Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Ten Power Poll week 6 & OSU notes

So Indiana wins another tough road game, this time at Ohio State, 59-53. The Hoosiers are still making occasional bad decisions with shot selection, and don't have the toughest defense, but the yesterday's zone was the most active I'd seen from them this season. And the late line-up of Bassett/Crawford, Gordon, Ellis, DJ, and Stemler is pretty quick to the ball as well. Kyle Taber's doing a fine job, not producing a lot, but the Hoosiers are seeming like a better team as long as he's part of the rotation. It's all about Chemistry, and the Hoosiers have to be feeling pretty good going into the big Assembly Hall showdowns with Purdue and Michigan State. Also, I'll have my midseason player-ratings out shortly, but with Sunday's game DJ White just moved up to the top spot over Jamar Butler.

Big Ten Power Poll week 6
Okay, for this week, how about the Greek Olympians? No Aphrodite here, as there just ain't no love in the Big Ten.

1. Purdue (10-1)
Hats off to the young Boilermakers. I didn't think you'd be a NCAA-level squad, let alone competing for the conference title. But to win at Wisconsin, that's impressive.
Greek God: Dionysus, youngest of the pantheon and ultimately the most popular. Similarly, the Boiler youth movement has had stunning success.

2. Indiana (9-1)
The week brought two more road wins, and honestly, although IU's not looking great, they do seem to have some good toughness, and the zone defense is getting more aggressive.
Greek God: Ares, because like IU, the War God had the most weapons. Although Ares was not the smartest or most effective with those weapons, but he had them.

3. Michigan State (8-2)
I still think Michigan State, along with IU, is the best chance the Big Ten has in getting to the Sweet Sixteen.
Greek God: Zeus, the most powerful of the Gods. The conference's top-rated team still deserves the respect, at least until Saturday.

4. Wisconsin (8-2)

First of the top four to lose at home. Big hit here, as Wisconsin *had* the inside track to the conference title.
Greek God: Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom seems an apt fit for the craftiest Big Ten coach.

5. Ohio State (7-4)
The Buckeyes may be the best of the rest, but after watching Sunday's game I gotta think they are in danger of missing the NCAA tourney.
Greek God: Apollo, the sun God or "golden boy" of the pantheon. And Thad Matta's Ohio State is the hot program in the conference.

6. Minnesota (5-5)
You don't turn around a program all at once, and Tubby's doing a good job, even if his team isn't able to get the signature victories yet.
Greek God: Demeter, the bringer of seasons. It may not seem like much yet, but Tubby's program is only going to grow from here.

7. Iowa (4-8)
Surprisingly competive, especially considering the depth and backcourt weaknesses. Tony Freeman makes this team better.
Greek God: Artemis, the huntress. This Hawkeye squad has done an excellent job of ambushing unsuspecting prey so far this season, and may get more hides before the season is over.

8. Penn State (3-8)
Big Ten road brings the Lions back to reality. Being able to beat MSU at home and then to lose at Michigan illustrates the conference's "road rules."
Greek God: Hermes, while certainly not a heavy-hitter, but the fastest. Penn State plays at the fastest pace, so it seems fair.

9. Illinois (2-9)
I wasn't proud of Indiana when the fans booed Sean May and Luke Recker. But I don't recall body-checks in the introductions or stuff getting thrown at their families. And it seems like neither of those acts got apologized for by the Illini.
Greek God: Poseidon, the sea-god capable of turning on a dime from generosity to rage. His petulance pursued Odysseus, as the Illini's pursues the Hoosiers.

10. Michigan (2-9)
Well, they got a second conference win. That's something to build on, I guess.
Greek God: Hades, the God of the Underworld should be parallel to the better of the two worst teams in the conference.

11. Northwestern (0-10)
This season is over. Hopefully the Wildkitties can salvage one win somewhere here to keep from going defeated. There's always next year, right?
Greek God: Hephaestus, the smart & inventive one who was also lame.


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