Hi from Bismarck! Or...maybe hi from Bismarck, I guess? I’m writing this in balmy suburban St. Paul, then hopping in my car at about 3:30am on Tuesday morning and driving to Bismarck to visit the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
If I die, I request the following: (1) Graham gets my student loan debt, (2) Jesse, please delete my browser history, (3) BRT gets intellectual ownership of whatever shit I’ve actually drafted out as part of this dissertation. [This Last Will and Testament expires January 5, 2018.]
This is a Big Ten basketball Power Poll. If you didn’t know, Big Ten basketball has already kind of begun with a little 2-game taster in December in which we learned that rutger is still likely bad, Michigan State is far and away the best team in the conference, and no one else save maybe Purdue has any motherfucking clue what they’re doing. You knew that already, for the most part, but I like to keep you updated.
I didn’t have any good ideas for power polls, but we’ve been kicking this idea around for a while, and I’m going to pirate it so I can claim I’ve technically written two power polls with themes.
The other, you may remember, was on Midwestern Interstates. You can guess how well it went.
Anyhow, this week we’ll be comparing each Big Ten basketball team to their Big Ten football analog. Are these analogies good? Probably not. Do I give one flying fuck? No, because I’m driving to Bismarck tomorrow and if I don’t die in a
fiery icy car wreck between Ayr and Valley City, Little Rocket Man will press the big red button, anyway.
10 voters. You do the math.
140 points | H: 1 | L: 1 | 10 FPV | No change
Sure. You’re good at this sport. We get it. Whatever. I hope you draw some super-hot mid-major in the Sweet Sixteen and lose. Or that you lose 55-21 at Iowa. That would be amusing, even if it approached wisconsin basketball levels of bad offense.
 #13 Purdue Boilermakers - wisconsin badgers
130 points | H: 2 | L: 2 | No change
Decent at what they do (usually involving having people who shouldn’t legally be allowed to be that size but somehow are), 1-2 games/year where they forget to keep doing what they’re good at (notably using those people/not throwing the football), win the occasional conference championship.
Do not have national titles from an era after the Third Reich was a thing. Telling.
113 points | H: 3 | L: 6 | No change
Both wish it was 1997 again to feel the only thing approaching relevance they’ve ever known.
 Michigan Wolverines - Michigan State Spartans
109 points | H: 3 | L: 5 | +2
The “oh, you’re still there?” program of Big Ten basketball. Both opt for plodding offenses, though one relies on finesse while the other prefers sheer brute force. Really, though, this comparison involves both peaking a few years back, making the Final Four, and then fading back into the “oh right, you exist” status where they’re...like, good, but not good.
Fuck you, it makes sense in my head.
100 points | H: 3 | L: 8 | -1
I dunno. I guess I thought both teams would have longer rebuilds?
Just skip this one. This is a shit Power Poll anyways. Where’s BRT and a good football Power Poll? That’s why you read this fucking website.
96 points | H: 3 | L: 6 | -1
This worked more during the Bo Pelini/Mike Riley era of Husker football, as both programs were clinging to older ideas of national titles and some anachronistic bullshit that no longer exists. Gary ain’t walking through the door, Tom is feasting on brains, and no one in the Great Lakes gives a shit about your programs.
I don’t know who is the Scott Frost equivalent for Maryland. I’m sure TT readers have someone in mind. I probably don’t care.
 Northwestern Wildcats - Northwestern Wildcats
80 points | H: 6 | L: 8 | no change
Is this a cop-out? You bet your sweet ass it is. But my ‘Cats are the lovable losers of whatever they do, then creep out of that abject mediocrity to be just good enough to give us a reason to be insufferable.
We don’t really need a reason, though.
Also in 2017 both went to exotic locations for specific kinds of white people, choked away a massive lead against a mediocre SEC team, then got delightful dick-trippage [basketball version, football version] to hang onto the win.
(Bryant McIntosh is not dead despite leaving the Brown game with a knee injury and I am mildly relieved but also someone please teach him to shoot better; thanks)
 Penn State Nittany Lions - Purdue Boilermakers
66 points | H: 7 | L: 10 | +1
Are you playing high-flying, relatively interesting basketball/football? Good, then you have my attention.
Are you not? Then go away.
Both programs appear on the upswing with young, good coaches, but I actually believe in Purdue’s ability to get to the next level with theirs.
Also both mascots creep me the fuck out, both play in cavernous, empty stadiums, and Penn State basketball, like Purdue football, may be the only team that could go up in our estimation despite losing to Rider.
 Iowa Hawkeyes - Minnesota Golden Gophers
60 points | H: 7 | L: 13 | +5
You like Fran or you don’t like Fran. You like Peejer or...you’re sane.
Todd Lickliter is the Tim Brewster of Iowa basketball, and the only difference between Grinnin’ Glen and a certain former New Mexico basketball coach is that the latter should’ve been fired but wasn’t. [And that the latter was an unabashed rape apologist.]
Also Dr. Tom could be Murray Warmath for all I fucking care; I wasn’t alive when non-Alford Iowa basketball was remotely relevant.
 Indiana Hoosiers - Maryland Terrapins
43 points | H: 9 | L: 12 | no change
Tell me you wouldn’t watch Ralph Turgeon as a BTN analyst.
Anyway there are national championships somewhere in the distant past, and both programs have coaches working on an identity makeover. It’ll take some time.
 Nebraska Cornhuskers - Indiana Hoosiers
39 points | H: 9 | L: 12 | -3
We once rated Nebraska 8th? In Big Ten basketball?
Two programs that you always are kind of rooting for to crack through to the next level (unless you’re one of their rivals), but that you know never will.
 wisconsin badgers - Iowa Hawkeyes
30 points | H: 10 | L: 14 | 2 LPV | no change
Plodding, soul-sucking, and generally unpleasant. You don’t know which one I’m describing here, and that’s the point.
Also wisconsin is current enjoying its version of 2012 Iowa’s 4-8 campaign, and if they’re not actually enjoying it, I have a feeling we’re all enjoying it for them.
 Illinois Fighting Illini - probably Illinois
29 points | H: 9 | L: 13 | no change
Both make Thump drink. Both were at one point almost inexplicably good, and now we could give a shit.
Will you come up with better analogies than these? Yes, yes you will, and I give exactly zero fucks about that.
 rutger Scarlet Knights - a growler full of piss
15 points | H: 11 | L: 14 | 8 LPV | -3
Beat Seton Hall: “Wow, I’m gonna chug a growler!”
Loses to Stony Brook and Hartford in back-to-back games: “Hey, this isn’t beer, it’s urine!”