WRST Sports

Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh

NCAA Basketball: Trying to make some sense out of all this mayhem.

Welcome to March, everyone! Warmer temperatures, spring break for us college kids, and what seems like an infinite amount of college basketball… isn’t this great? As the college basketball season rolls into its most festive month, mid-majors are on top, traditional powers are on the bubble, the Big Ten continues to beat itself to the verge of death, and overall, things continue to make no sense whatsoever.  But who would dare to complain? I must confess—I am essentially in heaven. But, there’s still work to be done, so let’s try to decipher a few things. In obedience to the region in which we live and the conference that will boast the most tournament teams, let’s take a quick trip around the conference they abbreviate “The B1G”. TO THE MIDWEST WE GO.

big10-11-nav-logo

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Big Ten is still by far the best and most competitive conference in all of college basketball. Need proof? Seven of the top 11 teams in the nation in terms of strength of schedule hail from the conference, including all of the top five teams. And those numbers are only going to continue to rise until Selection Sunday because, believe it or not, Big Ten teams are only going to play each other until the tournament begins. I’ll be amazed if all 12 coaches make it out of the Big Ten Tournament without any considerable hair loss or the development of a serious heart condition. And even if they do, most of them still have the NCAA Tournament to look forward to.

How many teams will make that particular bracket? Most say seven. I say eight. Of the ones that make it, which ones will be seeded where? That’s an excellent question. Trying to determine which team is better than the next is like trying to piece together a very delicate, very elaborate, very athletic, and very well-coached puzzle.

From top to bottom, here are my Big Ten Power Rankings, including what seed I think teams currently sit at, and how far I think they can go in the big dance. You can call it the BK Index.

  1. Indiana—The Hoosiers lost to an underrated team at an underrated facility in an underrated atmosphere. So what? Indiana is still the most tournament-ready team. It’s still the Big Ten champion (for the first time in 11 years). And it’s still my favorite to win it all. Seed: 1. Ceiling: National Champions.
  2. Michigan—Young, yes. But the Wolverines are the most individually talented team in all of college basketball. They struggle on the road and, obviously, there are no true road games in a tournament setting, so I don’t see any reason beyond basic inexperience to doubt this team down the road. They earned my confidence with a tight win over Michigan State on Sunday. Let’s face it, when your point guard can simply take the ball away from someone else in crunch time (yes, I’m looking at you, Keith Appling), you shouldn’t have a ton of worries. Seed: 2. Ceiling: National Champions
  3. Michigan State—The team has lost three in a row, but never doubt Tom Izzo in March. As long as Appling can re-learn how to take care of this thing we call a basketball, the Spartans are a legitimate threat, as always, to make a deep run. Seed: 2. Ceiling: Final Four.
  4. Wisconsin—It’s between the Badgers and Ohio State for the four-spot, and even after a dreadful loss at home to Purdue, Wisconsin still has a crushing 71-49 victory over the Buckeyes to hang its hat on. More on the Badgers later. Seed: 4. Ceiling: Elite Eight.
  5. Ohio State—Even though I think Wisconsin is a better head-to-head team than the Buckeyes right now, I still think OSU has a better shot to make a championship run. The reason is simple: better point guard play. I’ll take Aaron Craft over Traevon Jackson any day of the week and 17 teams on Sundays…especially proven by T-Jack’s performance yesterday. Seed: 4. Ceiling: Final Four.
  6. Minnesota—DON’T SLEEP ON THE GOPHERS. They’ve always had the talent, and are now peaking at the right time. And, oh yeah, they also happen to have a national championship-winning coach on the sideline. Seed: 8. Ceiling: Elite Eight.
  7. Illinois—After putting together a stellar non-conference resume, the Illini are finally starting to turn things around again. I’m still not sold on them as a legitimate threat, but at least they’ve solidified themselves as a tournament team. Seed: 10. Ceiling: Sweet 16.
  8. Iowa—As far as I’m concerned, Iowa should be in. But, it needs to win its last two games and get to that magical 20-win mark. Luckilly for the Hawkeyes, they’re both at home and against beatable opponents. Seed: 12. Ceiling: 2nd round.
  9. Purdue—“UGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” –Badger fans everywhere. Seed: 9…in the B1G Tournament. Ceiling: Fan.
  10. Nebraska—It doesn’t say much about the prestige, but this program is probably on the rise. I think? Who knows. When does football season start? Seed: You mean, like…bird seed? All we have is corn. Ceiling: LOL.
  11. Penn State—I’ll bump the Lions up for their win over Michigan and their hockey team’s victory over Wisconsin. Seed: NOPE. Ceiling: *BUZZER SOUND*
  12. Northwestern—I envy its journalism program, but Northwestern’s basketball program, largely due to some major injuries, is a mess right now. I won’t even make fun of the Wildcats by giving them a fake seed.

More on the Badgers… I would say that maybe Sunday’s loss will be a wakeup call for Wisconsin, but how was this loss an different than any other Badger loss? It included a classic Wisconsin scoring drought, a typical assortment of defensive lapses, a completely lack of energy, a premature sense of urgency which led to a few Ben Brust heaves from 3 feet beyond the arch, and, of course, a scarily quiet Kohl Center crowd. The Badgers were able to hang around, but the self-inflicted dagger that was Mike Bruesewitz’s breakaway dunk, er…layup, er…trip during which he hoisted the ball somewhere in the general area of section 202 killed any hopes that Wisconsin had of winning a game that it didn’t deserve anyway. The loss won’t wake up Bo Ryan’s squad. It was simply a reminder of just how bad this Wisconsin team can be. All that Badger fans can hope for is that that particular team won’t show up come tournament time. And as one of those Badger fans, I’ll just be thankful that this team is where it is now. Before the win against Indiana, I would have been happy to hear that it would even be in the tournament.

A few random and very literal shouts from around the rest of the nation. BRING IN THE CAPS LOCKGONZAGA IS NOT THE BEST TEAM. THEY’LL GET KNOCKED OUT IN THE SECOND ROUND. SHARPIE.

KENTUCKY IS OUT. OUT, I SAY.

HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNAMENT STARTS TUESDAY. LET’S GO PHOENIX! COME RISE WITH US.

IS THE PAC-12 EVEN A REAL CONFERENCE?

FOR THAT MATTER, CAN ANYONE WEST OF THE ROCKIES EVEN PLAY BASKETBALL?

Someone get me some water… My throat burns from screaming.

And now, world of sports

I have nothing to add. This month is ALL ABOUT COLLEGE BASKETBALL. Good day to you all.

Brandon Kinnard, Titan TV Sports Director

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This entry was posted on March 4, 2013 by in NCAAB.
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