Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings February 2011 Edition


hoosiers cheerleader

Lots of shakeup this week in my Big Ten Power Rankings. Let’s see where everyone shakes up. “CAN’T WAIT” as the New York Jets Bart Scott would say:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (22-0, 9-0) Following their narrowest of escapes against a much less talented Northwestern team on Saturday night; it’s pretty obvious they’re not going to run the table this year. Last week we explored the chances of it actually happening; we’ll look at where they might pick up that first L, in this piece.

2. Purdue Boilermakers (18-4, 7-2) Don’t judge them my the loss in Columbus. They’ll be okay; and might even beat the Buckeyes next time, at their place.

3. Wisconsin Badgers (15-5, 5-3) Once again, I underestimated Bo Ryan (this time due to what I saw on his roster) and once again he has proved me wrong.

4. Minnesota Golden Gophers (16-5, 5-4) Like Anna Benson, they’re just a little too big. Despite Al Nolen’s absence, they still need to go smaller in their lineup. Tubby will figure it out and adjust.

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (12-8, 5-4)- It’s not just Talor Battle, really it’s not! He’s still himself, winning the conference player of the week award today, but now he has some semblance of a supporting cast. They even got 14 votes in the AP poll. Their RPI and SOS puts them legitimately in the conversation. Now if only they could fill the lower bowl of their arena for home dates.

6. Illinois Fighting Illini (14-7, 4-4) The stumble in Bloomington was awful for their resume, but even more awful to watch. Yet it didn’t make my list of the top 10 worst losses of the Bruce Weber era. This team has easily the second best talent in the league, and the ability to beat anybody (if they can avoid their constant struggle with complacency). But their idea of “leadership” is a sick joke; and the freshmen and sophomores seem to have a lot more confidence and desire than the seniors.

7. Michigan State Spartans (13-8, 5-4) Korie Lucious kicked off the team, press conferences that make it sound like Tom Izzo and Durrell Summers have some kind of passive-aggressive strife going on, and needing OT to beat Indiana at home? What is going on? They lost to Michigan in a revenue producing sport for the first time in 1,100+ days. We know they always bloom in March, but right now they have absolutely no stem or bud.

8. Northwestern Wildcats (13-8, 3-7) Beating #1 OSU would have been the biggest win in school history. EASILY. Fortunately, the program has progressed well beyond the point of “moral victories.” Unfortunately, they haven’t found the ability to close anyone out.

9. Indiana Hoosiers (11-11, 2-7) I know it’s the first win over a ranked opponent for Tom Crean at IU, but storming the court? BUSH LEAGUE! This is a proud program with 5 national titles, knocking a team from the national rankings that doesn’t deserve to be there anyway, is not a major accomplishment.

10. Michigan Wolverines (13-9, 3-6) Yawn.

11. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-13, 1-8) They can easily give Auburn or DePaul a run for the money as “worst power conference” team in college basketball

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter, Yardbarker Network, and Fox

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports

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