The Big Ten Bloggers Basketball Poll is a labor of love supervised by Gopher Nation, voted on by a variety of bloggers with varying degrees of hoops knowledge, and brought to you every Sunday by Hawkeye State, who is 6'7" and cannot dunk.
Robert Goulet: Music legend. Hollywood royalty. Accomplished actor on stage and screen. Lover of nature. These things are well-known. What you may not know is the man is nuts about Big Ten hoops. We couldn't think of a better person to provide comments for this week's poll.*
1. Indiana (14-1, 3-0) (Previous: #1)
Last week: 2-0 (W @Mich., vs. Illini)
Next week: @ Minn. 1/17
These cats can ball. Everyone's giving them the business because Sampson broke some rules. But let me tell you something, amigo: Rules are made to be broken. There was this time in 1962, I was in the Broadway production of Camelot with Richard Burton. One night after a show, Rick and I met up with Mickey Rooney for a late drink. Well, boys will be boys, one thing led to another, bada bing, bada boom, Rooney pistol whips the bartender. This bozo is talking about pressing charges and calls in a cop, so we planted heroin behind the bar and got the bartender hauled off. We drank every drop of booze in that joint. The next day, Rick met Liz Taylor. The rest, as they say, is history.
So, anywho, these cats can ball.
2. Wisconsin (13-2, 3-0) (Previous: #3)
Last week: 1-0 (W vs. Illini)
Next week: @PSU 1/15, vs. NW 1/19
These hombres play tough. Their style is about as pretty as my second divorce, but they win ballgames. I don't remember if it was Al Davis or Dom DeLuise who said it first: Just win, baby. For what it's worth, I recorded a version of "Jump Around" for The Coconut Bangers' Ball 2: Hippety Hop Until You Drop.
3. Minnesota (12-3, 2-1) (Previous: #5)
Last week: 2-0 (W vs. NW, @PSU)
Next week: vs. IU 1/17
[starts humming "Downtown" by Petula Clark]
What is it called
When Big Ten basketball
Teams have taken a fall
When everyone's lost
And nobody's boss
I'll tell you what, hoss
Logjam, everyone's lost a game
Logjam, the Gophers might still be lame
Logjam, but they're number three this week
4. Ohio State (12-4, 3-1) (Previous: #4)
Last week: 1-1 (W vs. Iowa, L @Pur.)
Next week: @MSU 1/15, @Tenn. 1/19
A little message to Kosta Koufos: Those people calling you "Koufos the doofus"? Ignore them. There's always going to be people knocking you on the way to the top. You think nobody ever made fun of my name? The schoolkids always used to call me "Creme Goulet." Did being compared to a custard-and-sugar confection bother me? Absolutely, but I made damn sure to send each of them a Christmas card every year back when I was doing Carol Lawrence. Just like creme brulee, revenge is a dish best served cold, pal.
5. Michigan State (14-2, 2-1) (Previous: #2)
Last week: 1-1 (W vs. Purd., L @ Iowa)
Next week: vs. OSU 1/15
Speaking of taking some knocks on the way to the top, yowza. But don't worry, Spartans. No matter what our alma mater may be, we've all attended the School of Hard Knocks. I'll never forget 1985. Those damned new wave kids had no use for the old standards, with their synthesizers and key-tars and flocks of seagulls. I couldn't get a movie role. I couldn't sell a record. I was making cameos on Murder She Wrote. I almost had to sell the yacht I keep at Tahoe. But then I did Beetlejuice, and before I knew it I was performing at Bart Simpson's treehouse casino & hotel.
The lesson? Persistence pays. Now stop turning the ball over, Sparty.
6. Purdue (11-5, 2-1) (Previous: #6)
Last week: 1-1 (L @MSU, W vs. OSU)
Next week: @Iowa 1/16, vs. Illini 1/19
To tell you the truth, I haven't watched Purdue this season, so let me take the opportunity to answer the question everyone asks the most: Julie Andrews. I'll let you figure out what the question is. Ha! GOULET!
7. Penn State (10-5, 2-1) (Previous: #7)
Last week: 0-1 (L vs. Minn.)
Next week: vs. Wisc. 1/15
[starts humming "Undone" by The Guess Who]
They've come undone
They've got a program that's never been great
Most of their past players were overweight
They are Penn State
They've come undone
They tried to convince us they have a squad
But Minnesota showed this team is flawed
They are Penn State
It's too late - HA!
They've gone too far - HEY!
They've lost the sun - YEAH!
They're not much fun...
[back to speaking]
Memo to Penn State: You want to show you belong with the grown-ups? Seal the deal. Until then, you're still Joey Bishop.
8. Iowa (8-9, 1-3) (Previous: #9)
Last week: 1-1 (L @OSU, W vs. MSU)
Next week: 1/16 vs. Purd., 1/19 @Mich.
This team is ugly. When it wins, it wins ugly. When it loses, it loses very ugly. It reminds me of a story: One day back in 1990, I got a call from Vince McMahon. Said he was with the WWF, and he wanted me to sing the national anthem at some newfangled thing called WrestleMania. Now I've never been much of a wrestling fan; I've always preferred cockfighting, to tell you the truth, but to each his own. Still, it's a paying gig, so I accepted. I get on the plane and have a few cocktails. Well, little did I know that this WrestleMania was in Toronto, and the national anthem I was hired to sing was "O Canada." I don't know the words to "O Canada." Someone gets me a sheet of paper with the lyrics, but it's useless because of the cocktails, so I went out there are sang "I've Got You Under My Skin." Old blue eyes, you know? Well, I'm leaving the stage, and some ugly Canadian says, "Hey Goulet, you suck!" I had no choice but to headbutt him. It was ugly, but it was a win. Just like that Iowa/Michigan State game this week.
9. Illinois (8-9, 0-4) (Previous: #8)
Last week: 0-2 (L @Wisc., @IU)
Next week: vs. Mich 1/16, @ Purd. 1/19
Close call there at Indiana. And, believe me, I know a thing or two about close calls. When The Coconut Bangers' Ball: It's a Rap hit the shelves - and, by the way, it's still available for 10 clams on iTunes - I was visited by some representatives of the estate of the late, great Biggie. These gentlemen claimed I was stealing B.I.G.'s music. I calmly reminded them that my man Biggie stole the music from someone else in the first place, but they weren't too interested in irony. Capiche? For a moment, I contemplated giving each a knuckle sandwich - POW - right in the kisser, but I didn't have my brass knuckles. So I agreed to give them a cut of the income generated by my offshore cockfighting operation and sent them on their way.
The moral of the story? Know when you're weak and act accordingly, always remembering that someday you'll be strong again. Oh, and don't leave your bedroom without brass knuckles and a switchblade.
10. Michigan (5-11, 1-3) (Previous: #11)
Last week: 1-1 (L vs. IU, W @NW)
Next week: @Ill. 1/16, vs. Iowa 1/19
11. Northwestern (5-8, 0-4) (Previous: #10)
Last week: 0-2 (L @OSU, vs. Mich.)
Next week: @ Chicago State 1/16, @Wisc. 1/19
[starts humming "Chicago" by Frank Sinatra]
Chicago, Chicago, the home of the 'Cats
Chicago, Chicago, man, that team is bats
Their guys aren't tall, their guys aren't too fast
They even lost to Michigan's cast
And that's why this week they're coming in last
That's Chicago, home of the 'Cats
That's all for me, boys. Time for some cherry Pop Tarts. Until next time, keep your ear to the grindstone and your ass on the barstool. GOULET!
* -- I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to lament the death of Robert Goulet, who was a great musician, underrated actor, and the star of the best ESPN commercials ever, during the glory days of The Worldwide Leader. Godspeed, Bob.