Evan Turner wasn't necessarily a highlight reel Sunday, but his overall play was instrumental yet again in Ohio State's most recent triumph.
The visiting Buckeyes blasted a pretty good Illinois team riding a five-game winning streak, including a pair of victories over Big Ten heavies Michigan State and Wisconsin.
The Bracketology field is based on how the tourney looks "as of this moment." The field below is not based on who I think deserves to be in, but a prediction of what the committee would do as things stand. Beginning this week, I'll be posting Bracketology updates every Tuesday & Friday. In late February, I release Bracketology updates daily as the season approaches crunch time.
Power Conference Ranking
It may not feel like it to the respective conferences, but it has been over six years since the ACC raided the Big East, taking with them Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to reach the mandatory 12 team minimum for a conference football championship game. The Big East, caught flat-footed by the move, promptly raided Conference USA, which in turn raided the Western Athletic Conference, which then invaded the Sun Belt Conference – leading to one of the most dramatic re-alignments in college sports since the expansion of the “major” conferences themselves in the early 90’s.
For the first time in the eleven years of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge the trophy is headed to the midwest thanks to three wins on Wednesday night. Wisconsin's 73-69 win over #5 Duke was the result that will get the headlines but it was Ohio State taking care of Florida State that officially clinched the win. But back to the Badgers, who showed once again why it isn't wise to doubt a Bo Ryan-coached team. Trevon Hughes led Wisconsin with twenty-six points and the Badgers finished even with Duke on the boards (32-32).
Wednesday marks the final night of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the two leagues go into the evening tied at three victories apiece. So which game could this come down to? Many are pointing towards Minnesota visiting Miami in a game that on paper before the season began looked to be a Golden Gophers victory. But it's a likely candidate for a tight finish provided the Hurricanes can keep big man Dwayne Collins out of foul trouble. Ralph Sampson III and Colton Iverson are solid young bigs but are they physical enough to hand with the senior?
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which the ACC has never lost, takes center stage for the next two days with Michigan State visiting North Carolina in the event's showcase game. The Tar Heels won both meetings last season by double-digit margins, at Ford Field in December and right back on that same floor for the national title in April. But many of the faces in Carolina blue have changed and the young Heels will be tested by a seasoned group of Spartans. The individual matchup to watch: North Carolina's Larry Drew going up against the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year in Kalin Lucas.
With six teams in CHN's preseason Top 25, and 3 more teams with NCAA Tournament hopes, no league has more depth than the Big Ten. And an improving Indiana into the mix, and this should be quite a season for Big Ten fans.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?