Don’t look now but the Big Ten is slowly becoming a basketball conference. The conference which has long been associated with Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, 3 yards and a cloud of dust, is slowly regaining its foothold as a basketball conference. True the football teams, even the much vaunted, Ohio State and Michigan, have come up woefully short on the National stage, but the resurgence is due to the influx of coaching and player talent that has slowly been coming into the conference over the last few years.
Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin look to lead the conference this year in the National spotlight with Purdue coming into the year ranked as high as 5th (Sports Illustrated). Purdue is coming off a surprise year in which they came one game away from winning the Big Ten crown with a team full of Freshman and Sophomores. They are the front runners and have even been mentioned as a possible Final Four team.
But it’s not only the Boilers who are looking at big things, Wisconsin has one of the most underrated coaches in all of college in Bo Ryan, and Michigan State, under the leadership of Coach Izzo, is again loaded with talent and grit.
The future of the Big Ten looks bright. IU, despite the the growing pains they will suffer this year, can look forward to a proven winner in Coach Crean, and a top rated 2009-’10 recruiting class, as can the folks in Iowa who stole Todd Lickliter away from Butler where he consistently built winning programs that competed with the BCS conference teams.
It’s an exciting time to be a Big Ten basketball fan, because, well as the commercials say, this is Big Ten Country!