Big Ten Power Rankings: March 4

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Indiana clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title on Sunday with losses by Michigan State and Wisconsin, but there’s still plenty to decide as we head into the final week of the regular season. Will Indiana win an outright conference crown? Which teams will receive a bye in the conference tournament? And who will shine in the final week and win Big Ten player of the year?

12. Northwestern (13-16, 4-12) (LAST WEEK: 11) … The standings indicate the Wildcats are tied with Nebraska for tenth place. But in its current state, Northwestern is the league’s worst team. In February, Bill Carmody’s team won just one game and failed to score 60 points in six straight losses. It might be time for a change in leadership in Evanston.

11. Penn State (9-19, 1-15) (LAST WEEK: 12) … The Nittany Lions have been competitive all year, but looked like a legitimate threat to finish winless in the country’s toughest league. But credit Pat Chambers and the strong play of Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill for Penn State’s shocker last Wednesday over Michigan. To ensure it won’t finish at the bottom of the power rankings, Penn State must win at Northwestern this week.

10. Nebraska (13-16, 4-12 ) (LAST WEEK: 10) … Another mediocre week for the Cornhuskers. They were blown out at Wisconsin and then lost at Illinois. One of the few bright spots for Tim Miles has been the play of freshman Shavon Shields, who might be the team’s top option next winter.

9. Iowa (18-11, 7-9) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hawkeyes have a legitimate shot to finish 9-9 in the conference, but they’re not in the NCAA Tournament conversation because of a mediocre non-conference strength of schedule. They’ve also feasted on the bottom teams in the league with four of their seven wins coming against Northwestern and Penn State.

8. Purdue (14-15, 7-9) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Yes, the Boilermakers lost by double digits this past week to Iowa. But the teams split the season series and Purdue went to Wisconsin on Sunday and knocked off the Badgers on senior day. That’s good enough for a bump up in the rankings.

7. Illinois (21-9, 8-8) (LAST WEEK: 6) … The Fighting Illini played just once last week, a 72-65 triumph over Nebraska. The victory moved Illinois back to .500 in conference play, but with games at Iowa and Ohio State to close out the season, a sub .500 mark in league play is a distinct possibility.

6. Minnesota (20-9, 8-8) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Golden Gophers were spiraling downward quickly heading into last week. That trajectory changed for the time being as they knocked off No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday and then beat Penn State. If Trevor Mbakwe continues to play well, Minnesota could be a tough out in March.

5. Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Many believed the Badgers had an excellent shot to capture a piece of the Big Ten title if they could go to the Breslin Center and win this week, but that game lost much of its luster when Purdue went to the Kohl Center and won convincingly on Sunday. As well as Wisconsin has played this season, it also benefitted greatly from drawing Indiana and Michigan as Big Ten single plays.

4. Michigan (24-5, 11-5) (LAST WEEK: 3) … Michigan had a chance to control its own destiny for a piece of the Big Ten title after Indiana lost at Minnesota on Tuesday, but the Wolverines quickly lost that opportunity in a loss at Penn State the following night. They picked themselves up off the ground with a Sunday win over Michigan State, but a loss to the Nittany Lions dictates a drop in the rankings.

3. Ohio State (21-7, 11-5) (LAST WEEK: 5) … Since losing three of four, the Buckeyes have responded with three straight wins and because of that recent success, they leapfrog Michigan and Wisconsin, who both took bad losses last week. Ohio State still struggles to score beyond Deshaun Thomas, but its defense is good enough to win.

2. Michigan State (22-7, 11-5) (LAST WEEK: 2) … Three straight losses for the Spartans and they still don’t drop. Here’s why: The Spartans own a 3-2 record against the teams tied with them for second place and Sunday’s one-point loss at Michigan isn’t a bad loss when you consider the Wolverines are unbeaten at Crisler Arena.

1. Indiana (25-4, 13-3) (LAST WEEK: 1) … With a two-game lead in the loss column, Indiana has already clinched a share of the Big Ten title and can win it outright with a win at home over Ohio State on Tuesday. The Hoosiers were outplayed at Minnesota last week, but bounced back and were able to grind out a win over Iowa at Assembly Hall.

  • MillaRed

    I would like to congratulate Coach Tom Crean on his 1st Big Ten Championship. He has done an incredible job.

    I would also like to congratulate our seniors and thank them for coming to IU when the lights were very dim. Their stories are what college basketball is all about. So glad they have been rewarded for all of the hard work.

    It looks like Indiana hoops is officially back. Proud to be a Hoosier today.

  • IU Class of ’61

    Hear, hear!

    Hopefully a sixth banner hanging in Assembly Hall very soon.

  • xCowHoosier

    How perfect is it that this group of seniors get to play for an outright title on their last night in Assembly Hall…great time to be a Hoosier!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Big Ten Champions! Congrats to Coach Crean, congrats to the coaching staff, congrats to the Seniors, congrats to the rest of the team! It’s time to take care of the Buckeyes and celebrate a solo title in front of your home fans.

    On a related note, I would probably put Ohio State #2 (although they haven’t shown the ability to beat anyone of consequence on the road and let’s hope it stays that way). They beat MSU recently and Michigan State just lost to Michigan who:
    A. Didn’t make a 3-pointer.
    B. Only shot 10 free throws.
    C. Played the majority of the game without Stauskas.

    That being said, it’s inconsequential and the important thing is there is no doubt about who is #1 in this league!

  • WhatsUpKnight

    it felt like i was in a parallel universe yesterday, rooting for PUke and michigan. hope i never have to do that again!!!

    congrats to our beloved hoosiers, they’re gonna seal the deal tomorrow night!

  • WhatsUpKnight

    wow, sounds like a movie script. the seniors have gotta show up tomorrow night!

  • HoosierTrav

    There is no doubt in my mind that Thad Matta would have taken the IU job had there not been serious sanctions against us and a huge hole to dig out of. Maybe Butler’s Brad Stevens as well. There was one guy who decided to take this challenge head on. He’d seen the potential of this program and decided to suffer through what could have been a career staining 3 years. Well OSU can have Thad. Butler can have Brad. We’ve already got our man for the future …….and the future is so bright that its blinding. The scary part is, THIS IS JUST THE START! I hope the rest of the B1G realizes that they’re playing for second place banners from here on out. #Hoosiers

  • HoosierTrav

    Can we please get a recording of the pregame speech? I’d love to do a video mash up using this as the introductory audio piece. I have a feeling its going to be epic!

  • calbert40

    Last year’s senior class will always hold a special place in Hoosier lore for sticking it out and helping the program turn the corner.

    However, this year’s senior class will be forever known as the class that righted the ship (along with the help of some talented underclassmen). Jordy, Christian, Derek and I’ll throw Mo in there too were instrumental to our success; each in his own way. I have a feeling that none of them will ever have to open up their wallets anywhere in B’Town for the rest of their lives! Well done, gentlemen!

  • calbert40

    So far as Coach Crean’s contribution to our success, I think about what we were going through when it was announced he was leaving Marquette to come to IU. It was painful for all of us to watch what has happening, but I can hardly imagine what our staff and the players went through those first 3 years. Crean basically shot his career record to oblivion, but while many coaches probably would have bailed for the next decent job opening, CTC was always sold out on this program.

    He isn’t the perfect coach, but he was absolutely the perfect hire 5 years ago. I think we should all be exceedingly proud to have him roaming our sidelines and representing this program. Congrats to him as well.

  • Daren Collentine

    Don’t pull a Wisconsin against Purdue.

  • chiswede

    What’s the tiebreaker for the B1G tourney if we were to tie with OSU or Michigan, since that would mean we’d have split the series. Who would get the 1 seed?

  • Daren Collentine

    Lets win tomorrow and let the rest fight over the 2 seed.

  • chiswede

    Well yea, but humor me for the sake of figuring which session tickets to buy.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    no doubt! seriously, how does that happen? especially considering they get pretty much every single whistle at home. however it went down, i couldn’t be happier (for more reasons than one) about their epic fail.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    no doubt! seriously, how does that happen? especially considering they get pretty much every single whistle at home. however it went down, i couldn’t be happier (for more reasons than one) about their epic fail.

  • MillaRed

    I was at the game. Wiscy lives and dies by the 3, and they were not falling. Half of the shot attempts were from 3. Plus DJ Byrd went nuts. Wait til you see Ryan Evans shoot free throws in the dance. He has been so bad he is now taking jump shots. It is the craziest thing I have ever seen in hoops.

  • SoCal Hoosier

    Yes, strange indeed from the guy who can’t hit a FT but can hit fadeaway 18-footers as the shot clock expires with the best defender in the country in his grill…! Minnesota flat out beat us, but Wiscy got big-time lucky

  • Neil

    It is already sold out.

  • MillaRed

    Two things……..

    I will sleep well tonight knowing Robert Montgomery Knight has blessed our beloved Hoosiers and their B1G Championship. Thank you Coach for all of your well-wishes!!!!! (sarcasm included)

    I look at Gonzaga’s schedule and it literally looks like our pre-conference cupcake schedule. The whole thing! You telling me if they are in the Big Ten they are not 10-6 in conference at best?

    Who are the people that come up with this stuff?? Their 2 losses are to Illinois and Butler! The two teams that beat us.

    Signature wins………..#22 Oklahoma State? That’s the only ranked team they have beaten? Both losses vs ranked teams? Something is really, really flawed with that system.

  • HoosierKen73

    If you don’t have the tickets by now.. you may be in trouble.. I heard that it is sold out.. Is that right? Or, was that report (on the B1G network) in error?

  • HoosierKen73

    If you don’t have the tickets by now.. you may be in trouble.. I heard that it is sold out.. Is that right? Or, was that report (on the B1G network) in error?

  • randy
  • chiswede

    Everything is sold out all the time these days. There’s plenty of ways to still get tickets.

  • chiswede

    Thank you.

  • chiswede

    Stubhub, SeatGeek, SeatCrunch….etc.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Very true…the Zags look the part but their actual body of work is really not that impressive. They have beaten everyone in their conference and look like they will run the table in the WCC. That’s not easy to do but it’s not overly impressive either. Another knock on them for me is that their loss to Butler was while the Dawgs were without Rotnei Clarke and their loss to Illinois was at home.

    I have actually heard Steve Alford’s New Mexico Lobos gaining some momentum for the #1 seed in the West Region. They are 24-4 (or 25, not sure) and have better wins than Gonzaga. I guess somebody from the West is going to be given the 1 seed and play somewhat close to home and if those are the two choices, I think New Mexico is more deserving.

  • Wyatt

    Scalpers!

  • Wyatt

    Scalpers!

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    Anybody noticed how good that Georgetown win is starting to look?

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    Anybody noticed how good that Georgetown win is starting to look?

  • marcusgresham

    I know IU doesn’t retire jerseys, but there should be some hanging in the Hall and, given the circumstances, these four guys (I’m including Creek, as he was an incoming member of this senior class,) should have theirs amongst them.

  • marcusgresham

    They haven’t played the schedule IU or some other teams have, but I’ve watched at least parts of about 8 of their games this year. That’s a damn good team. I’d put Olynyk and Harris up there with any 4/5 combo in the B1G. Better? Not necessarily, but on a par. Then they have serviceable big guys coming off the bench. That’s what most mid-majors don’t have—size & depth.

  • achurt

    I had a nice 60% markup put on the tickets for both Friday sessions I got from stubhub. The internet age pisses me off when it comes to tickets.

  • achurt

    I had a nice 60% markup put on the tickets for both Friday sessions I got from stubhub. The internet age pisses me off when it comes to tickets.

  • calbert40

    Wholeheartedly agree, Milla. No way Gonzaga is the best team in the country. I understand that they can’t control that their conference is really weak this season, but that schedule is cupcake city. They should be 29-2! That said, I do think they are a really solid team. Where would they be if they were in the B1G? I can’t imagine them being better than 4th, and I could see them as low as 7th.

    Also, one thing to consider is that it is one thing to play a team like Illinois and then follow them up with Topeka YMCA…and something completely different in playing Illinois and then playing @ OSU…and UM….and @ Minny, etc. We have no clue how Gonzaga would fare if they had to play 18 consecutive games against a B1G schedule. Again, I think they’d compete, but I think they’d finish anywhere from 12-6 to 10-8.

    Side note: hahaha on the RMK well-wishes! It is really nice to have a man like him in our corner, isn’t it!

  • SCHoosier

    Remember Hal Greer in the pros? (Philly I think) Always use to shoot a jump shot from the FT line..he said it helped his jump shot and vica versa.

  • SCHoosier

    I missed the Knights congrats..last thing I read about him was the snotty comments in the NY Times about coming back to IU????

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.snyder.92 Doug Snyder

    I saw this comment on the ESPN boards and i agree.
    The argument for Gonzaga at #1 can be summarized with one statement:

    The Zags have not moved up the rankings based on any of their wins. They have moved up based on the teams ahead of them losing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.snyder.92 Doug Snyder

    I saw this comment on the ESPN boards and i agree.
    The argument for Gonzaga at #1 can be summarized with one statement:

    The Zags have not moved up the rankings based on any of their wins. They have moved up based on the teams ahead of them losing.

  • IUMIKE1

    Couldn’t agree more. If there were ever special circumstances it is the circumstances that surrounded those guys when they committed and then didn’t back out on those commitments when things started looking even more bleak than when they signed on.

  • IUMIKE1

    I too must have missed the Knight congrats. Guess I missed the comments in the NY Times as well.

  • MillaRed

    I was kidding guys. I know he dissed the school again and i am feeling a little bitter about it.

  • calbert40

    Completely agree. If we played a conference schedule full of Portland and Santa Clara, we’d continue to win also. Then again, Iowa would probably go undefeated in that conference (if Gonzaga wasn’t in it).

    I will be interested to see if the Selection Committee gives them a #1 seed. I think if you do a blind resume check, they wouldn’t get one, but how do you keep the #1 team in the AP from having a 1 seed?

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