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Your obligatory Big 10 conference primer

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Is this the year when the Big 10, a conference that is poked fun at for being a boring, the tops in the land? It could certainly happen with two Final Four contenders, and about a half dozen more looking for inclusion into the field of 65.  Michigan State will dominate the headlines, but Purdue may be the most intriguing team. Remember that recruiting class of 2007? Well now they're juniors and probably realize it's about time they live up to some of the hype. No pressure here kids.

Ohio State has the league's biggest playmaker in Evan Turner, who uses this year to audition for next year's NBA Draft. As in the previous three seasons, Thad Matta doesn't have a highly touted freshman center to build around. This team is going to run and look to outscore its opponents, but I guess that's the sport's operative goal right?

People are also talking about Northwestern. Is it worth the chatter? That remains to be seen but you have to at least respect Kevin Coble & Company. The Wildcats will rely on the deep ball to stay in games.

Tourney teams (in order of conference finish)

  1. Michigan State
  2. Purdue
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan
  5. Illinois
  6. Minnesota

All Conference Team

Most overrated - Northwestern (if that's possible)

Most underrated - Purdue's Junior class finally putting "getting it," Evan Turner's scoring ability

Notable non-conference match-ups:

  • 11/19 - Ohio State vs. North Carolina
  • 12/1 - Michigan State @ North Carolina
  • 12/19 - Michigan @ Kansas
  • 12/22 - Texas @ Michigan State
  • 1/1 - West Virginia @ Purdue

Five story lines to keep tabs on:

  • Michigan. A surprise team last season, the Sims-Harris duo could be one of the best inside outside threats.
  • Talor Battle. He literally may carry the Nittany Lions on his back. The diminutive guard has a flair for the dramatics.
  • Northwestern. How mind-boggling is it to say that the Wildcats are being overhyped on whether or not they can just make the NCAA Tournament?
  • Wisconsin. Bo Ryan is pretty good at doing something with nothing. This year might be the ultimate test.
  • Raymar Morgan. Battling mononucleosis last season, he underperformed. If he plays to his potential then the Spartans are going to be scary.