We have reached the halfway point in the conference season and things are starting to look pretty solid. I think four Big Ten teams will be headed to the NCAA Tournament barring a major collapse. There are three more that have legitimate Bubble chances, while the remaining four are hoping for the NIT at best unless they get hot for four days in Indianapolis. ESPN's first edition of the Bubble Watch agrees with me, putting Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin in as locks with Ohio State all but there. Minnesota, Northwestern, and Illinois are still working, while Michigan, Penn State, Iowa, and Indiana are done.
We don't need to worry about seeding quite yet, but we're getting close. Purdue and Michigan State look like they could each get top 2 seeds if they keep winning. Ohio State and Wisconsin could also end up with top four seeds. It is a tough year, but these four are clearly the best teams in the conference.
Since we're halfway through the conference season, it is the perfect time for a Power Rankings. It has been a few weeks since I have done a power rankings here, but that only means we have reached the third in our Office trilogy of subjects. First we had Creed Bratton, then Dwight Schrute. Now, we have the man himself: The one and only Michael Scott. This could be really hard, but that's what she said.
- Michigan State (19-3, 9-0) - I'm like Superman and the people who work here are like the citizens of Gotham City. - It just feels like everyone else is in a different world from Michigan State at the moment. They have come close, but I respect them for surviving to make it to 9-0. They haven't clinched the conference yet, but if they make it to 12-0 they will because their next three games are against Wisconsin, Illinois, and Purdue. If they get all of those, it is over because they would have a four game lead on everyone except Ohio State. If that is not Superman I don't know what is. For Purdue to have a chance they must lose two of the next three, with one of those being their game against the Boilers.
Ohio State (16-3, 6-3) - My point is... my point is, a penis - when seen in the right context - is the most wonderful sight for a woman. But in the wrong context it is like a monster movie. - Isn't that Evan Turner now that he is healthy? The Buckeyes suffered greatly without him, but now that he is back I think they are the most talented team in the conference. Yes, I compared Evan turner to a penis because I would be pretty frightened if he or a penis were attacking me on a basketball court.
- Purdue (18-3, 6-3) - No, no, I need two men on this. That's what she said. No time! But she did. NO TIME! - Those two men are any two men that can beat Michigan State. No matter what we do, we still need them to lose at least one more game. One of those men is Lewis Jackson, whose return could definitely make Purdue even better. The second is Chris Kramer, who needs to return to his normal form from his ankle injury. In another context, the two men we need are Wisconsin and Illinois this week. Otherwise, there will be no time to catch the Spartans.
- Wisconsin (16-6, 6-3) - Yeah I went hunting once. Shot the deer in the leg. Had to kill it with a shovel. Took about an hour. Why do you ask? - That is what it feels like when you are trying to beat Wisconsin. They just refuse to die, especially if you have any kind of a lead on them at the Kohl Center. If they top Michigan State tonight it would be their third win over a top 10 team in Madison. Thank goodness we don't have to go back. Their schedule is relatively simple if they can get past the Spartans, but a home and home with Illinois could be tricky.
- Illinois (14-8, 6-3) - I am a victim of a hate crime. Stanley knows what I'm talking about. - This is for Bruce Weber, who has drawn the ire of nearly every fanbase in the Big Ten with his antics. Illinois doesn't truly have a name win this year. Clemson is overrated, and they have some pretty bad losses in non-conference play dragging them down. They must get at least one of the next four. Of course, after the next four games against the four teams above them they will probably feel like victims of a hate crime.
- Minnesota (13-8, 4-5) - Bros before hoes. Why? Because your bros are always there for you. They got your back after your ho rips your heart out for no good reason. And you were nothing but great to your ho, and you told her that she was the only ho for you. And then suddenly... she's not yo' ho no mo'. - Minnesota began the year with a decent ranking and the hope of contending. Halfway home, they are under .500 in the conference and fighting for an NCAA bid. So far they are 0-4 against the top four and they have an ugly loss at Indiana on their record. The NCAA may not be their ho this year, even though they treated it well last year.
- Northwestern (14-7, 3-6) - In my opinion the third date is traditionally the one where you have sex. Does Holly feel that way? I don't know. I will probably find out tonight. If she starts having sex with me I'll know for sure. - It will be the third part of the season hat decides if Northwestern finally gets to have sex, I mean, make the NCAA Tournament. Though they are 3-6 in the conference, they have a tailor-made finishing kick to get to the NCAA's. They have seven games remaining against the bottom four of Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Penn State. They have to win those seven games and probably the home game against Minnesota to have a chance.
- Michigan (11-10, 4-5) - When I discovered YouTube, I didn't work for five days. I did nothing. I viewed cookie monster sings chocolate rain about 1,000 times. - Apparently that is what Michigan was doing last week in the final two minutes instead of running a competent offense. Did they seriously settle for two airballed threes in the last two minutes with the lead? Come on, you're playing at home against a rival! You have shot like Ralphie and his BB gun all night, Attack the basket. And now, your NCAA chances are over.
- Indiana (9-11, 3-5) - When I said that I was king of forwards, you got to understand that I don't come up with this stuff. I just forward it along. You wouldn't arrest a guy who was just passing drugs from one guy to another. - Ladies and gentlemen, your stereotypical IU fan: "How can you get sanctions from a few extra phone calls? We're the king of college basketball." The Hoosiers are much better this season, but they have a very difficult finishing stretch here in conference play beginning with Thursday's visit by Purdue. There is not a for sure win left, with a home game against Northwestern probably the best shot.
- Iowa (8-14, 2-7) - I know it's illegal in Pennsylvania, but it's for charity, and I consider myself a great philanderer. - This goes to Iowa because they are the charity of two Big Ten wins to many teams in the conference. They are probably the most improved team over the course of the conference season though because of the two wins and the scares they have put into other teams. As we knew from the last power rankings, some types of philandering are better than watching Iowa basketball.
- Penn State (8-13, 0-9) - It's a bridal shower for guys. A guy shower. An hour-long shower with guys. - And that is on the list of things Nittany Lion fans would rather do than watch their basketball team.