Thursday, December 15, 2005

Does Seth Davis live in a bubble?

Found an interesting read on today. For a sports writer/analyst, it sure seems like Seth Davis doesn't pay much attention to what is going on in college basketball these days. In his Hoop Thoughts column this week, he says it is going to be an interesting battle to see who finishes second to Michigan State in the Big 10. Then he goes on to say that most people would select Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or (his sleeper) Ohio State (to finish second). Come on Seth, pay attention to what is going on in the Big 10. How about a little more love for the Illini? I guarantee you the Illini are not conceding their title (that's right, they are the defending conference champs in case you had forgotten).

Look, I understand why Michigan State is still considered to be the favorite by most but the title is NOT going to be handed to them. I think Illinois and some of the other Big 10 teams are proving that the conference is going to be very, very good this year and that whoever wins the title, is going to earn it. It is not a foregone conclusion that Michigan State will win the title. Also, while I still believe it is a little early to give too much credence to rankings, consider this:

AP Poll--Illinois ranked 9th, Michigan State ranked 12th

USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll--Illinois ranked 8th, Michigan State ranked 12th

CBS Sportsline RPI Rankings--Illinois ranked 3rd, Michigan State ranked 34th

Dukie Vitale Rankings--Illinois ranked 5th, Michigan State ranked 10th
Plus, on a side note, Illinois is Vitale's Team of the Week

Even Davis' own SI colleague, Luke Winn, shows the Illini some respect in his Power Rankings--Illinois ranked 5th, Michigan State ranked 9th

In an abberation (but to be fair), the CBS poll--Illinois ranked 14th, Michigan State ranked 12th

The defense rests your honor.

In all seriousness, we aren't going to have a real good feel for who the contenders vs. the pretenders are until conference play starts. And for the record, while the Illinois-MSU conference opener is an important game for both teams, the winner of that will not necessarily end up winning the conference. Davis might also want to check out this analysis from Andy Katz on why the Illini were his team of the week and why the Big Ten title shouldn't be handed to anyone else just yet.

Now that I have beaten Davis up a little bit, let me also show him some love. In the same Hoop Thoughts article, he makes a point that Chief and I wholeheartedly agree with--"Two words why recruiting rankings are overrated: Jamar Smith. Illinois' 6-3 freshman guard was not on anybody's top 100 list last year, yet he's the Illini's third-leading scorer (10.0 ppg)." Amen, Seth, Amen.

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