Monday, February 04, 2008

Big Ten Power Poll Week... uh, whatizzit... 5?

Here we are, pretty much at the half-way point of the season, and things are more confused than ever. No theme this week, as I've got Gentrification and Bourdieu to study, and I just couldn't think of any way frame the Big Ten standings sociologically. Oh wait, I just did: Paul Fussell's Social Class. No Top-Out-of-Sight for the Big Ten this year, that only applies to Memphis and maybe Kansas on the national scale. No Bottom-out-of-sight either, that pretty much applies to some Independents and maybe Maryland-Eastern Shore.

1.) Wisconsin (8-1)
The Big Red Machine keeps rolling along, spanking a dangerous Minnesota team on the road after handing Indiana its ugliest (if not worst) loss of the season. Bo Ryan may be the best conference coach with his old-fashioned defense and nifty flex offense, but he's getting to be the new Gene Keady. Coach, you just never get a call, do you?
Social Class: Upper

2.) Purdue (8-1)
Give 'em props, they keep winning. I still don't believe this is an actual title threat, and keep waiting for the bottom to fall out, but it hasn't yet. But they deserve recognition after winning a road game at Illinois that I was certain they'd lose. If they win at Wisconsin, I'll put them at #1.
Social Class: Upper

3.) Indiana (7-1)
For lack of better options. Indiana looked weak against a Northwestern squad that they should've punished, and this time it was their defense that looked weak. I don't know if the Hoosiers are just uninspired or not meshing or what, but with this five-game stretch coming up, they'd better snap out of it fast.
Social Class: Upper-Middle

4.) Michigan State (7-2)
Again, the Sparties stick here only for lack of better options. Losing at Penn State means that MSU is probably going to have to win at Purdue, at Indiana, and at Wisconsin in order to secure a piece of the title. Like Indiana, the conference season has exposed problems with both the offense and defense.
Social Class: Middle

5.) Ohio State (6-3)
I would've moved the Buckeyes up, but they lost at Iowa. I don't understand why OSU loves the three so much when you've both Koufos the doofus and Othello Hunter inside. This loss also hurts their NCAA profile, which was starting to look pretty decent.
Social Class: High Prole

6.) Iowa (4-6)
Who would've thought the Hawkeyes could get this high? Of course, life has gotten a lot better for Iowa since Tony Freeman came back from injury, but Seth Gorney deserves credit for stepping up in conference play. Suddenly, the Hoosiers narrow win at Iowa despite the late barrage of threes looks pretty good.
Social Class: Mid-Prole

7) Penn State (3-6)

A great win for this team over Michigan State. This team has more raw talent than it's had since... I don't know... since Dino Gaudio and Calvin Booth made PSU a title contender in the mid-90's? A lot of the talent is just young, tho, and without the veteran scoring of Geary Claxton, I don't see too many more wins this year.
Social Class: Low Prole

8) Minnesota (3-5)
Granted, the first half of the schedule has been tough to Tubby Smith, but I really expected the Gophers to get at least one of the top three in Minneapolis. They've got to start just getting some wins. In the event that they lose at NU this week, even the NIT starts to slip away as a possibility.
Social Class: Mid Prole

9) Illinois (2-8)
Disappointing. I don't know what else to say. The numbers look good, and every close road loss makes you think that they're going to pay back that team at home, but then they don't. I don't know what's up with the Illini, but this season is looking less like a rebuilding year and more like a waste.
Social Class: Low Prole

10) Michigan (1-8)
What to say when you've got 8 losses and a single win (over Northwestern)? I mean, I'm sure these guys will be better next year, especially after having a full off-season to internalize John Beilien's system. But there's not a lot of help on the way, so "wait 'til next year" still seems a little hollow.
Social Class: Destitute

11) Northwestern (0-8)

Signs of life are not translating into wins just yet. Carmody's finally playing Jeremy Nash over Jeff Ryan, and Craig Moore's finding his shooting touch again. They could get their first conference win as soon as Wednesday when the Gophers come to Welsh-Ryan arena.
Social Class: Destitute


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