothered by an illness in the middle of the year then broke his nose in the Sweet 16, never finding his groove.  Still, Morgan fought through that adversity and was able to contribute to the Spartans’ success.  If Morgan can build off an impressive sophomore season that saw him become an intriguing NBA prospect, he could be the boost State needs to hang another Big Ten banner.

EvanTurner3. Ohio State (T-4th, 10-8, 22-11, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
Had B.J. Mullens made the smart decision and returned to the Buckeyes for his sophomore season, I would strongly consider picking OSU to win the conference.  Mullens was an idiot and decided to turn pro, but everybody else is back including Mr. Do-It-All, Evan Turner.  David Lighty also returns from a broken bone in his foot that forced him to sit out all of last season.  Dallas Lauderdale provides toughness inside and Jon Diebler can light it up from deep.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Dallas Lauderdale (Jr)/Kyle Madsen (Sr)/Zisis Sarakopoulus (So)
G/F: David Lighty (Sr)/Nikola Kecman (So)
G/F: Evan Turner (Jr)/Walter Offutt (So)
SG: Willian Buford (So)/Jeremie Simmons (Sr)
G: Jon Diebler (Jr)/P.J. Hill (Sr)

Gone: C-B.J. Mullens

Player to Watch: Buford- In his freshman year, Buford had a quiet, but successful season for the Buckeyes.  He was highly-recruited coming out of high school and should only get better, providing Turner with a valuable second option on the perimeter.  Buford could potentially bolt Columbus after this season for the NBA, but will need to better establish himself as the scorer that many think he is capable of becoming.  If he makes that stride, OSU could surprise and capture the conference crown.

The Sports Bank Big 10 Preview Continues:
Tuesday: Teams 8-11 (Northwestern, Penn State, Indiana, Iowa)
Wednesday: Teams 4-7 (Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin)
Friday: Big Ten Award Predictions

The Sports Bank Big 12 Previews/Power Rankings:
Teams 10-12 (Colorado, Texas Tech, Nebraska)
Teams 7-9 (Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State)
Teams 4-6 (Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M)
Teams 1-3 (Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma)

The Sports Bank ACC Previews/Power Rankings:
Teams 10-12 (Virginia Tech, Virginia, N.C. State)
Teams 7-9 (Wake Forest, Miami FL, Boston College)
Teams 4-6 (Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech)
Teams 1-3 (UNC, Duke, Maryland)

The Sports Bank SEC Previews/Power Rankings:
SEC East Teams 4-6 (Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia)
SEC East Teams 1-3 (Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida)
SEC West Teams 4-6 (Arkansas, Auburn, LSU)
SEC West Teams 1-3 (Mississippi State, Mississippi, Alabama)

The Sports Bank Pac-10 Preview/Power Rankings:
Teams 8-10 (Washingon State, Arizona State, Stanford)
Teams 5-7 (Arizona, USC, Oregon)
Teams 1-4 (Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Cal)

The Sports Bank Big East Previews/Power Rankings

Teams 13-16 (Rutgers, South Florida, Providence, DePaul)
Teams 9-12 (Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette, St. John’s)
Teams 5-8 (Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, Seton Hall)
Teams 1-4 (Villanova, West Virginia, UConn, Georgetown)
Post-Season Award Predictions

For all the latest college basketball info, you can follow David Kay on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB

2009-2010 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Part 2 of 4

illiniuc

By: David Kay

The middle of Big Ten was filled with mediocrity last season as demonstrated by the fact that eight teams finished with conference records between 11-7 and 8-10.  Some of that can be chalked up to opponents beating up on each other on a nightly basis and there being no real “gimme” (except for Indiana.)  Some of that can also be chalked up to young teams still trying to find their niche as a team.

Once again there will only be one gimme game in conference play, whoever is taking on Iowa.  But one of the reasons the Big Ten will be in the discussion as the toughest conferences in the country is because of the strength of the middle teams in the standings.  Realistically, all four of the following teams have a chance at moving into the top three if things fall in place.  I expect three of these teams to be dancing come March, with the seventh team, Wisconsin firmly on the bubble.

manny harris

4. Michigan (T-7th, 9-9, 21-14, NCAA Second Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
Jon Beilien’s makeover of the Michigan basketball program paid dividends last season as the Wolverines made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in more than a decade.  This year, the expectations are even higher.  Michigan returns their top five scorers including All-Big Ten candidates and likely future NBA’ers Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.  As always, Beilein’s team will live and die by the trifecta.  When they are feeling it from deep, the Wolverines will be tough to beat.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Zack Gibson (Sr)/Ben Cronin (Fr)/Jordan Morgan (Fr)
F: DeShawn Sims (Sr)/Anthony Wright (Jr)/Blake McLimans (Fr)
G: Zach Novak (So)/Matt Vogrich (Fr)
G: Manny Harris (Jr)/Laval Lucas-Perry (So)/Eso Akunne (Fr)
PG: Stu Douglass (So)/Darius Morris (Fr)

Gone: G-C.J. Lee, PG-Kelvin Grady (playing football), PG-David Merritt

Player to Watch: Harris- “Manny Fresh” (as many ESPN analysts so un-cleverly refer to him as) is one of the purest scorers in the country.  He can attack the basket, stroke it from deep, and rebounds the ball very well for a guard.  However, his shot selection is still very questionable, as is his leadership ability.  If he can become more of a team player, the sky is the limit for him and the Wolverines this season.

tubby smith

5. Minnesota (T-7th, 9-9, 22-11, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
Tubby ball is in effect in the Twin Cities.  In just his second year at Minnesota, Tubby re-gained respectability for the Gopher basketball program.  His team was very deep last season as eleven players saw at least ten minutes of court time per game.  With their full-court defensive pressure, that type of depth is needed.  Tubby also continued his recruiting abilities landing highly touted forwards Royce White and Rodney Williams.  There is some recent concern with the indefinite suspensions of White and Devron Bostick along with Marquette transfer Trevor Mbakwe yet to be cleared to play.  Still, the future continues to be bright for Minnesota.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Ralph Sampson III (So)/Colton Iverson (So)
PF: Paul Carter (Jr)/Trevor Mbakwe (Jr)/Royce White (Fr)
F: Damien Johnson (Sr)/Rodney Williams (Fr)
SG: Lawrence Westbrook (Sr)/Blake Hoffarber (Jr)/Devron Bostick (Sr)
PG: Al Nolen (Jr)/Devoe Joseph (So)/Justin Cobbs (Fr)

Gone: G/F-Jamal Abu-Shamala, G-Travis Busch (transfer-Colorado State)

Player to Watch: Johnson- With Tubby’s ferocious style of defensive play, it helps to have one of the league’s best defenders in Johnson.  He can also hold his own on the offensive end as he was second on the Gophers averaging 9.8 points per game.  He might be one of the most under the radar players in the conference.

80157105CC063_Illinois_Figh6. Illinois (T-2nd, 11-7, 24-10, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
The past several years, Illinois has been a team that has relied on its solid guard play.  Having lost three perimeter players is a major loss, but highly recruited freshmen D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul should help fill the void.  Mike and Mike (Tisdale and Davis) made major jumps last season and will need to continue to improve for Illinois to compete in the vastly improved Big Ten.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Mike Tisdale (Jr)/Richard Semrau (Jr)/Stan Simpson (Fr)
PF: Mike Davis (Jr)/Dominique Keller (Sr)/Tyler Griffey (Fr)
G/F: Alex Legion (Jr)/Joseph Bertrand (Fr)
G: D.J. Richardson (Fr)/Brandon Paul (Fr)
G: Demetri McCamey (Jr)/Jeffery Jordan (Jr)

Gone: PG-Chester Frazier, SG-Trent Meacham, G/F-Calvin Brock

Player to Watch: Legion- When Legion transferred from Kentucky, it was a highly anticipated get for the Illinois program.  However, Legion never found his niche once he became eligible and often looked lost on the court.  There is no doubting his potential, but will he be able to put it all together and become a consistent contributor?

7. Wisconsin (T-4th, 10-8, 20-13, NCAA Second Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:
If Big Ten teams have learned anything, it is do not underestimate Bo Ryan’s coaching ability.  His teams will always get after it on the defensive end and be very disciplined with their swing offense.  This year may be Ryan’s biggest challenge as he lacks a go-to player and a lot of depth, especially up-front.  Still, expect the Badgers to once again make some noise.  Highly recruited freshman guard Diamond Taylor left the team after being charged with three counts of burglary in his first week on campus.  Dumb.

TREVONHUGHES405_1231

Projected Depth Chart
C: Keaton Nankivil (Jr)/Jared Berggren (Fr)/Ian Markholf (So)/J.P. Gavinski (Jr)
PF: Jon Leuer (Jr)/Mike Bruesewitz (Fr)
SF: Tim Jarmusz (Jr)/Ryan Evans (Fr)
SG: Jason Bohannon (Sr)/Rob Wilson (So)
PG: Trevon Hughes (Sr)/Jordan Taylor (So)

Gone: PF-Marcus Landry, F-Joe Krabbenhoft, F/C-Kevin Gullikson

Player to Watch: Leuer- At 6-10, Leuer is loaded with talent and versatility.  He can stroke it from deep, put the ball on the floor, and has a nice skill set in the post.  Becoming more physical, especially on the defensive end, is a must if the Badgers are to get back to the tourney.

The Sports Bank Big 10 Preview Continues:
Tuesday: Teams 8-11 (Northwestern, Penn State, Indiana, Iowa)
Thursday: Teams 1-3
Friday: Big Ten Award Predictions

The Sports Bank Big 12 Previews/Power Rankings:
Teams 10-12 (Colorado, Texas Tech, Nebraska)
Teams 7-9 (Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State)
Teams 4-6 (Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M)
Teams 1-3 (Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma)

The Sports Bank ACC Previews/Power Rankings:
Teams 10-12 (Virginia Tech, Virginia, N.C. State)
Teams 7-9 (Wake Forest, Miami FL, Boston College)
Teams 4-6 (Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech)
Teams 1-3 (UNC, Duke, Maryland)

The Sports Bank SEC Previews/Power Rankings:
SEC East Teams 4-6 (Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia)
SEC East Teams 1-3 (Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida)
SEC West Teams 4-6 (Arkansas, Auburn, LSU)
SEC West Teams 1-3 (Mississippi State, Mississippi, Alabama)

The Sports Bank Pac-10 Preview/Power Rankings:
Teams 8-10 (Washingon State, Arizona State, Stanford)
Teams 5-7 (Arizona, USC, Oregon)
Teams 1-4 (Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Cal)

The Sports Bank Big East Previews/Power Rankings

Teams 13-16 (Rutgers, South Florida, Providence, DePaul)
Teams 9-12 (Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette, St. John’s)
Teams 5-8 (Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, Seton Hall)
Teams 1-4 (Villanova, West Virginia, UConn, Georgetown)
Post-Season Award Predictions

For all the latest college basketball info, you can follow David Kay on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB