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 is brought to you tonight by Oops Pow Surprise, who shot James A. Garfield in 1881.
As we celebrate George Washington's Birthday or President's Day or whatever people call it, we can't help but look back on what makes this country great: nationally televised hot dog eating contests. Well, that, and our system of government: the first and only democracy with nationally televised hot dog eating contests.
Going back to the governmental side, we celebrate not only our executive branch, but the flimsy sheet of paper that gave us that branch: The Constitution. Thus, let's look at the Big Ten this week and note the striking similarities the teams have to the articles of the biggest trampling of Constitutional authority in our nation's history: the Bill of Rights.
1. Purdue (21-5, 12-1)
Last Week: 2-0 (W vs. Michigan State, W @ Northwestern)
This Week: 2/19 @ Indiana
- Second Amendment: The Right to Bear Arms
No, this has nothing to do with Purdue being a "well-armed militia"; they're not great shooters. No, this has to do with Matt Painter.
He's got a bear head; the least he deserves is his Constitutional right to bear arms too.
2. Wisconsin (21-4, 11-2)
Last Week: 2-0 (W @ Indiana, W vs. Minnesota)
This Week: 2/20 @ Illinois, 2/24 @ Ohio State
- Sixth Amendment: Rights of the Accused
Among the rights afforded to the accused are confrontation of witnesses against the party. To that end, Wisconsin recently faced Purdue and Indiana for the second time this year. and secured their record against the two. They swept Indiana and lost both to Purdue, which firmly entrenches Wisconsin in second place, likely their sentence for the year. Would we take the Boilers over the Badgers in the BXI Tourney? Shit no.
3. Michigan State (20-5, 8-4)
Last Week: 0-2 (L @ Purdue, L @ Indiana)
This Week: 2/20 vs. Penn State, 2/23 vs. Iowa
- Tenth Amendment: Power of State
No, this isn't a cheap pun. Not after last week. The Tenth Amendment places certain powers with the state, and in the case of this State, that's where all the power is. As a matter of fact, on MSU's last three road games, Sparty's been made a prison bitch. This isn't even a matter of scheduling, either; they lost at fucking Penn State. The Spartaaaans! need to start discovering their powers on a, uh, federal level again, or things are going to get awfully hairy when they hit a second round game against a Butler team who's seriously pissed off to only be a 6-seed.
4. Indiana (21-4, 10-2)
Last Week: 1-1 (L vs. Wisconsin, W vs. Michigan State)
This Week: 2/19 vs. Purdue, 2/23 @ Northwestern
- First Amendment: Freedom of Speech
From a strictly basketball metric, they don't deserve to be behind Michigan State. But this whole Kelvin Sanctions thing stinks like a lingering beer fart, and even though they pulled off a convincing win against a possum Sparty (gets killed on the road, etc., etc.), to pretend that the latest negative press isn't a giant distraction is at best intellectually dishonest. Plus DJ White's knee is now a concern, and the last thing you want for a big man is a knee injury.
But this is about freedom of speech. All Kelvin Sanctions did was talk to people. Exchange opinions and ideas. And now he stands to lose his job? I'm not saying the NCAA is a bunch of unconstitutional assholes, but that's exactly what I'm saying. I think it's time for a Million Hoosier March on Washington.
5. Minnesota (15-9, 5-7)
Last Week: 0-2 (L vs. Illinois, L @ Wisconsin)
This Week: 2/21 vs. Michigan, 2/24 vs. Penn State
- Fourth Amendment: Protection From Unreasonable Search and Seizure
The Gophers are good at one thing only: thievery. Whether it's their ridiculous athleticism in the backcourt or the strange court in the Barn that you can't really prepare for without ruining your own floor, Minnesota is adept at taking the ball away from you, something that seems incredibly anti-American. Sure, they're not going to the NCAA, and sure, they'll lose in the NIT the minute they set foot outside the Barn. But this isn't the postseason yet, so be prepared to see your team lose up north until then.
6. Ohio State (17-9, 8-5)
Last Week: 1-1 (W @ Northwestern, L @ Michigan)
This Week: 2/24 vs. Wisconsin
- Ninth Amendment: Protection of Rights Not Specifically Enumerated in the Constitution
Though such a practice violates all notions of basketball sense as we know it, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits injecting your center with 7,000 cc's of Awesomeroids then running a perimeter-oriented offense anyway. You're safe from a legal standpoint, Thad, but for crying out loud, you've had Oden and Koufos, and all you can say is "let the guards chuck it"? This team should be 21-5, easily.
7. Michigan (8-17, 4-9)
Last week: 2-0 (W @ Iowa, W vs. Ohio State)
This week: 2/21 @ Minnesota, 2/23 or 2/24 vs. Illinois
- Eighth Amendment: Protection from Cruel and Unusual Punishment
You may thank the Bill of Rights, Michigan fan, for the past three games. Only in America does the Tommy Amaker Era not be followed up with a complete and total avalanche of failure. The Ohio State win was far more impressive than their comeback in Carver (AAAAARGH AAAAAARGH AAAAAARGH), and it's easy to think that with games left against Illinois, Penn State, and Northwestern, a 7-11 conference mark is fair to expect. Not great by any stretch, but far better than being a part of the "are they really worse than Northwestern" discussion, which is like if someone wonders out loud if you're worse than Hitler and AIDS combined and kind of has a point.
8. Iowa (11-15, 4-9)
Last Week: 0-1 (L vs. Michigan)
This Week: 2/19 vs. Northwestern, 2/23 @ Michigan State
- Seventh Amendment: Civil Trial by Jury
Todd Lickliter is in the process of being tried by his peers--ten angry men, also known as Big Ten coaches. He seems to have held his own, though the sheer lack of talent supporting him seems to have finally caught up (Michigan? Really?). The real trial will be next year, as Lick is put in charge of developing incoming talent like Matt Gatens, Jermain Davis, and Anthony Tucker. It's one thing to lead a senior-laden team at a mid-major like Butler. It's quite another to lead a young one in the Big Ten. Sure, he's got them on pace for, let's say, 14 wins. It's still a much harder road from 14 to 20 expected wins than it is from 10 to 14. Especially when your peers will be trying you as much as possible. It's time to dig in and fight this.
9. Illinois (11-15, 3-10)
Last Week: 1-1 (W @ Minnesota, L @ Penn State)
This Week: 2/20 vs. Wisconsin, 2/23 or 2/24 Michigan
- Fifth Amendment: Self-Incrimination
Senator: "Mr. Weber, you have no guard play to speak of this year, nor will you next year. Your offense is utter garbage. For all intents and purposes, you've been eliminated from all postseason play since the middle of January. You have completely squandered all of the recruiting advantages afforded to a team to the NCAA championship game in just three years. What do you have to say for yourself?"
10. Penn State (12-12, 4-8)
Last Week: 1-1 (L @ Michigan, W vs. Illinois)
This Week: 2/20 @ Michigan State, 2/24 @ Minnesota
- Twenty-First Amendment: Repeal of the Prohibition of Alcohol
Thank God for this, right guys? Drink up; football season's not for another six and a half months. And yes, this isn't part of the original Bill of Rights, but Penn State's not one of the original members of the Big Ten, so suck it, Nits.
11. Northwestern (7-16, 0-12)
Last Week: 0-2 (L vs. Ohio State, L vs. Purdue)
This Week: 2/19 @ Iowa, 2/23 vs. Indiana
- Third Amendment: Quartering Soldiers
You know, we get that you played an important role in the formation of the union and everything, but that doesn't change the fact that by all modern and relevant standards you're useless, and if you disappeared nobody would really care.