It’s really separated into a case of the haves and have-nots in the Big Ten, with the top three teams in the conference running away while the rest of the conference fed on itself. No team outside of Wisconsin, Ohio State or Purdue can even mathematically win a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.
And yet, amidst all the madness, almost every team in the conference has at least some shot at postseason basketball, and seven could legitimately claim they are in some small way at least on the NCAA bubble. So this week’s power rankings take a look at what each Big Ten team has to do to keep playing after Indianapolis.
Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 9
On the CBI Bubble at 11. Indiana – NR; 12-15, 3-11; 33 total points
Indiana has a better chance at the CBI, at least right now, than Iowa, because if it finished with a couple more wins, it would be far, far closer to .500, and the Hoosiers would have brand recognition. Would they accept an invitation? We’re assuming two more wins at least are required, so that’s a tall order. But it would be hard to turn down the extra practice time.
The Maybe Next Year (Again) No. 10: Iowa – NR; 10-17, 3-12; 30 total points
It’s a dead heat between Iowa (at Illinois, at Michigan State, Purdue) and Indiana (Purdue, at Ohio State, Wisconsin, at Illinois) for last in the conference. Barring an absurdly unexpected run to and possibly even through the Big Ten Tournament, the Hawkeyes’ season will end in the Circle City yet again.
On the NIT Bubble at No. 9. Northwestern – NR; 16-10, 6-9; 27 total points
It would be awfully hard for the Wildcats to finish south of .500, but it seems like there’s more work to be done to assure a third-consecutive NIT berth. Winning at home against Penn State on Thursday seems like a must.
The Why Are We So Low No. 8. Minnesota – NR; 17-9, 6-8; 24 total points
So it turns out Colton Iverson actually can’t play point guard … who knew? It’s really been a rough season for the Gophers, who were far better as a whole unit than their current predicament suggests. But at the same time, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen off-court turmoil strangle Minnesota’s chances at putting together a really good season, so what does that say? NCAAs still possible, wins definitely still needed, schedule rather kind on the run-in.
The Speaking Of The NIT No. 7. Penn State – NR; 14-12, 7-8; 20 total points
The Nits really need some work to get their resume NIT-ready, but on the back of Big Ten play alone, don’t they deserve to go? If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, and whatnot, I know. The only home game left on the schedule is Ohio State, so winning at Minnesota and at Northwestern — and probably in the Big Ten Tournament too — all seem necessary at this point.
There’s Nothing Clever Left To Say No. 6. Michigan State – NR; 15-11, 7-7; 19 total points
The Spartans might have played their way back onto the very edge of the bubble, albeit mostly on reputation. But given their win total and that awful mid-conference season swoon, Izzo’s bunch will probably need to win out (at Minnesota, Purdue, Iowa, at Michigan) and then do something in Indianapolis to have a shot. There’s always the NIT …
The Ha! Look Where We Are No. 5. Michigan – NR; 17-11, 6-8; 15 total points
Anyone who thought a month ago Michigan would be in as good of shape for postseason play as Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State would have been looked at cross-eyed. The Wolverines are suddenly everybody’s favorite just-outside-the-field team, thanks in no small part to the emergence of Tim Hardaway Jr. as a suddenly prolific scorer.
The Hehe, Bruce. No. No. 4 Illinois – NR; 17-10, 7-7; 12 total points
Much like Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, etc., the Illini control their own destiny to a point. Andy Glockner’s latest bracket for SI puts only the three teams ahead of Illinois in this poll into the field right now, and basically puts Illinois in the same boat with everyone else — there’s lots of work to do. Beating Ohio State on Tuesday (game going on at time of writing) would be a wonderful start.
We’ve Probably Settled at No. 3. Wisconsin – Consensus No. 12; 20-6, 10-4; 9 total points
The Badgers played Purdue very tough, and barring some sort of disaster really ought to at least make the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. But a bad 3-point shooting night in West Lafayette probably doomed them to no better than third in the conference in the regular season.
The We’re Not No. 1 Anymore? No. 2. Ohio State – No. 2 AP/No. 3 Coaches; 25-2, 12-2; 5 total points
And the Buckeyes have been felled from their lofty perch. This is the first time Ohio State has featured not at No. 1 in this poll. Realistically, it wasn’t so much about what the Buckeyes did wrong against Purdue, outside of too many turnovers. No one was going to beat E’Twaun Moore last Sunday. Not nobody, not no how.
We’re Sure To Put a Frown on ITH Readers’ Faces at No. 1. Purdue – Consensus No. 8; 22-5, 11-3; 4 total points
The thing about this Boilermaker team is that it’s not Robbie Hummel’s anymore. Everyone wants to look at this team and wonder at how much better it would be with Hummel, but the truth is that it would be completely different. You wouldn’t have seen nearly as much of Terone Johnson or Ryne Smith, and Lewis Jackson’s emergence as an important cog would have been noticeably downplayed. This Purdue team has a really good make-up that is all its own, and if Moore can put the ball in the basket like that consistently, the ceiling is awfully high.
Filed to: Big Ten Power Rankings