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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Big Ten Power Rankings

Now that the Big Ten season is fully underway, I've had an opportunity to see 8 of the 11 teams play.  Here's how I rank them thus far:

1. Michigan State: Sometimes they play pretty sloppy but they have still managed to go undefeated thus far including a 3-0 road record.

2. Illinois: They lost to both Michigan and Michigan State on the road but beat Purdue.  This team is the ultimate T-E-A-M.  Expect them to play several close games but to exploit their opponent's weaknesses like they did against Purdue.  This is one of the rare teams that can go far because they don't have a superstar.

3. Purdue: The beginning of the season was ugly with a home loss to Illinois and a loss on the road to Penn St. But their last two home games have been convincing wins.  This team will need to win on the road, however, to convince anyone they are for real.

4. Minnesota: Ask Wisconsin how tough the Gophers are when the full-court press is on.  Tubby has his kids playing well but the next two games will tell if they are for real as they host Purdue and then travel to Champaign.

5. Wisconsin:  Got off to a scorching 3-0 start before stumbling vs Purdue and then embarrassing themselves at home vs Minnesota.   Iowa's next so there's a chance to right the ship before facing Illinois.

6. Ohio State: 2-0 at home and 1-3 on the road.  Granted their road games have been against the better teams but their best win thus far is @ Michigan.  Need to beat someone good before I change my mind.

7.  Michigan: The Wolverines have been up and down through the conference's first six games.  They do have an impressive win vs Illinois but they barely escaped Indiana and got pounded at home by Wisconsin.  Maybe I'm blinded by them having the best player in the conference or maybe I'm ignorant because this is one of the three teams I have yet to see play.

8. Northwestern:  Blew 2nd half leads to Penn State, Michigan State, and Purdue.  Most teams would have been demoralized by the last one but then they came out and beat Minnesota convincingly.  Yes, they were destroyed by the Badgers but this is the conference's most improved team.  

9. Penn State: They are 3-3 in the conference and if Michigan continues their poor play will likely be 5-3 at the end of it.  Could easily be #7 on this list.  7-9 are interchangeable at this point.  

10. Iowa: They look really, really bad sometimes.  They are averaging 60 ppg in Big Ten play but their highest point total in their last three is 53.

11. Indiana: What can I say?  They almost beat Michigan.
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