Monday, March 10, 2008

Final 2007-2008 Big Ten Bloggers Poll

I'm still working on my term paper, so more thoughts about this season will be forthcoming in the near future, but this'll be fairly quick. After a vacation and a bout of illness, I'd really dropped my Big Ten blogging for the last couple weeks. But I'm making time for one last power poll.

1. Wisconsin (16-2)
Regular-season champs, somehow, again. Should Bo Ryan be coach of the year? Maybe, but it's getting kinda boring seeing the Badgers overachieve year after year. And maybe if their blowouts didn't involve the *winning* team scoring 70 points. But give 'em credit, even if they did get swept by Purdue.

2. Purdue (15-3)
The worst thing about the Baby Boilers is that they're not individually good enough to jump to the NBA. So Purdue will be the odds-on favorite for the conference title next year and probably the year after that, too. Gag. One silver lining is that Keady's crews never did that well when expectations were high, but coach Painter did just a heckuva job this season.

3. Indiana (14-4)
I really should bump the Hoosiers to fourth behind Michigan State, but MSU had to go and lose at Ohio State, so I really can't put the Sparties above the Hoosiers. This really is a season on the brink right now. IU could recover, Jamarcus Ellis could shape up, and we could all be forgiven thinking that the Hoosiers were limping towards the finish, or it could be a quick couple of exits.

4. Michigan State (12-6)
If they could play Indiana at home every game, they'd be favorites for the national championship. However, they don't. I don't know what happened to Izzo, but he couldn't get these guys to play on the road. There's so much talent here, so maybe March will be kind, but it seems unlikely.

5. Ohio State (10-8)
A nice couple of wins at the end of the season, but they'll have to win the conference tourney to get in the NCAA tourney. And next season they lose do-everything Jamar Butler.

6. Minnesota (8-10)
Nothing too dangerous here. I thought they'd probably be 5th or 6th in the final standings, but I thought they'd be a lot better doing it. I don't see a team that's really any better than Penn State, especially given the Lions' bad breaks.

7. Penn State (7-11)
Too bad about Cornley, and Claxton, and really too bad about this season. But starting four freshmen bodes well for the future, if not for the Big Ten tournament.

8. Iowa (6-12)
If there was a more mysterious and unpredictable team, I really don't know who it was. From the season-opening three-point explosion to nearly upset Indiana, to the big win over Michigan State, to the season-ending home loss to Illinois... you just never knew what was going to happen. Here's to you, Hawkeyes, for showing us why the games are played.

9. Michigan (5-13)
A step forward, a couple of steps back. At least coach Beilien has some pieces to build with and an offseason to do it. At least the Amaker era of wasted potential is finally over. If Michigan succeeds in the next year or so, it'll be because of solid coaching and overachievement.

10. Illinois (5-13)
My favorable attitude towards Bruce Weber has finally eroded, and they aren't getting the benefit of the doubt any more. A blowout win over Minnesota aside, this was pretty much a wasted year for the Illini. Can Weber ever turn it around?

11. Northwestern (1-17)
Wow. You knew it was going to be a bad year, but there was real doubt if the Wildcats were even going to win one game. Freshman Juice Thompson and sophomore Kevin Coble belong in the Big Ten, but I'm unsure about the rest of the cast.


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