Is the Big Ten Mostly Hype?

Is the Big Ten Mostly Hype?

By the KING of Las Vegas WAYNE ALLYN ROOT

Wisconsin visits Ohio State Sunday in what was expected to be one of the most important Big Ten games of the season. They were the two top-ranked teams from that conference entering the campaign. Ohio State has been in the national title discussion all season...before recent embarrassments have cast doubts on what everybody thought they knew about Big Ten contenders. Wisconsin has....

Some notes on these teams and the Big Ten in general:

  • During the Michigan State-Ohio State game two Saturdays ago, ESPN's announcers kept hyping Ohio State as the #1 team in the country, until it became clear that the weren't even the number one team on the floor. Michigan State won so authoritatively in Columbus that it became silly to try and suggest Ohio State was the better of the two teams at themoment.

  • Last Saturday, Ohio State was in a big TV game again on ESPN. And, again, they laid a big egg in a loss to Michigan. The team that was supposedly best in the country couldn't even beat the teams from Michigan.

  • Not too long ago, Ohio State was playing at home against Purdue, another highly thought of Big Ten opponent. The Buckeyes were 14-point favorites, but had to scratch and claw to barely win by three. It's debatable they would have won that game on a neutral court or on the road.

  • Jared Sullinger is a player...but he's not the force that the media has advertised him to be. The rest of the team has struggled to shoot from outside the paint...and defenses are having success challenging them to do so. That's not a national championship contender. That's a team that may have trouble reaching the Elite Eight even if they get a friendly seed. (And, last year's OSU team may have been better than this one, and they fell to Kentucky in the Sweet 16).

  • Wisconsin made a run in the rankings after an 11-2 start. They were knocking on the door of the top 10 until league play began. But, we're now looking at a group that's dropped six conference games even though they were favored to win all but three times. The Badgers are 0-for against the Michigan schools, and Iowa too for that matter. Betting on Wiscy would have cost you a fortune lately, as the team is 4-10 ATS the last 14 times they've taken the floor.

Which slumping team do you want to bet on in the Wisconsin-Ohio State game?!

  • Indiana made a lot of headlines earlier this season when they knocked off both Kentucky and Ohio State when they were #1 in the rankings. The win over Ohio State doesn't seem quite as impressive now. And, the Hoosiers have seven conference losses heading into Sunday's game at Minnesota.

  • Illinois and Minnesota have been in Big Dance discussions all year. That looks pretty ridiculous now that both teams entered the weekend at 5-10 in Big Ten play!

  • Purdue has a nice team, but is nothing special. That's suddenly looking to be the description of almost the whole conference!

I'm wondering now if the Big Ten in March of 2012 is shaping up to have a disastrous MARCH MADNESS the way the Big East did in March of 2011. Sure, the best team can still go the distance. Connecticut of the Big East caught fire at the right time and won the National Title. Michigan State has already caught fire and may be able to keep that going. But, the INCESSANT media hype that surrounded the Big East before their collapse is something we saw with the Big Ten much of this season.

  • Ohio State looks vulnerable and beatable by anyone who knows what they're doing

  • Wisconsin is just kind of there

  • Indiana can't be trusted to string together good games

  • Purdue has been dealing with turmoil recently (discussed here last weekend)

  • Iowa and Northwestern are getting media run now, almost by default

That leaves Michigan State and Michigan as teams who are in decent form the past few weeks. Too many media darlings, not enough top notch teams!

I'll be watching Wisconsin-Ohio State and Indiana-Minnesota very closely today as I get ready to pound the Vegas board over the last week of the regular season and in the conference tournaments. I may also have a big play in one of those games based on my read of the teams. You can purchase my Sunday slate right here at the website with your credit card. In addition to these Big Ten games, I'm also looking at Pittsburgh-Louisville in the Big East, and the Pac 12 doubleheader featuring California-Colorado and Oregon-Oregon State.

I have great rates for the rest of the season too. Call 1-877-766-8946 for details.

Making SHOCK THE SYSTEM calls in March is part finding Cinderella's, and part finding overrated favorites. I'm working hard on BOTH parts of that equation here as February turns to March. That's why you should go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!

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