Rankings & Decisions
Dennis Dodd of CBS has posted his post-spring college football rankings at this link.
He has Ohio State 9th, Nebraska 10th, Michigan State 11th and Wisconsin 12th.
After I posted my set of Big Ten Power Rankings as well as my predictions for the Legends and Leaders Divisions, more than a few people were chirping about how I was giving Nebraska and Michigan State too much credit and not enough for Iowa (I picked Iowa 3rd in the Legends behind the Huskers and Spartans).
While that may prove to be true in about seven months, it’s just the way it looks now and most preseason snap shots I have seen to date are following suit. I hope I am wrong, I hope others are wrong. We’ll have to see it play out on the field.
As I said in my Legends item, I think Iowa, more than any team in the Big Ten aside from Michigan, has the biggest range of win total for this year; I could see them finishing anywhere between 6-6 and 10-2. That’s not a prediction cop out, because I’ll go ‘On the Record’ as I always do….
Iowa’s basketball program continues it’s ‘Good News’ Spring…last week a great Michigan player decided to keep his name in the NBA draft and this week a talented Minnesota player may be doing the same.
Ralph Sampson III is that player, according to this link and the item buried near the bottom.
“The Gophers men’s basketball team is preparing to move ahead without junior center Ralph Sampson III, who has declared for June’s NBA draft and has until today to withdraw and return to school but is expected to leave.”
He averaged 10.2/ppg and 5.4/rpg this past year for Minnesota and looked to have a very bright senior season ahead of him. This after fellow big man Colton Iverson transferred out of the program last month (5 & 5 stats), and now the Gophers are left with quite a hole on the inside. Despite Tubby Smith’s best efforts, and he is a big time name, the Gopher program seems to have plateaued and it wasn’t a ‘next level’ type of stop. Yes, they made it back to the tourney under Tubby and from where they were in the Dan Monson era and that was progress. But Gophers fans expected more than that and after the program’s disappointing year last year, this lack of momentum is going to cause some hand wringing north of the border.
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As of now, I see Iowa, Penn State, Indiana, Nebraska and Minnesota as teams that will fight for the 8th spot in the Big Ten, at worst.
The loss of Darius Morris from Michigan, their very talented point guard, is certainly drawing some talk in Ann Arbor. One writer has penned an early Big Ten Basketball power rankings list, at this link. Follow it for more details, but here is his set:
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan State
12. Penn State
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Indiana has more pedigreed talent, but Tom Crean cannot seem to avoid the injury bug. Purdue seems a bit low here, as Robbie Hummel returns however he is coming off of his second ACL tear and they lost two all timers in Moore and Johnson. John Shurna returns for Northwestern and they will be pesky once again this season.
At this stage, I like to tier teams first. I see five sets of tiers as of right now, breakout points where there is a noticeable difference in talent.
Tier One: Ohio State, Michigan State
Tier Two: Michigan, Wisconsin
Tier Three: Illinois, Northwestern
Tier Four: Iowa, Indiana, Purdue
Tier Five: Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska
If you are Iowa, you certainly want to win your tier and play at or above that tier. I think in a best case finish this year, Iowa could challenge for 5th. But I mean that as a BEST CASE finish. More likely in the 7th, 8th or 9th. However, Iowa has as much talent if not more than Northwestern, it’s just that the Cats execute more consistently right now having played in the same system for a longer period of time. Illinois does less with more talent than any team in the league and they lose McCamey and Tisdale; that is a lot of points and two three-point threats.
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With Iowa, Indiana and Purdue, it’s going to be a coaching contest; who gets the most out of their players along the lines of development. Let’s add one caveat here; injuries. Crean can coach, there is no doubt about it. But he has been wrecked with injuries, so I am not saying it’s a loser leave town match.
Going over this set of rankings, or finding that someone actually put them together this time of year, has me thinking of a few things…
One, it has me excited to do some Big Ten hoops research and write something of my own in greater detail, and it’s still just May 9th. Two, it made me think for the first time in at least six years ‘When do the college basketball magazines come out?’
Yes, Hawkeye basketball fever is back in play!
4:44pm ADDITION: This item was written on Monday morning and at time, cited a Minneapolis Newspaper’s blurb saying Sampson was staying in the draft…late in the afternoon on Monday, Minnesota released a statement saying Sampson was staying in school.