Come, friends, and behold the first-ever Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings.
We’ve spent the last few months bringing more and more weekly staples to the site, including our Twitter mailbag and podcast. Consider this simply the latest addition to that list.
Our system is by no means original: Alex, Ryan and Zach will each cast a weekly ballot on Monday, ranking teams 1-11. Each team will tally a point total from each ballot based on their position in the rankings (first place gets one point, second place two points, etc.), and the final tally of points will determine that team’s final place in the rankings. Final point tallies will be published.
So without further ado, here goes:
Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 2
1. Ohio State – Consensus No. 2; 14-0, 1-0; 3 total points
The Buckeyes got their first taste of Big Ten play in an 85-67 thumping of Indiana. If we can find one weakness from that game – and we’re nitpicking, the Buckeyes are really good – it’s that the Hoosiers shot 50 percent from the field, something Thad Matta wasn’t pleased with afterward.
2. Purdue – No. 11 AP/No. 10 Coaches; 13-1, 2-0; 6 total points
It’s hard to tell if the Boilers have been tested yet, with their only loss coming to Richmond. But E’Twaun Moore has been solid on the boards in the absence of Robbie Hummel, pulling down 1.5 rebounds per game more than in any other season of his career.
3. Illinois – Consensus No. 20; 12-3, 2-0; 9 total points
The Illini are an equally hard team to peg, with the loss to UIC sure to raise some eyebrows. But Bruce Weber’s team has taken care of business early in the Big Ten schedule, with a win at Iowa and a solid victory at home against Wisconsin.
4. Wisconsin – Among “others receiving votes” in both polls; 11-3, 1-1; 13 total points
The Badgers narrowly beat out Michigan State for the No. 4 spot in the rankings, which might speak more about the Spartans’ struggles than Wisconsin’s strengths. Everything about this team says it’s just another edition of Bo Ryan’s never-ending string of well-coached squads, and it ought be noted that all three of the Badgers’ losses have come to teams that are ranked in at least one of the two major polls.
5. Michigan State – No. 18 AP/No. 19 Coaches; 9-4, 1-0; 14 total points
The Spartans certainly haven’t been awful, but they’ve not yet looked quite like a team capable of another Final Four run, at least not yet. A turnover percentage of 22.2 percent likely doesn’t aid Michigan State’s cause, and it ranks them last in the Big Ten in that category.
6. Minnesota – Receiving votes in AP/No. 21 Coaches; 11-3, 0-2; 19 total points
Rebounding has been useful for the Gophers, who rank first in the conference in boards per game, thanks to a long, athletic frontline. Defense, however, has not. Tubby Smith’s crew is giving up a Big Ten-worst 68.4 points per contest, and an 0-2 start is not going to lend credence to the idea that the Gophers are ready to play amongst the conference elite.
7. Penn State – NR; 8-5, 1-1; 21 total points
Winning in Assembly Hall certainly suggests that the Nittany Lions don’t have to be a walkover. But staying this high in the rankings is going to take a lot more proof than beating a poor defensive team in game one of the conference schedule. Improving an effective field goal percentage ranked 182nd nationally would be a good start.
8. (Tie) Michigan – NR; 11-3, 1-1; 22 total points
After losing Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, it was easy to assume 2010-11 would be a rebuilding year for the Wolverines. So a 10-2 start surprised the conference, before a 23-point home loss to Purdue brought Michigan back to earth a little bit. Sophomore Darius Morris (15.6 points, 7.6 assists per game) has been something of a revelation.
8. (Tie) Northwestern – NR; 9-2, 0-1; 22 total points
One of the more worn out but nonetheless remarkable Big Ten storylines, year-in, year-out, is Northwestern’s continuous pursuit of a program-first NCAA Tournament appearance. There’s a lot of scoring ability on this team, and the Wildcats share the ball really well, but history can be a tall obstacle to overcome. So, too, can road dates with each of the top five teams on this list.
10. Indiana – NR; 9-6, 0-2; 31 total points
Nearly all the positive momentum generated by a whirlwind recruiting run and a 6-0 start has drained away, as the Hoosiers have lost their last four and six of their last nine. Strong early-season defensive performances have not been replicated, and the home loss to Penn State hit the fanbase hard. An interesting opportunity exists in Tuesday’s trip to Minnesota, which will be without standout guard Devoe Joseph.
11. Iowa – NR; 7-6, 0-1; 32 total points
It is by one point that the Hawkeyes bring up the rear in our first poll. This was always assumed to be a rebuilding year, with Fran McCaffrey interested in installing a completely different system than the one Iowa was used to. Standing at 10th in the league in field goal percentage, free-throw shooting and 3-point shooting will not ease that transition.