After losing to Wisconsin Tuesday, the Gophers fell to fifth in our seventh Big Ten Power Poll. Ohio State maintained the No. 1 spot.
1. Ohio State: Nadine Babu says, "They continue to look like the only powerhouse in the Big Ten." Lindsay Guentzel says, "Two words. Jared Sullinger. While I understand basketball is a team sport, the Buckeyes have had no problem with any of their opponents thus far and it seems his name is one that continues to pop up game after game. Can’t wait to see what OSU does in not only the Big Ten but in the tournament later this season. They are quite possibly the best team in the country and I hope they are able to show that this season." My 2 Cents: We'll see if they're legit in Big Ten play. Their schedule wasn't that impressive but they dominated.
2. Purdue: Mike Milinovich says, "They're finding a way to win, but they're going to need scoring depth in the conference season." My 2 Cents: They pulled away from Michigan when they had to. More and more, they're looking like conference title contenders again.
3. Wisconsin: Joshua Powers says, "They're really on a roll right now. Getting contributions from their supporting cast has helped a lot. And with Michigan State's Kalin Lucas still seemingly not 100% healthy yet, Jordan Taylor is the best PG in the Big Ten. It makes you wonder if Dan Monson had been fired at the end of the 2005 - 2006 season instead of early in the 2006 - 2007 season, would we be talking about Taylor leading a talented supporting cast of Golden Gophers?" Damian Johnson says, “They ended the three-game losing streak vs Gophers.” My 2 Cents: Two turnovers?
4. Michigan State: Spartans aren't going to turn it around this year, folks. They beat Oakland by one point, and I know Oakland beat Tennessee, but they have also lost to half of the Big Ten by double-digits. Humiliating loss to Texas in the Breslin Center probably won't be the first there this year. Nobody with 4 losses was ranked at this point last season, or the season before - losing to good teams is still not an excuse for losing & Sparty should be unranked - the only reason they're still ranked is a lack of other teams that have proved they belong in the top-25. My 2 Cents: Kalin Lucas isn’t 100 percent. And they’re still working to build chemistry with the young guys. But I believe the Spartans will figure it out.
5. Minnesota: Ryan Weinzierl says, "I thought they played better than the Badgers and will finish above them by the end of the year. HOWEVER, at some point, they need to win on the road in this conference to be taken as legit contenders." My 2 Cents: The Wisconsin loss will help this team down the stretch. They were right there in a very tough environment against a team that committed two turnovers.
6. Illinois: Lindsay Guentzel says, "When Illinois loss to Illinois-Chicago, I got a little nervous. But a strong showing, regardless of the loss, against Mizzou makes me confident this program will still be able to be dominant in the Big Ten conference play." My 2 Cents: I think the Illini have the pieces to contend for a Big Ten title. But they failed to fulfill that potential a year ago.
7. Northwestern: Mike Milinovich says, "They haven't beaten anyone of note yet, let's see if they can play well once it matters." My 2 Cents: I don't know what to make of this team yet because their nonconference sked was so easy.
8. Michigan: Nathan Wickman says, “So much for being a mini-sleeper in conference. You can't be a surprise team if you can't at least defend your home court, and against Purdue on Tuesday they were completely defenseless.” My 2 Cents: Looked like a surprise team in the first half against Purdue. Then, not much of surprise during the second-half defensive lapses.
9. Penn State: Ryan Weinzierl says, "Nice road win at Indiana. Unfortunately they will probably play the rest of the year more like the team that lost to Maine." My 2 Cents: The win over the Hoosiers should be a confidence booster for the Nittany Lions.
10. Indiana: Christopher Cramer says, “I have a new last-place team this week, as the Hoosiers proved that they were both worse than Penn State (lost in Bloomington to them) and Iowa (lost to a Northern Iowa team that the Hawkeyes had beaten earlier in the season).” My 2 Cents: Instead of proving that they’ve made strides from last season, the Hoosiers lost to a team that many called the worst in the Big Ten before their meeting.
11. Iowa: Joshua Powers says, “Nice run of wins to close out the non-conference season. A big chance to start out the Big Ten at home against an Illinois team that hasn't been at their best recently.” My 2 Cents: The Hawkeyes have shown some signs of life recently.
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