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Monday, January 7, 2008

Big Ten Bloggers Power Rankings

Some of my good friends in the Big Ten Bloggers group and myself are introducing weekly Big Ten Power Rankings for this basketball season. Our rankings will be posted every Monday, and Tom over at Gopher Nation will count the ballots and release the Big Ten Bloggers Power Rankings each week.

So without further ado, here is the Big Ten Chronicle's Power Ranking poll for this week:

1. Michigan State Spartans 13-1 (1-0)
This week: 1/8 - vs Purdue; 1/12 - at Iowa
Michigan State got off to a good start in conference play with a hard fought win over Minnesota on Saturday night. The Spartans played the toughest non-conference schedule of the Big Ten's "Big 3" (MSU, Indiana, & Wisconsin), therefore we ranked them at the top in our first poll. Drew Neitzel has yet to really dominate like he has shown the ability to do in years past, but Raymar Morgan and Goran Suton help make this year's Spartans more than just a one-man show.

2. Indiana Hoosiers 12-1 (1-0)
This week: 1/8 - at Michigan; 1-13 - vs Illinois
The only thing that is separating Indiana from the Spartans so far is strength of schedule. The Hoosiers' only loss came to a very strong Xavier team, but Indiana's best win to date would probably be their home win against Kentucky, and we all know a win over UK this year does not mean what it used to. With that being said, Freshman phenom Eric Gordon and inside force D.J. White will keep IU near the top of this poll provided they can stay healthy.

3. Wisconsin Badgers 12-2 (2-0)
This week: 1/10 - vs Illinois
The Badgers used a thrilling road victory over Texas to jump back into the national rankings and spotlight. However, many have not forgotten about their 82-58 dud of a loss at Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge earlier this year. Wisconsin has shown improvement in every game since then, and with Bo Ryan, possibly the best coach in a conference full of great leaders, they will be solid all year long.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes 11-3 (2-0)
This week: 1/9 - vs Iowa; 1/12 - at Purdue
Last years Big Ten Champs are off to a 2-0 start with wins at Illinois and against Northwestern at home. This years Buckeyes are led by veteran guard Jamar Butler and newcomer Kosta Koufus inside. Nobody expects OSU to win the conference again, but they seem to be the best early bet to finish in 4th behind the "Big 3" and have a good shot at an NCAA bid.

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers 10-3 (0-1)
This week: 1/9 - vs Northwestern; 1/12 - at Penn State
Minnesota hung tough in their 65-59 loss at Michigan State on Saturday night. It's hard to get too excited about a loss, but staying with a really good Spartan team in one of the toughest venues to play at in the Big Ten is something to make Gopher fans optimistic. Minnesota has an experienced squad and new coach Tubby Smith brings a winning attitude that will produce wins and keep them battling to reach the upper half of the Big Ten.

6. Purdue Boilermakers 10-4 (1-0)
This week: 1/8 - at Michigan State; 1/12 - vs Ohio State
The young Boilermakers have been all over the place so far this season. Purdue scored wins over Louisville in non-conference play and beat Michigan on Saturday to start Big Ten play. But the Boilers also lost to Wofford at home and to Iowa State in Las Vegas in December. The talent is there to make Purdue a very scary team, and one that should compete for a conference championship in the next few years. It may just be too early to expect that much from a very young and inconsistent squad.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions 10-4 (2-0)
This week: 1/12 - vs Minnesota
Say 'Hello' to your undefeated Penn State basketball team! The Lions notched back-to-back road wins against Northwestern and Illinois last week and have now won 7 straight overall. Saturday's home contest against Minnesota is a big game if Penn State wants to prove it's basketball team is no longer a conference cellar dweller.

8. Illinois Fighting Illini 8-7 (0-2)
This week: 1/10 - at Wisconsin; 1/13 - at Indiana
The Illini look to be the early favorite for most disappointing team in the Big Ten this season. Illinois struggled in non-conference and then started Big Ten play with 2 straight home losses to Ohio State and Penn State. Things will not get any easier this week with back-to-back road games against Wisconsin and Indiana. Shaun Pruitt has been strong inside for the Illini, but someone, anyone, needs to step up as a consistent contributor on the perimeter if Illinois is to finish above .500 in conference play.

9. Iowa Hawkeyes 7-8 (0-2)
This week: 1/9 - at Ohio State; 1/12 -vs Michigan State
The Hawkeyes entered Big Ten play with a non-conference record of 7-6 and a handful of bad losses. Iowa lost by only three to Indiana at home and stayed close on the road against Wisconsin last week. Iowa is strong defensively, but is one or two scorers away from being decent on offense. Their defense will keep them in games, and expect the Hawkeyes to pull off an upset or two this season, but overall they'll be lucky to win more than 5 conference games.

10. Michigan Wolverines 4-10 (0-2)
This week: 1/8 - vs Indiana; 1/12 - at Northwestern
In fairness, Michigan's overall record is uglier than it would be had they played a softer non-conference schedule. With that being said, the Wolverines are very bad. Saturday's game at Northwestern will prove which team deserves the 11-spot in next week's poll.

11. Northwestern Wildcats 5-6 (0-2)
This week: 1/9 - at Minnesota; 1/12 - vs Michigan
Saturday's game will also feature two Big Ten teams that lost to Ivy League schools. Michigan fell at Harvard and Northwestern lost at home to Brown earlier in the year. Northwestern does have homecourt advantage in the pillow fight this weekend, and I'm sure the 40+ NU students that show up will be rowdy!

Comments on "Big Ten Bloggers Power Rankings"

 

Anonymous Hawkeye Sports News said ... (January 7, 2008 at 3:43 PM) : 

Iowa most likely will start the Big Ten 0-4.. having to start with games against Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Mich St. We'll see if they can pull off some wins in conference, but its NOT going to be easy.

 

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