Big Ten Power Rankings 11-20


By Paul M. Banks

For this week I’m including the insights of a very special guest for my Power Rankings. I recently had an exclusive with Ohio State legend Jim Jackson, the only man every to win the Big Ten Player of the Year Award twice, and current Big Ten Network analyst. I’ll be using some of the best information nuggets he gave when rating the conference

1. Michigan State (2-0)
Milwaukee Bucks guard Charlie Bell on his National Championship Spartans team compares to this year’s model, who are getting first place votes in both polls. “I think the guys got a taste this past season, being runner-up. I think that’s just going to make them more hungry, and that’s how we were the first time we made it to the Final Four and we lost to Duke. We kind of came out in awe in the 1st half, of playing against the almighty Duke, and in the second half, we were like hey, we can play with these guys. And that made us hungry in the summer time and made us want to come back and win it all, and we did. And I think that’s the mindset the current Spartans need to have.”

2. Purdue (1-0)
Purdue is known for their exceptional junior class. Jim Jackson “As talented as those guys are, I don’t think any of them were ready to take the next step which is a good thing for the University, because now you have a core group of guys coming into their junior year that are very experienced in playing together. It’s a catch-22 when you look at it that way. The talent is there, but maybe not at that level.”

3. Ohio State (2-1)
Loss to UNC hurts, but they’ll quickly recover. Jim Jackson describing the star player at his alma mater: Evan has his first year of being the go-to-guy, now that he has that under his belt, he’ll be more comfortable in that role.

4. Michigan
We didn’t learn much about this team from their victory over Northern Michigan, and playing Houston Baptist will teach us even less.

5. Illinois (2-0)

FreshmanBrandon Paul has been the man so far, getting 20+ points in both games. They’re also playing at a much faster tempo than a typical Bruce Weber team. They’ve been winning with offense instead of d.

6. Minnesota (2-0)
Beat a couple scrub teams so far. JJ had this to say about Tubby Time. “Tubby is a kind of coach that is going to go get the players he wants, recruit the players that are smart, and get up and down the court, understand the game, shoot the ball and play aggressive defense. And it’s great for Minnesota, because that arena is already tough to play in. Now you put a product on the floor that makes it an even tougher place to play again.”

7. Wisconsin(2-0)
Jackson on why Wisconsin plays such an unpopular, but ultimately winning style of ball. “You got to look at the scope of the game, take a team like Wisconsin, they may not get the same talent that a Michigan State may get, so their style of play has to be different in order for them to win games.

8. Northwestern(1-1)
I would feel fine ranking them lower, now that their leading scorer from the past three seasons, Kevin Coble is out for the season. However, who beneath them actually looks better? They did look bad in losing to Butler, but the Bulldogs are the #11 team in the nation.
9. Penn State (2-1)
Talor Battle went off for 29 points in the team’s extremely ugly loss to UNC-Wilmington. JJ on Battle’s abilities: “His quickness separates him because he can get from point A. to point B. at the drop of a dime, but he can shoot the basketball, stick that open jump shot. And still finish at the rim, it’s a tough assignment for any point guard to have.”
10. Indiana (2-1)
Barely escaped against a mid-major and got beaten badly by Ole Miss. Yeah, it’s going to be a rough one in ’09-‘10.

11. Iowa (0-2)
The Hawkeyes couldn’t handle the basketball juggernauts that are Duquesne and UT-San Antonio. Can you say 22+ losses this year?