Big Ten Power Rankings: February 4

IUUMITH0011After a showdown between Michigan and Indiana on Saturday night in Bloomington, we have a new team on top in this week’s Inside the Hall Power Rankings. The only question now is: How long can it remain there?

12. Penn State (8-13, 0-9) (LAST WEEK: 12) … The Nittany Lions may not win a single conference game this season. In fact, I don’t think they will. Games against Purdue and at Nebraska this week may be their best two chances.

11. Nebraska (11-12, 2-8) (LAST WEEK: 11) … The Cornhuskers are in the midst of the toughest stretch of their conference schedule, and it hasn’t started all that well. They lost at Minnesota by 19 points and at home against Ohio State by seven points, and they’ve got games at Indiana and against Michigan State looming after a meeting with Penn State.

10. Purdue (11-11, 4-5) (LAST WEEK: 7) … Terrible week for the Boilermakers, who lost at home to Indiana by 37 points on Wednesday and looked pretty bad in a 15-point loss at Northwestern on Saturday. A.J. Hammons is putting up bigger and bigger numbers, but they aren’t helping Purdue win.

9. Illinois (15-8, 2-7) (LAST WEEK: 10) … The Fighting Illini actually jumped a spot thanks to a horrific week by Purdue, but they really didn’t do much to deserve to. They stuck with Michigan State on the road, but then got beat again at home by Wisconsin. Illinois is 1-4 at home in Big Ten play and is in total free-fall mode right now.

8. Northwestern (13-10, 4-6) (LAST WEEK: 9) … They were beaten soundly as expected at Michigan, but the Wildcats salvaged the week with a home win against Purdue. Next up: trips to Iowa and Ohio State.

7. Iowa (14-8, 3-6) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Sure, the Hawkeyes still couldn’t quite come away with a big road win, but they played very well at Minnesota, and deserve to be in this spot. Can they use their performance against the Gophers to help win at Wisconsin this week?

6. Minnesota (17-5, 5-4) (LAST WEEK: 6) … Home wins against Nebraska and Iowa have helped the Gophers right the ship after four straight losses, but they still have yet to prove themselves against the league’s best teams, especially on the road. They’ll get their chance Wednesday night when they visit Michigan State.

5. Wisconsin (15-7, 6-3) (LAST WEEK: 5) … This spot is kind of a toss up between Wisconsin and Minnesota, but the Badgers get the spot because their conference wins are more impressive. Wisconsin owns wins over Minnesota and at Indiana. Minnesota’s only significant Big Ten win came in the opener against Michigan State.

4. Ohio State (17-4, 7-2) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Not the nation’s best conference, Digger Phelps? Please. All four of these teams at the top could make a run through the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes got wins against Wisconsin and Nebraska this week and now must prepare for a road test with Michigan. Ohio State gave the Wolverines their first loss of the season.

3. Michigan State (18-4, 7-2) (LAST WEEK: 3) … The Spartans weren’t all that impressive in an 80-75 home win against Illinois this week, but they are still the third-best team in this conference. And the good news for them? Their next three tough games — Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana — are all at home.

2. Michigan (20-2, 7-2) (LAST WEEK: 1) … Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Saturday’s game in Bloomington was just the start of a very difficult stretch. They host Ohio State on Tuesday before facing road tests at Wisconsin and Michigan State. How will a young Michigan team respond?

1. Indiana (20-2, 8-1) (LAST WEEK: 2) … There really isn’t much that separates Indiana and Michigan at this point in the season. When the teams meet in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines will likely earn a split. But for now, after the Hoosiers’ impressive 81-73 win on Saturday night, they belong in the top spot this week. Plus, even though Purdue is struggling, Indiana’s 37-point win at Mackey Arena on Wednesday night was also impressive.

  • Victor

    I’m not. I think one, if not both, come back. Especially if we don’t win it all.

  • sloan screen #45

    I think Justin got it right here. Quite an impressive week for the Hoosiers. 1# in the nation and on top in the B1G.

  • sloan screen #45

    The biggest thing that scares me about this team is the difference between IU being the best team in the country and just another good team is CWats play. He was great the last three games and IU is back at #1 after three great wins. Some of the complaints about CWat were valid. He has failed to show up at times in the past. Lets hope he sustains his recent effort over the rest of his senior season and leads IU to Atlanta.

  • Ole Man

    No offense Justin; I enjoy reading your postings. I would say that there is a lot that separates the two teams right now: experience, balanced scoring, better defense, equal if not better offense. I could go on.
    Doesn’t mean we beat them again in AA. Just my opinion that the two teams are quite different.
    Oddly enough, I see MSU as a greater threat than Mich.
    Their schedule becomes fairly easy. Except for a visit to Mich, their tough games are all at home.

  • sloan screen #45

    You cant figure out who you are til you play good competition. As a Hall of Fame coach who had the most wins in cbb til a couple years ago and has an arena named after him once said “why should I play you if I KNOW I am going to beat you?”

  • Ole Man

    Semi-intentional, as in, “I probably won’t get caught at it.”

  • Ole Man

    Semi-intentional, as in, “I probably won’t get caught at it.”

  • Ole Man

    Right now, Zeller is projected by the “experts” to go at 7th.

  • Taskmaster75

    That’s just a measure of overall talent, not where he will end up going, and it also is a flavor of the month type deal (If a player is slumping, he drops, which is what happened to Cody). Most of the top 5 pick teams are in dire need of a big guy, even if that player isn’t a game changer, and in my view, Cody will eventually land top 5.

    But yeah, ranking NBA draft players is a useless exercise before the combine for the most part, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • mike

    Really, think about it for a minute. Imagine you are set to make millions if you leave after this year. But if you stay and get injured, you lose those millions and spend the rest of your life selling insurance or doing God-knows-what-else. Or even just becoming a European player instead of the NBA …. all because you decided to stay another year, then got injured. If I’m CZ or VO, it just makes no sense, financially, to take that risk. No doubt it’s a lot more fun to play college ball, but to risk being able to make millions doing what you love, and never having to work again after age 35? Taking that risk would make no sense to me. And Cody’s brothers didn’t have much of a choice because they weren’t as highly regarded.

  • DeeLyle

    I’m surprised you didn’t write off IU when Isiah Thomas left after his sophomore year…

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I expect them both to go too. But not everyone thinks quite in those black and white financial terms. Take Andrew Luck for an example. A guy like that can fathom passing up millions for a year and risking them forever because the chances of career ending injury are remote and he can always fall back on his intelligence and degree to make decent money in a more traditional way. Cody Zeller is not much different in that regard. Isiah Thomas was a different situation. He has said his family needed him to go for the money as soon as possible. It’s all relative- not every situation is the same. I’ll be suprised if either stay, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Cody decided he wanted another year, depending on how things turn out.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I expect them both to go too. But not everyone thinks quite in those black and white financial terms. Take Andrew Luck for an example. A guy like that can fathom passing up millions for a year and risking them forever because the chances of career ending injury are remote and he can always fall back on his intelligence and degree to make decent money in a more traditional way. Cody Zeller is not much different in that regard. Isiah Thomas was a different situation. He has said his family needed him to go for the money as soon as possible. It’s all relative- not every situation is the same. I’ll be suprised if either stay, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Cody decided he wanted another year, depending on how things turn out.

  • b_side

    I’m not scared. Your complaints are a thing of the past. Watford has been Mr. Consistent.

    Ponder this: Watford hasn’t had just 3 great games. He’s scored in double figures in every B1G game. In fact, he’s scored in double figures in every game since 12/1 vs Coppin State, save for Butler (he scored 9).

    Short of scoring 20 ppg (which we don’t need him to do to win), I’m not sure what else he can do to make you a believer. Besides scoring, he’s been holding his own on the glass and just shut down GR3.

  • b_side

    McGinnis, Zeke, Edwards, Jeffries, Gordon…been happening for decades. God forbid a player take advantage of a capitalist society.

  • Mel Piepho

    I could see Cody staying another year just to build up more strength and finishing his degree. He gets pushed down a lot and the NBA centers are brutal and big,so it would be a struggle for him. Just getting older would be a big help. Victor on the other hand is graduating this year and is a year older so he could go unless he wants another year of college and fun!

  • Spanger

    people have posted this..http://twitpic.com/c0o1pt/full

    others post this..http://i.imgur.com/C8C28H3.gif

    I grew up on hockey before going to school at IU so I say no harm no foul. B1G is a hard tough league.

  • 5bannerfan

    Why do you say Cody already has a degree?

  • Kenneth234

    Not once did I say they would lay down. Morgan is hardly a difference maker on their team. Whether he plays or not, really is not much of a factor. Stauskas can shoot, but they depend on Burke getting free and forcing defenses to over rotate to get all their perimeter players flowing. None of their big men have the ability to play a pick and pop game that would force Zeller out of his help responsibilities on their pick actions, which allows the other defenders to lock into their responsibilities. Essentially, IU has the abilities to take advantage of the one major vulnerability that exists in Michigan’s offensive game.

    Now on defense, Michigan has one option that they did not utilize for whatever reason in Bloomington. They could dust off their coaches 1-3-1 defense and slow the Hoosiers down with it. However, for whatever reason Michigan did not do that at all in the first game, so there are conclusions that can be drawn from that. Either they do not practice it with the current team because they believe they can defend man to man better or well enough to win, or the players do not play it effectively.

  • IUMIKE1

    The fact that they didn’t play ANY 1-3-1 zone against us was for sure one of the biggest surprises of the game for me.

  • http://twitter.com/Ronc99 Ron Cordry

    I do NOT agree that Michigan will beat our Hoosiers at Michigan!!!

  • Taskmaster75

    Ahh, my bad, I meant to say that he will have a degree by the time he leaves. I was under the impression that he was halfway done after last year, according to reports.

  • Taskmaster75

    Ahh, my bad, I meant to say that he will have a degree by the time he leaves. I was under the impression that he was halfway done after last year, according to reports.

  • iufan8@yahoo.com

    I do not know what team you people are watching. This Indiana team is mature, a top 5 team in both offense and defense, and a team with focus now that they have been beat by two teams that should not have beat them. I can say, with confidence, that they will go undefeated and win the national championship. I do not know how you can say they will get beat by Michigan at Ann Arbor. Crean came out with a gameplan against Michigan and they executed it to perfection. They will beat Michigan anytime they play them, please quit doubting this team. This team deserves the #1 spot and will stay there.

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