With just over three weeks before conference play begins in the Big Ten -- and with the Big Ten football title game now behind us -- I figured it was the perfect time to examine the following question:
Who is the best team in the Big Ten?
Michigan State just spent the last three weeks as the nation's top-ranked team, but was upset at home by North Carolina on Wednesday in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. And the Spartans didn't look good at all in the process.
I thought Michigan State would be the best team in the conference when the season began because of its combination of talent and experience, but I don't know if I still think that now. Tom Izzo has gotten little consistency from Branden Dawson, Keith Appling and Gary Harris are a bit shaken up, and the Spartans simply don't have the same interior toughness they had with big Derrick Nix in the post.
Ohio State has experience, with guys like point guard Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. The Buckeyes have explosive talent, with players like Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross. And they have balance, with four players currently averaging and double figures and six players scoring between 8.6 and 12.1 points per game.
You could also make a case for Wisconsin as the conference's best team, but I think the Buckeyes have just a little more to work with, and I give them the slight edge because they have the Big Ten's best leader in Craft.
But Wisconsin is a perfect 10-0 with its best wins coming against Florida (by six at home) and Marquette (by six at home). The Badgers are also very well balanced.
What do you think? Chime in with your thoughts on the IU basketball premium forum. I'll have a thread in there specifically for you to tell me who you think is the best team in the Big Ten.