Big Ten Power Rankings: February 18

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After a (somewhat) routine and unsurprising week in conference play, the Big Ten Power Rankings remain pretty much intact. But with perhaps the biggest game of the conference season looming Tuesday night in East Lansing, things could very well change in a hurry. 

12. Penn State (8-17, 0-13) (LAST WEEK: 12) … There’s no doubt the Nittany Lions are improving under coach Patrick Chambers. Last week, they lost a close home game to Iowa by two points and played Michigan tough on the road for more than a half. But at the end of the day, Penn State is still winless in conference play.

11. Nebraska (12-14, 3-10) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Tough week for the Cornhuskers playing against the conference’s top two teams, but they gave Michigan State a bit of a test on Saturday night before a late run helped the Spartans win the game.

10. Purdue (12-14, 5-8) (LAST WEEK: 10) … After Saturday’s 28-point loss at Indiana, Purdue coach Matt Painter said this is the most frustrated he’s ever been with a team because he feels like the Boilermakers have the talent to compete. But the effort hasn’t always been there at a high level, and Purdue is in the middle of a total free fall. Next Sunday’s home game against Northwestern might be the Boilermakers’ last chance for a win.

9. Northwestern (13-13, 4-9) (LAST WEEK: 9) … The Wildcats won their first two road games in conference play, but they’re 0-4 away from home since then. It’s been yet another tough season in Evanston.

8. Minnesota (18-8, 6-7) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Golden Gophers have the talent to be an elite team, but they haven’t always done a good job of taking care of the teams they are supposed to beat. Losses to Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa leave you scratching your head a bit.

7. Iowa (17-9, 6-7) (LAST WEEK: 8) … They squeaked out a road win at Penn State and dominated Minnesota at home. The Hawkeyes aren’t quite ready to make a jump into the top half of the Big Ten, but they could still potentially make the tournament. Next year, though, they could be a team to be reckoned with.

6. Illinois (19-8, 6-7) (LAST WEEK: 6) … Don’t look now, but the Fighting Illini have used their upset win of Indiana to get hot at just the right time. Illinois has won four straight games with a matchup against Penn State coming next.

5. Ohio State (18-7, 8-5) (LAST WEEK: 5) … There’s just something missing from this Ohio State team. The Buckeyes don’t have nearly enough offense to stay in the race, but they could be a dangerous team in March if they find a second and third scorer.

4. Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Don’t count out the Badgers. Even after losing at Minnesota, they are still very much a player in the Big Ten title chase. Wisconsin’s only really tough remaining game is at Michigan State.

3. Michigan (22-4, 9-4) (LAST WEEK: 3) … Even after losing three of their last five games, the Wolverines are still one of the best teams in the conference and the country. They were dominated in East Lansing last week, but all of their difficult remaining games are at home.

2. Michigan State (22-4, 11-2) (LAST WEEK: 2) … Michigan State held serve with the Hoosiers by beating Michigan and Nebraska. The Spartans’ dominating performance against Michigan was incredibly impressive and could give them the inside track to winning the Big Ten crown.

1. Indiana (23-3, 11-2) (LAST WEEK: 1) … The Hoosiers took care of business at home against Nebraska and Purdue, and now they prepare for a showdown with Michigan State in East Lansing Tuesday night. If Victor Oladipo (ankle) isn’t healthy, it could be tough for the Hoosiers to knock off the Spartans.

  • chicohoosier

    Big 4 game stretch here that could send us from 1st to 4th in the Big Ten in a hurry, especially with every team looking to exact revenge for a previous defeat. Nervous but excited for what’s to come, if we go 3-1 I would think we would be a lock for a 1 seed and some big time home court advantage in the tourney

  • chicohoosier

    Big 4 game stretch here that could send us from 1st to 4th in the Big Ten in a hurry, especially with every team looking to exact revenge for a previous defeat. Nervous but excited for what’s to come, if we go 3-1 I would think we would be a lock for a 1 seed and some big time home court advantage in the tourney

  • unclekerfuffle

    Early in the season I looked at the IU@MSU as a 50/50 game with Victor. Of course, I would like to see Victor play and play well. But if we lose the game, with or without Victor, I will be neither surprised nor upset as long as the Hoosiers play well.

  • MillaRed

    Sadly I will be in the air when we face off against Coach Whiner. Probably the best game of the year. The good news is I will be watching the victory speeches when I land in Kauai, Hawaii. Get it done Hoosiers! Tis the path to the B1G Title! Really love this team.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    We’re playing Kansas State?

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    what a safe emotional harbor, with or without OIadipo IU should find a way to win if they are a great team,

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    I see the team sweeping after IU wins in East Lansing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-McHie/656418312 Jim McHie

    I think the consensus is that IU is not a “great” team in the sense of either historical greatness or domination in the current year of college basketball. There are a lot of really good teams in the top 10, and IU is a really good team this year. Michigan has been at most times this year a really good team, and they have a good coach, and they got obliterated in East Lansing. I think IU can win up there, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it one way or another barring a total and utter meltdown.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-McHie/656418312 Jim McHie

    I think the consensus is that IU is not a “great” team in the sense of either historical greatness or domination in the current year of college basketball. There are a lot of really good teams in the top 10, and IU is a really good team this year. Michigan has been at most times this year a really good team, and they have a good coach, and they got obliterated in East Lansing. I think IU can win up there, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it one way or another barring a total and utter meltdown.

  • achurt

    Poor Minnesota fans…

  • MikeIU

    I’m taking my son to the game tomorrow…. so excited. This is our first ever trip to Breslin. Should be a tough game but I know we’re capable of winning if we play smart and hard. Go Hoosiers!!!

  • SCHoosier

    Great teams play smart….that means limiting TO’s…passing instead of dribbling..not rushing into recklessness…playing in your face D..and pounding the board relentlessly. Can we do that..yep..we’ll we..guess we;ll find out. Go Hoosiers,.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    There is way too much season left to determine relative greatness, which I define “great” as winning the NCAA, near great is Final Four with two exceptions being the 1975 and 1993 teams who lost in Regional Finals, (Elite Eight).

    I could say the 1975 was arguably the best team and players IU ever put on the court, though the world likes the 1976 team because they simply are the last of the seven undefeated champions. (I also could say it is debatable whether UCLA’s ’73 was undefeated with the BS charge call on Downing (his 5th) where Walton (w/4 fouls) got the friendly call, but then again…)

    So as I said IF, if IU wants to be a great team they need to continue winning and that means on tough away courts, which is part of the resume. On player ability I place this team one centimeter above the ’86-’87 team, though as Bob said that team had some intangible in the last five minutes of a contested game of a will not to lose better than any other team he had. On ability I rank this team at about the level of the 92 and 81 teams. 92 IU had a bench those years and in 92 went deeper if Pat Graham had remained healthy. 81 also went very deep as well.

    This team has the potential reaching the level of 87 and 81 but they must do it on the court not in the minds of the faithful or commentators. Oh and as for consensus of the faithful and commentators, I was taught and reminded that those opinions don’t add up to one point on the scoreboard…let us see what actually transpires. This team can go all the way, but Sheehey, Elston and Abell must have huge hands in that end result on top of the starting five.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    The closer we get to this game on Tuesday, the more I cannot help but think that we are a little bit playing with house money. The relevance to me of everything going forward is how it impacts our resume for seeding, both for IU in particular and MSU as well, as our biggest threat for the number one seed in the Midwest region.

    If we lose, MSU gets a huge boost, now owning wins over Michigan, Kansas, and adding Indiana to that. Consider how they are playing of late (a trend the selection committee considers), wins in what would be 12 of their last 13 and their resume starts to look really strong. But I doubt they win out with games at Michigan, at Ohio State and home against Wisconsin still looming. So we can catch back up for a share of the B1G regular season title. Maybe it’s asking too much to see them lose two more times, which forces us to win out, including at Michigan to catch them. But I think that is entirely possible. Getting a share gives us a chance to bolster our resume by at least matching their conference tournament success and holding on to the number one seed. Lunardi, for example, tweeted that a loss in the Breslin Center would not impact our seed. We still will own wins over all the best teams in the B1G, save Wisconsin.

    But think if we win. MSU’s resume and chance of winning the B1G regular season title are both crippled. MSU begins to look like the second best team in the conference, they can beat everybody else but Indiana (unless of course they get us in the conference tournament). Even then, we’d own at worst 2 of 3 from them head-to-head. IU has a chance to all but assure a number one seed with a win (barring some sort of collapse- losing games I expect us to win, at Minnesota, home against Iowa and Ohio State). I just think MSU has far more to lose than we do.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    The closer we get to this game on Tuesday, the more I cannot help but think that we are a little bit playing with house money. The relevance to me of everything going forward is how it impacts our resume for seeding, both for IU in particular and MSU as well, as our biggest threat for the number one seed in the Midwest region.

    If we lose, MSU gets a huge boost, now owning wins over Michigan, Kansas, and adding Indiana to that. Consider how they are playing of late (a trend the selection committee considers), wins in what would be 12 of their last 13 and their resume starts to look really strong. But I doubt they win out with games at Michigan, at Ohio State and home against Wisconsin still looming. So we can catch back up for a share of the B1G regular season title. Maybe it’s asking too much to see them lose two more times, which forces us to win out, including at Michigan to catch them. But I think that is entirely possible. Getting a share gives us a chance to bolster our resume by at least matching their conference tournament success and holding on to the number one seed. Lunardi, for example, tweeted that a loss in the Breslin Center would not impact our seed. We still will own wins over all the best teams in the B1G, save Wisconsin.

    But think if we win. MSU’s resume and chance of winning the B1G regular season title are both crippled. MSU begins to look like the second best team in the conference, they can beat everybody else but Indiana (unless of course they get us in the conference tournament). Even then, we’d own at worst 2 of 3 from them head-to-head. IU has a chance to all but assure a number one seed with a win (barring some sort of collapse- losing games I expect us to win, at Minnesota, home against Iowa and Ohio State). I just think MSU has far more to lose than we do.

  • MillaRed

    Please count the number of times Izzo looks like he is going to cry. The more the better,

  • HoosierupNorth

    I actually met Tom Izzo when they were playing in West Lafayette. He stayed in the room right across the hall from me. That aside I was screaming at him to shut up when we played them. Cut the whining seriously.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    If MSU prevails against IU in E. Lansing why is UW a threat? That said if IU wants the title they have to find a way to win in E Lansing and yes if MSU is runner up or 3rd, IU possibly would face them in the B10 final…winning, forget the other stuff, they should prevail

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I never said that Wisconsin would be a threat. I was merely stating that our resume includes wins over all the best Big Ten teams, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. However, we don’t have a win over Wisconsin (I guess I should also add we don’t have a win over Illinois either).

  • unclekerfuffle

    My point is simply that at the beginning of the season when we were all asked for our regular season predictions, I thought we would lose a total of three games, one of them at East Lansing.

    I think your later comment about the bad call on Downing is dead on. In fact, I think your assessments of the ’81 and ’87 teams are also very accurate. I always felt that the ’87 team was a long way from being great; they simply refused to lose.

  • Andrew

    Unless I’m reading this wrong, your math is incorrect. If MSU beats IU and loses road games to O$U and Mich (which on paper is the most likely scenario), IU does not have to win out to catch them. IU could still lose one more (road) game.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I said it might be too much to ask for them to lose two more times, which would force us to win out if they do not. But you are correct, if they lose both of those games, we do not have to win out. I personally think that they will win one of those road games.

  • http://twitter.com/IUinNap Caleb Moore

    Lunardi tweeted earlier this afternoon……..win or lose IU will still be his #1 overall seed.

  • Andrew

    Gotcha. I think we can all agree that if IU can somehow win 2 of the 3 roadies (and hold serve at home of course), we will win the thing outright. Will be tough to do, but not impossible. Also think 14-4 guarantees a share.

  • Andrew

    I love the Ohio State description: “they could be a dangerous team in March if they find a second and third scorer.” That’s like saying, “Man, that girl would be so hot if her face wasn’t so ugly and she wasn’t so fat.” Not having a second and third scorer is a problem in November; this late in the year, it’s a death sentence. You have no chance of finding those guys in March.

  • jdav_03

    1. Indiana

    2. Michigan State

    3. Michigan

    4. Ohio State

    5. Wisconsin

    6. Illinois

    7. Minnesota

    8. Iowa

    9. Purdue

    10. Northwestern

    11. Nebraska

    12. Penn State

  • tompositano

    If we split with MSU for regular season… and end up sharing B10 title… #1 seed in NCAA will go to whatever team does better in B10 tourney. But I think IU will beat MSU tomorrow. Everyone seems to be writing IU off in this game… that MSU is on such a tear. Really? IU wins by 7-8 pts tomorrow.

  • tompositano

    If we split with MSU for regular season… and end up sharing B10 title… #1 seed in NCAA will go to whatever team does better in B10 tourney. But I think IU will beat MSU tomorrow. Everyone seems to be writing IU off in this game… that MSU is on such a tear. Really? IU wins by 7-8 pts tomorrow.

  • Geoff_85

    Poor Minnesota fans? Those people were running their mouths on boards like they were uk fans. I don’t feel any sympathy for those fans.

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