Originally written March 20, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
Have you ever took the time to see where your favorite Big Ten team compares to their foes in the vastly growing world of Twitter? Wouldn’t you think that the schools with a rich tradition in basketball would have garnered the most followers? Well, after going through all of the official Twitter pages of each Big Ten hoops team on March 12, we’ve found that the schools with the most history aren’t necessarily the most popular. Below, in order, are the most popular Big Ten basketball Twitter pages. Look and see where your team ranks (all of these teams have increased their followers since these photos were taken but no order has changed).                                                                                                                                                                         The fact that the Wolverines are currently the most active Big Ten team on Twitter, and have the most followers, doesn’t surprise me at all. They have the Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year in Trey Burke and at one point this season the Wolverines were the best team in the country. If you’ve been in the newly renovated Crisler Arena you know that the University of Michigan basketball program is all about change, and they’ve done a good job trying to turn that school into more than just a football powerhouse. Like the Wolverines, the Spartans are also very active on Twitter. As successful as the Spartans have been since Tom Izzo took over as head coach in 1995, and prior, you would think that they would be the most popular team. I guess it’s harder when Wal-Mart has twice the amount of merchandise as your rival. Arguably one of the most prestigious basketball programs in history, the Hoosiers rank third in the Big Ten in Twitter followers (for whatever that’s worth). As you will soon see as you continue on with the article, Indiana is one of the least active Big Ten teams on Twitter, and I don’t blame them one bit. If I were the best team in the nation — like they have been for a large portion of the season — I wouldn’t be worried about 140-characters either. Plus, Indiana head coach Tom Crean is fond of Twitter. To say the least, the Fighting Illini have had a disappoint season thus far (even though they are in the NCAA tournament), but I’m surprised of how huge their Twitter fan base actually is. Maybe if Illinois surprises some people in the tournament, like I think they will, then they could move up even higher on this list. In very recent history I would have to say that the Ohio State Buckeyes have been the most popular Big Ten team nationally. From LeBron James cosigns to the old, young man Greg Oden, the Buckeyes have been in the national spotlight for quite some time. But the fact that they only have 343 tweets could have a lot to do with why they aren’t No. 1 in followers. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if OSU had as many tweets as MSU or U of M that they would be the most popular B1G team on Twitter. For a school that’s more known for wrestling and football, the Hawkeyes have an impressive Twitter resume. And I think next year they will have an impressive NCAA tournament resume as well. Watch for Iowa next season. Even though the Badgers have the most tweets in the Big Ten they still find themselves as one of the least popular teams on Twitter. My guess is that after watching them play once or twice this season people started to unfollow them due to the fact that they could illegally download an episode of Nip Tuck before the Badgers got off a shot. After the Badgers I’m not surprised by the lack of followers that the bottom five have. Despite Minnesota’s success they aren’t a very popular team nationally, but Tubby Smith is pretty big on Twitter despite his long absence from it. Are you surprised by the Twitter popularity amongst the Big Ten schools? I thought the more celebrated programs would have been the more popular ones, but it makes sense too that the majority of the users on Twitter don’t realize the success of the Hoosiers and the Spartans in the past.
PLAYERS: Keith Appling
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