I keyed in on this conference last month, when I realized that the Big 10 was indeed the most competitive in the country, and also boasted five teams that called for appointment television for any self-respecting college basketball fan.
Basketball Prospectus' John Gasaway puts it best: "today officially marks a bold new chaotic era in Big Ten hoops." He's right, and we should embrace it. After jumping to a 5-0 start, Michigan St. has come back to earth as losers of their last three. The injury to Kalin Lucas has forced Tom Izzo to switch up his rotation, with his best ball handler and team leader still working to get back to 100 percent. Meanwhile, Illinois is gelling at the right time. Preceding last night's thriller in East Lansing, the Fighting Illini shocked a lot of people by tripping up Wisconsin in Madison, handing the Badgers their first Kohl Center loss of the season. In Columbus, Evan Turner is part of every National POY conversation and Purdue has its legs back under them after a messy January. Suddenly, there's a log jam in the top half of the league.
How do you even begin to pick a first-team all-conference? Is Turner the best point guard in the conference? Demetri McCamey has been shooting nearly 60 percent in his last four games. Since when did he become so unguardable? These are things I think about at least seven times a day.
Normally, you would need a heavy dose of choice and expensive stimulants to get through 40 minutes of Big Ten basketball, but now that tingly feeling you get during some of these games is all natural, baby!
Big Ten Conference Standings
(updated 2.10.2010 at 1:36 AM EST)
|Michigan St. Spartans||9||3||19||6|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||9||3||17||8|
|Ohio St. Buckeyes||8||3||18||6|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||5||5||14||8|
|Penn St. Nittany Lions||0||11||8||15|