The Iowa Hawkeyes open the Big Ten race at home on Wednesday against Purdue in what coach Steve Alford feels could be the most balanced race in his five years at the helm. Part of that is because there does not appear to be a dominant team in the league. The fewest losses of any conference team right now is two and the highest rated team in the R-P-I is Wisconsin at number-11. He says it’s the toughest non-conference schedule that the league has played, and some of the teams are better now then people thought when they were scheduled. The Big Ten is ranked as the fourth best league, but Alford does not feel a lower rating will hurt post-season opportunities for conference teams. He says every year there’s always something said about the Big Ten, but he says they always get a minimum of five teams in the NCAA tourney and some years seven. Big Ten teams are just 4-14 against rated foes, and the record against team from the other major conferences is just 18-29. Purdue coach Gene Keady says that record may reflect just who Big Ten schools recruit. He says they’re trying to get everybody to be as academically tough as the Big Ten and that would make it a level playing field. Keady says they like it because academics are first. Keady feels from an academic standpoint the recruiting pool is smaller for the Big Ten. He says when you watch the football bowl games, there are a lot of leagues with good players that he says he’s not sure could get into the Big Ten. Keady says he’s not griping, he’s just saying it’s not necessarily a level playing field.
You are here: / Iowa ready to start Big Ten race