Big Ten Power Rankings
By Paul M. Banks, President of The Sports Bank.net
Ten in a row! Give them that #1 seed. Boilers are on a mission to duplicate Michigan St.’s feat from last season- reach a Final Four held in your home state. Getting there is DEPENDENT on the health of Robbie Hummel. And the fact that he left Wednesday night’s game unable to put weight on his leg is not a good sign.
It’s now a two man race between “His Royal Smoothness” Evan Turner and Kentucky’s John Wall for all the National Player of the Year trophies.
My favorite Tom Izzo quote of the year, says a ton about this team: “He just grits his teeth and doesn’t care about all the flash and dash. He is the perfect Spartan. He’s a blue-collar work horse. I’m going to ride him like a jackass. He’s tougher than nails and winning matters to him, it really does.”
The way Bo Ryan weathered the storm of missing Jon Leuer for so long, and the fact that he has been able to do what he has done with this bunch (Seriously, how many of you really expected anything from anyone on this team not named Trevon Hughes or Jason Bohannon?) really makes me belive he deserves conference coach of the year.
I thought the comparisons of Demetri McCamey to Deron Williams last season were just a bit RIDICULOUS. But today? They do have a semblance of legitimacy as we’ve seen how he can take over a game with his scoring (Michigan St., Indiana are just two examples) or by setting up other teammates to score (tied school record for single game assists versus Purdue).
Did you know Blake Hoffarber is leading the nation (well, tied with Tim Abromaitis, that guy on Notre Dame with horrible acne ) in three point field goal percentage? Did you know the Gophers are sixth in the nation in assists? You do now. Indeed, these are things one should know.
Maybe they’re out of luck for this season, but next year looks bright with Kevin Coble returning and the promising development of freshman Drew Crawford. The Cats third leading scorer has good basketball bloodlines, as his father is accomplished NBA referee Danny Crawford.
Did you watch this team’s loss to Illinois Tuesday night? The entire upper half of the arena was empty, so was much of the lower half. But you can’t blame them- they missed seeing their stars, Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims, shoot 8-29 from the field, as well as Stu Douglass and Darius Morris (who played 67 minutes) go 1-15.
I’m sure this news will not shock you: Iowa (the least watchable team in the Big Ten) has not sold out a home date all season. Penn State is the only other Big Ten team with that dubious distinction. But here’s a tidbit that is shocking: #9 Ohio State has only sold out ONE game! I guess Columbus is just overly obsessed with the Blue Jackets right now.
Wow. Two wins in a row after a 12 game drought to open the conference season- slow down guys! Nevertheless, it’s enough to finally lift them from the basement.
How on Earth can a Big Ten team have a 217 RPI, this late in the season? That has last place written all over it.
Paul M. Banks is Founder/President of The Sports Bank.net, an Upper Midwest sports webzine. He’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, the United States Basketball Writers Association and a sports writer for the Washington Times.com Communities and Walter Football.com