By Paul M. Banks
Feast Week saw numerous opponents feasting on the conference. The Big Ten’s top and middle proved to be nothing more than a soft underbelly during the multitude of holiday tournaments. But at least Purdue and Northwestern won their invitationals. The conference has a quick turnaround to win back respectability. The ACC Challenge is here, and this is THE year they FINALLY win it, right? right? Maybe not.
1. Purdue (5-0)
Only team among the three conference heavyweights with an unblemished record, and the win over Tennessee was certainly impressive, yes?
2. Ohio State (4-1)
What’s your over/under on Evan Turner triple doubles this season? This Buckeyes squad is looking similar the 1999 Final Four team.
3. Michigan State (4-1)
Of all the upsets to supposedly lesser teams, only MSU went out the next night and sent a message by “doin work” on their unfortunate opponent., Izzo’s team looked really pissed off as they took their frustrations out on UMass, 101-61.
When Northwestern’s star forward Kevin Coble went down for the season with a foot injury, someone needed to step up. That someone is turning out to be two people: Juice Thompson and John Shurna. With Juice running the point, and Shurna scoring both inside and outside at will, this team certainly has “juice” (slang for power, respect, notoriety) now.
Here’s video of the Cats celebrating their first tournament title of any kind since 1993
5. Wisconsin (4-1)
Ok, so maybe that win over #22 at the time Maryland isn’t as impressive now as it seemed just a few short days ago
6. Minnesota (4-2)
The conference in general looked REALLY WEAK this week, as losses to mid-majors abounded; including the Gophers falling to Portland. Then the Gophs threw in a loss to high-major (Texas A&M) for good measure. However, the Butler did not do it on them, so the last week wasn’t a total disaster.
7. Michigan (3-2)
It was the Big Ten’s middle and high middle teams that suffered the most damage last week. Wolverines are the perfect example: they barely survived against Creighton and fell to Marquette and Alabama. Can you say over-rate-ed (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)
What on Earth happened? Las Vegas was more pleasant to the characters of the film “The Hangover” than it was to the Illini. But what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas…especially when you suffer back-to-back upsets at the hands of Bradley and Utah.
9. Penn State (5-2)
Can I just call this team the “Penn State Talor Battles?” You know just like how last year referred to the Cleveland Cavliers as the “Cleveland LeBrons”
10. Indiana (3-3)
Finally ended three game losing streak. Maurice Creek is coming along nicely.
11. Iowa (2-4)
At least their loss to Texas was by less than 30.