Big Ten Resume Review: Part IIPosted by Brendan Brody on December 10th, 2013
Yesterday we took a look at the current resumes of teams #12 to #7 in the Big Ten at this early point of the season. Today we examine the top six resumes.
6. Minnesota (8-2)
- Best Win: @ Richmond (74-59)
- Worst Loss: Arkansas (87-73)
- Breakdown: The Gophers have gotten off to a decent start with a win at home against Florida State and at Richmond highlighting their eight wins. They blew a chance at a marquee match-up with Gonzaga by losing to Arkansas in Maui, instead having to settle for a win against Division II Chaminade. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, they will be 11-2 heading into conference play. They didn’t really do anything to help their NCAA chances with the non-conference slate, but they also didn’t do anything to really damage them either.
- Status Right Now: NCAA #9-#12 seed.
- Projected Status: NCAA #9-#12 seed. They’ll have opportunities with two games each against Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. Going 3-3 in these games and maybe notching a road win out of one of those will carry major weight.
5. Indiana (7-2)
- Best Win: Stony Brook (90-74)
- Worst Loss: @ Syracuse (69-52)
- Breakdown: IU has looked a bit uneven at times, as the Hoosiers have had some games that have been a little closer than they should have been at home before turning it on at the end. They have also lost two games to teams that are a combined 18-0, but they haven’t really beaten anybody all that great yet either. They’ll have one more chance on Saturday in their annual Crossroads Classic tilt, this year against Notre Dame.
- Status Right Now: NCAA #8-#10 seed.
- Projected Status: NCAA #6-#9 seed. This is going to be a team that will make you scratch your head one game and marvel at their athleticism and talent the next. They’ll win some they shouldn’t, lose some they shouldn’t, and Selection Sunday will be an interesting evening in Bloomington.
4. Michigan State (7-1)
- Best Win: Kentucky (78-74)
- Worst Loss: North Carolina (79-65)
- Breakdown: Michigan State and Iowa were really close, and what separated the two was Sparty’s home loss against North Carolina. They didn’t just lose the game, they lost it pretty handily. The win at Kentucky should look even better later if all that talent eventually comes together. A win over Oklahoma could also potentially be decent. If MSU can get a win at Texas over a surprising Longhorns unit, they’ll have three pretty good wins in their back pocket heading into the conference slate.
- Status Right Now: NCAA #2-#5 seed.
- Projected Status: NCAA #1-#4 seed. This will mostly depend on how long Gary Harris is out. If he can come back right at the start of the conference slate, then Michigan State can still win the league and get a #1 seed. If his injury lingers longer than that, though, expect the Spartans to fall back some.
3. Iowa (10-1)
- Best Win: UTEP (89-53)
- Worst Loss: Villanova (88-83)
- Breakdown: Iowa has probably surpassed many a basketball fan’s expectations as the Hawkeyes have climbed into the Top 25 for the first time in Fran McCaffery’s tenure in Iowa City. They have beaten four top-100 teams according to KenPom’s rankings, including a 36-point drubbing of a UTEP team that had beaten a solid Tennessee team the day before. Wins over Xavier, Notre Dame and Drake are also pretty good resume-enhancers as well. If they can knock off their intrastate rival at Iowa State Friday night, they’ll have the type of resume where they have to be looked at as a team that can finish in the top three of the league.
- Status Right Now: NCAA #3-#5 seed.
- Projected Status: NCAA #5 seed. Iowa has answered the question of whether it will be able to hang around at the top of the league with its performance so far. The Hawkeyes are really deep and really good, and could play into a higher seed with an 13-5 or 14-4 league mark.
2. Ohio State (8-0)
- Best Win: @ Marquette (52-35)
- Worst Loss: None
- Breakdown: Granted Marquette hasn’t gotten off to the greatest of starts, but that said, they are still probably going to contend for the Big East, so beating them by 17 and holding them to 35 points in doing so was impressive. The Buckeyes have not won a game by fewer than 10 points this year, and also boast a 16-point win over a Maryland team that still could turn it around later, possibly making that feat look better than it does right now. Ohio State gets Notre Dame on December 21 on a neutral floor, and it plays two mid-majors — North Dakota State and Delaware — in KenPom’s top 100 before that.
- Status Right Now: NCAA #1-#2 seed.
- Projected Status: NCAA #1-#3 seed. Offensive questions remain, but with LaQuinton Ross getting back on track, this team is dangerous as a legitimate Final Four contender.
1. Wisconsin (10-0)
- Best Win: @ Virginia (48-38)
- Worst Loss: None
- Breakdown: The RPI has the Badgers ranked at #5 right now, but it would be hard to argue that they haven’t put together one the best, if not the best, resume in college basketball thus far. Wins over St. John’s, Florida, Green Bay, St. Louis, West Virginia, Virginia and Marquette gives them seven wins against potential NCAA Tournament teams. Wisconsin has three more non-conference home games that should be easier than any of the games just mentioned, so look for them to head into the new year with an unblemished 13-0 record and a tremendous body of work that can only be enhanced by the league games to come.
- Status Right Now: NCAA #1 seed.
- Projected Status: NCAA #1-#3 seed. The Badgers luck out and get only one game against Michigan State and Ohio State, and both are in Madison. They’ve outplayed expectations so far and could very well be on the cusp of making an incredible run to a deep NCAA Tournament berth and a very high seed.