In our Big Ten Power Poll No. 11, not much has changed. It’s the Buckeyes and the rest of the Big Ten. There’s a big gap in this league. The Gophers finished fifth in our latest poll. (Results through Tuesday night)
1. Ohio State: My 2 Cents: Oh boy! They’re as good as advertised. Jared Sullinger is top-three in the national player of the year race. And he could win it, if the Buckeyes maintain this pace. Joshua Powers says, “The way they beat Purdue on Tuesday makes you wonder if it’s a possibility this team can run the table, at least in the regular season. They have three tough road trips still to come, with a showdown at the Barn looming Super Bowl Sunday.”
2. Wisconsin: My 2 Cents: They’ve won their last three games. Making a move per the usual for Bo Ryan’s squads. Dan Owen says, “I continue to be surprised by the growth we’ve seen in this team. They went from a team with only two real scorers in Leuer and Taylor to getting strong contributions from a variety of sources. They’ve been the most consistent of any Big Ten team outside of the Buckeyes.”
3. Purdue: My 2 Cents: I’m not sold. Against Ohio State, the Boilermakers were exposed as the one-dimensional team they’ve become. Yes, the Buckeyes are very good. But that lopsided loss had a lot to do with Purdue’s own challenges. Damian Johnson says, “I’m not sold on them without Hummel.” Nadine Babu says, “Even though I ranked them No. 2, Tuesday night’s loss to Ohio State shows that there is a HUGE gap between Ohio State and everyone else. They looked men amongst boys.”
4. Illinois: My 2 Cents: Demetri McCamey didn’t show up when his team needed him against the Buckeyes. I don’t get it. And it’s still January. How will he respond in critical games a month from now? Eric Johnston says, “I wasn’t all that impressed by the home win against MSU, because I don’t feel MSU is all that good. I need to see more from this team.”
5. Minnesota: My 2 Cents: Losing Al Nolen changes a lot for this team. But the Gophers are talented enough to finish with a good Big Ten record. Nathan Wickman says, “How good can they be without Nolen? Only as good as Hoffarber is at the point. We’re about to find out just how good Blake really is.”
6. Michigan State: My 2 Cents: Offcourt issues, a so-so record. Did this team really go to the Final Four last year? Damian Johnson says, “Not living up to the hype.”
7. Penn State: My 2 Cents: They’re 2-3 against ranked Big Ten teams. The Nittany Lions can still finish in the top half of the Big Ten. Damian Johnson says, “The most surprising. I definitely thought they would finish 10th in front of Iowa.”
8. Northwestern: My 2 Cents: The Wisconsin loss was embarrassing for the program. The Wildcats, however, are still a dangerous team. Eric Johnston says, “Only have this team slotted here because I feel they are not in the cellar with the other three. NW is going to have to do some serious work if they want to make a tourney push.”
9. Michigan: My 2 Cents: They’re young. Two years from now, however, this might be the best team in the conference. Joshua Powers says, “If the Wolverines keep taking 70 percent of their shots from three-point range like they did against the Gophers over the weekend, they probably won’t find themselves on the good end of the scoreboard too often for the rest of the year.”
10. Iowa: My 2 Cents: Just beat Indiana. Progress for a rebuilding program. Nathan Wickman says, “Well, they beat the Hoosiers. Congrats.”
11. Indiana: My 2 Cents: Just lost to Iowa. Not the year we anticipated from the Hoosiers. Dan Owen says, “The Hoosiers lost to Iowa, which moves them down to the basement for me.”
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