By Paul M. Banks
1. Purdue (8-0)
Matt Painter has to be considered one of the top young coaches in the game today. Making the Gene Keady coaching tree looking even stronger. Here he is in his own words.
2. Michigan State (7-2)
What a uninspiring, ho-hum preconference season so far. The nice win over Gonzaga is cancelled out by their flat and unexciting wins over the small schools, and losses to UNC and UF. So far they remind me of a Jimmy Buffett concert, the actual product is over-hyped and substantially disappointing. Yet you must also admire how the brand and reputation is as powerful as an empire.
How do you suffer back-to-back losses at the hands of Bradley and Utah? While also beating nationally ranked Vanderbilt and Clemson? That’s like cheating on your Swedish model wife with a Perkins waitress and a porn star. Hey, I had to do a Tiger Woods analogy sometime. The Illini have done a good job of making what happened in Las Vegas, staying in Las Vegas. And the more they shore up their man-to-man defense, the more we’ll forget about the Las Vegas Invitational.
4. Northwestern (6-1)
I can’t say this high a ranking will last, but they should stay this high till at least conference season begins. The ‘Cats won their only road game of the conference season, and the rest of the non-conference slate has more cupcakes than a 6-year-old’s birthday party. Yet their strength of schedule is #50 right now nationally. With a RPI of 24, they have a solid resume. And As promised, here’s video of the Cats celebrating their first tournament title of any kind since 1993, the Chicago Invitational.
5. Ohio State (7-1)
You might have heard a thing or two about them losing Evan Turner, (who’s only the best player in the conference) for a couple months. This ranking reflects more of what they are now in that diminished state.
6. Wisconsin (6-2)
As impressive as the win over Duke was, you also have yesterday’s loss to UW-Green Bay on your resume. So, uhm, yeah, I’m going to need you to go ahead and just stay in the exact same slot you were last week. And could you get me those TPS reports by 5pm. Comment below
7. Minnesota (6-3)
Positive things to hang your hat on? defense and the play of Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson III. If the center holds, then the center can also be where the creamy filling is.
8. Indiana (4-4)
I loved hearing Coach Tom Crean light up some kid who asked Crean about his program’s timeline for recovery. “There’s no specific TIMELINE!” You try to get better EVERYDAY” And with the win over Pitt, that “timeline” is moving along faster than most people expected.
9. Michigan (4-4)
Can you say overrated? The preseason #14 has beaten NOBODY. And my previously calling them a two man team was actually too optimistic. They’re really a one man team; as DeShawn Sims has been about as absent this season as he was at conference Media Day.
10. Penn State (6-3)
if you can hold Talor Battle under 15 points, you have a great chance of beating this team. They have very little else to work with.
11. Iowa (3-6)
Good to hear the slightly better news about Coach Todd Lickliter’s health. We wish him all the best in his recovery.
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