Week 11 AP Poll:
#15 - Wisconsin
#20 - Purdue
#22 - Maryland
Others Receiving Votes - Northwestern (28)
Week 11 Coaches Poll:
#15 - Wisconsin
#20 - Purdue
#23 - Maryland
Others Receiving Votes - Northwestern (21), Indiana (16)
I cannot disagree with the number of teams appearing in the polls nor the order of which the teams appear in. The fourth best team in the conference, Northwestern, was close to notching the final spot in both polls, but fell just short. No complaints there. A four game win streak is not to be ignored, but defeating a big team such as Indiana or Purdue will likely be needed to earn the Wildcats a top 25 spot. What is surprising is the accuracy between the two polls.
Going bottom to top, it is the least bit shocking the Indiana Hoosiers received votes in the Coaches Poll and not the AP Poll. If you have followed these polls all season you will know the coaches poll has favored Indiana all season. They always seemed to be a week behind where the AP Poll’s mindset on the Hoosiers. This is likely because the eyeball test and the match up problems Indiana creates warrants a higher rating in the eyes on coaches. The results however, seem to be speaking more to AP voters, who failed to vote for Indiana this week.
The Northwestern Wildcats also received votes following their four game winning streak against marginal teams. Bryant McIntosh is willing this team to the tournament. What will be important is boosting the resume. Northwestern’s schedule does not get any easier moving forward, with Nebraska and Indiana coming into Evanston, IL. A clean sweep in those games, extending their winning streak to six games, would almost certainly get the bandwagon rolling into March. Falling 19 points short of a top 25 ranking in the AP Poll and 16 points shy of a spot in the Coaches Poll, the Wildcats could easily be ranked by this time next week if a 2-0 performance comes to fruition.
Nobody expected the Maryland Terrapins to reload and compete the way they are this season. Of course returning Melo Trimble was huge, but as fans have seen so many times in the past Trimble can be stopped. While Trimble has yet to be stopped this season, the difference for coach Mark Turgeon the Terps has been the play of freshman Justin Jackson and Kevin Huerter as well as the emergence of Damonte Dodd as a starter. Forward Michal Cekovsky is averaging ten points per game and the Terps are rolling.
Maryland’s next three games should all be victories against Rutgers, Minnesota and Ohio State. Barring an upset Maryland should be able to take care of business and ride a seven game win streak into a home game against the Purdue Boilermakers. The upward trend of Maryland suggests they could break out of the bottom of the rankings and into the top 20 teams by next week.
Finally there are the number 15 and 20 teams in both polls. These are the consensus big boys, Purdue and Wisconsin. Everybody wants to see them play again. Although they do not meet again this regular season, this seems like the most likely match up for the Big Ten Tournament Finals which will be played on a neutral site. This hypothetical game would give both teams no excuses to determine who is top dog in the Big Ten. Until then, I think the polls got this one right.