I considered an awards section to this post, but figured it would be pointless. Not surprisingly, I agree with the selection of DJ White and Eric Gordon as Big Ten player of the year and freshman of the year, respectively. If I had a vote for coach of the year, I probably would have cast it for Matt Painter, although I think one could make a compelling argument for Bo Ryan. So, on to the poll:
1. Wisconsin (26-4, 16-2). Last week: 2. Wisconsin lost to Purdue twice, but took care of business everywhere else, including in Bloomington and Columbus.
2. Purdue (24-7, 15-3). Last week: 1. Like Wisconsin, Purdue had a much-better-than-expected season with a young team.
3. Indiana (25-6, 14-4). Last week: 4. IU did not finish well and looks to be going nowhere in the postseason. Still, IU has a two-game lead on the Spartans. And as humiliating as was IU's 29 point loss at East Lansing, MSU was only +10 in the two matchups (IU won by 19 in Bloomington).
4. Michigan State (24-7, 12-6). Last week: 3. By far, the most disappointing team in the conference. The Big Ten doesn't have a legitimate NCAA title contender and doesn't have much depth. How in the world did the preseason favorite end up four games behind Wisconsin?
5. Ohio State (19-12, 10-8). Last week: 6. The Buckeyes made up for lost time and a lack of quality wins by defending their homecourt against Purdue and MSU. Will it be enough?
6. Minnesota (18-12, 8-10). Last week: 5. Tough end for the Gophers, who even considering Purdue's resurgence probably were the conference's most improved team.
7. Penn State (15-15, 7-11). Last week: 7. The Nittany Lions pulled a couple of nice upsets with a young team. Is this is sign of things to come, or just a big tease like 2006?
8. Iowa (13-18, 6-12). Last week: 9. The Hawkeyes ultimately hit the wall (or the windshield, maybe?) but had some nice moments.
9. Michigan (9-21, 5-13). Last week: 10. The Wolverines had a really rough start in the pre-conference and in the Big Ten. A month ago they were 5-17/1-9, but they finished 4-4 despite nothing much to play for.
10. Illinois (13-18, 5-13). Last week: 8. Eric Gordon changed his mind 18 months ago, and Illinois AD Ron Guenther is still whining about it. Losing Gordon was a blow, but at some point Guenther and Weber are going to have to take responsibility for the incredible decline of this program since the 2005 championship game.
11. Northwestern (8-21, 1-17). Last week: 11. Rough year. I really thought Carmody would have Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament by now, but that dream looks as unrealistic as ever. Carmody is NU's most successful coach in decades, but I'll be interested to see what NU does with him.