Big Ten Power Rankings: January 6

  • 01/06/2014 10:36 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week as conference play is finally underway. And there has been a ton of movement in the middle of the rankings. Check out where each team stands after the first week of league play.

12. Northwestern (7-8, 0-2) (LAST WEEK: 12) … As rough as the non-conference season was for the Wildcats, their start to the Big Ten season hasn’t been much better. It first started with a 27-point loss at home to No. 4 Wisconsin and then at Michigan on Sunday, the Wildcats lost again, this time by a 23-point margin. And things won’t get much easier for Chris Collins in his first season in Evanston. In the next seven days, the Wildcats play at Iowa and against Illinois — two teams that have had very impressive starts to the season, as well.

11. Penn State (9-6, 0-2) (LAST WEEK: 11) … For a half against Michigan State on Tuesday, it appeared the Nittany Lions could pull off the ultimate upset to open the Big Ten season. But they quickly fell to reality, getting outscored by 23 points in the second half en route to a 79-63 loss. And then on Saturday, they lost by 20 at Illinois, a game in which they shot only 29.8 percent from the field. If the Nittany Lions can’t get their offense going like they struggled to against the Illini and in the second half against the Spartans, it could be yet another long season in State College.

10. Nebraska (8-6, 0-2) (LAST WEEK: 10) … Give Tim Miles and crew credit for only losing at Iowa by 10 points, but it was not as close as you might think it was. At one point more than halfway through the second half, the Hawkeyes led by 20 points. But reality has set in for the Cornhuskers, especially after a whopping 31-point loss at No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday. Getting out of the basement of the Big Ten won’t be easy.

9. Indiana (10-5, 0-2) (LAST WEEK: 7) … It hasn’t been a smooth start for the Hoosiers at all, as it’s clear that the inexperience in Bloomington is actually playing a bigger role than expected. Though they took Illinois to overtime in Champaign, 23 turnovers and more than a 10-minute field goal drought when it most mattered just won’t suffice. And then at Assembly Hall against Michigan State on Saturday, they lost by 17 points — the worst loss to the Spartans in Bloomington since 1990. Not to mention, the news that sparked the long week in Bloomington: It was announced on Monday that 6-foot-10 big man Luke Fischer would transfer from the program to Marquette.

8. Purdue (10-5, 0-2) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Give the Boilermakers credit: They have shown a lot of fight in their first two games of the Big Ten season. Against an elite Ohio State team to open the conference season on Tuesday, the Boilers stuck with them the entire game before eventually losing by nine points. And then at Minnesota on Sunday, they nearly took down the Gophers in their own building, losing by only three points. But they haven’t figured out how to get over the hump, just yet. And that is why they are 0-2 in Big Ten play heading into next Sunday’s game at home against Nebraska.

7. Minnesota (12-3, 1-1) (LAST WEEK: 6) … The Golden Gophers only had two losses in the entire non-conference season and both came in Hawaii, but their start to the Big Ten season hasn’t been easy, even with their opening two games inside Williams Arena. A loss to Michigan still learning how to play without Mitch McGary set the tone, and then on Sunday against Purdue, the Gophers nearly blew it once again. The book is still out on whether the Gophers are a legitimate threat to make the NCAA tournament, but two road games against Penn State and Michigan State this week should allow us to learn more about where they stand at this point in the season.

6. Michigan (10-4, 2-0) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Perhaps life without Mitch McGary won’t be too bleak, after all. The Wolverines have started the Big Ten season with two wins — one at Minnesota and one against Northwestern — and that could give the Wolverines the confidence they need moving forward. Dominance isn’t expected, but the Wolverines could very well compete as another very winnable game is on the slate this week: at Nebraska on Thursday.

5. Iowa (12-3, 1-1) (LAST WEEK: 4) … The Hawkeyes were so close. Holding an 11-point halftime lead at No. 4 Wisconsin on Sunday night, the Hawkeyes appeared to potentially upset the No. 4 Badgers in the Kohl Center — something rarely heard of. But a second-half collapse and a Fran McCaffery sideline metldown allowed the Badgers to win, as the Hawkeyes leave Madison perhaps a bit deflated heading into Thursday’s game against Northwestern. That’s not a way you want to end a week that started with a conference-opening win against Nebraska.

4. Illinois (13-2, 2-0) (LAST WEEK: 5) … Give John Groce credit: He has put together an experienced, talented team that still does not even have much of a history in Champaign. With a mix of transfers, freshmen and returning players from last years’ NCAA tournament squad, the Illini are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Indiana and Penn State at home. And Rayvonte Rice has been extremely impressive, as well, averaging 22 points and 7.5 rebounds in the Illini’s first two games of the conference season.

3. Michigan State (13-1, 2-0) (LAST WEEK: 3) … There is such a small margin between No. 1 and No. 3 in these rankings and such a wide one between No. 3 and No. 4, but if there’s a No. 3, it would have to be the Spartans. They struggled in the first half against Penn State and were slow to start against Indiana this week, but by the second half in each game, the Spartans had total control. And starting twice on the road in the Big Ten isn’t easy, by any means. Tom Izzo has put together a team that will contend for a Big Ten title this season, and there should be much anticipation heading into Tuesday’s battle with Ohio State in East Lansing.

2. Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0) (LAST WEEK: 2) … After they breezed through Northwestern to start the Big Ten season, Iowa gave the Badgers a significant test at home on Sunday night. But they responded, and after outscoring the Hawkeyes by 15 points in the second half, the Badgers are still undefeated in their best start in 100 seasons. It’s impressive enough to earn them the No. 2 spot in our Big Ten rankings, as they boast both a top 15 offense and defense in the nation.

1. Ohio State (15-0, 2-0) (LAST WEEK: 1) … Ohio State once again tops our power rankings after a 2-0 start to the Big Ten season with wins at Purdue and at home against Nebraska. Winning in West Lafayette isn’t easy, and the Buckeyes showed the grit necessary to do so in a nine-point victory on the road. And then at home against the Cornhuskers, the Buckeyes simply took care of business. The Buckeyes bring their No. 1 defense into East Lansing on Tuesday and then play Iowa on Sunday, as this week will truly be a challenge for them to remain undefeated.

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  • OhioHoosier

    It just hurts to see Purdue ahead of us.

  • HoosierOz

    Mix up the top 3 in any order you want and you still find yourself saying “Wow I can’t believe ___ is only the 3rd best team in the conference”.

  • Gregory Spera

    Sadly, that seems about right.

  • Candy Striped Kid

    How awesome is Tuesdays OSU MSU game going to be though? I can’t wait!

  • Raynger

    Let’s hope we don’t fall further.

  • Alford Bailey

    I had them ahead of us last week hoping it would change this week…. they don’t look as bad as we do at this point.

  • N71

    Hard to swallow that MSU is only the third best team in the Big Ten. What’s that say about our outlook @ Ohio State. Ugh.

  • OhioHoosier

    Agreed, I don’t think there is any questioning it at this point, which makes it even more disheartening.

  • IUBizmark

    Different match ups create different scenarios for us.

  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    Here’s the thing people; this team sucks.

  • colinbb10

    year six and we’re likely in the bottom 1/3 of the B1G. #TrustTheProcess

  • Drew

    #startstan gonna try to get this trending on twitter. CTC if you see it buddy please do the right thing. Jeremy and Troy aren’t getting it done.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    How is Iowa behind Illinois?

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I concur. Our coach is shaky, and the talent is not there.

  • steve

    That seems about right. I predicted 7-11 but revised it to 5-13 after the Luke F transfer. This is all pretty bad in year six of this. I hope I am wrong but fear I am not.

  • SCHoosier

    Good chance its gonna hurt worse after IU plays at West Laf in our one game this year against the Boilers.

  • Ole Man

    Right now, we don’t match up with anyone.

  • IUJeff

    It would be a huge accomplishment if IU could get on track and win that road game.

  • Ole Man

    Not holding my breath waiting on that result.

  • A TRAIN

    i had us makin the touney in the preseason not so sure now..i really hope something clicks here soon n they get it going…lets get indiana nation to all tweet hollowell to try n get his confidence up we need him to contribute bad!!….go hoosiers

  • IUBizmark

    I don’t believe that. I believe we have Top 25 potential that creates some match up problems. We’ll likely see the evolution of Stan and Devin this season. Maybe Hollowell will come around, maybe not.

  • Hoosiers__1

    I am starting to be happy that all the tickets for that game were already sold out when I called PU’s ticket office back in October. Hopefully IU improves a ton this month.

  • ForeverIU

    If you’re an IU fan, is there any worse form of self-flagellation than worrying about rankings and win-lose records this season?

  • Alford Bailey

    Thats my current hope for this team to pull off a win at Purdue against an average team. Not quite what I expected at the beginning of the season.

  • Andrew

    A kid who averaged 2 points and 10 minutes a game will cost us two conference wins? Wow. He was a big loss.

  • Andrew

    You know this is a subjective list, right? It’s someone’s opinion. Put MSU #1 if it makes you feel better about IU.

  • HoosierTrav

    This team is 2 seasons away from being contenders in the B1G and nationally. Next year we should get back into the tourney and hopefully make a splash. Just one win on the road or one win against a quality opponent will help this team immensely going into next year.

  • HoosierTrav

    You should realize by now that these rankings are, by no means, 100% accurate. I’ll be shocked if Izzo and the Spartans dont at least share the B1G crown this year.

  • HoosierTrav

    So much wrong with this young group that only time and experience can fix. Losing is some of the best medicine for young ball players. Lets just hope that we have a group that responds to losing the same way our last group did. Lets hope they spend their summers chasing improvement instead of tail. Lets hope that their goals are pretty damn lofty. Lets stand beside them during the losing. It will fuel them to want to win for us fans and themselves.

    Lets face reality. We arent playing in the dance this year. We just arent. So lets find that silver lining in every single game bc there usually is one. Saturdays silver lining was finding out that Stan Robinson is going to be one HELL of a player for us. I think its time for Coach to start him over Hollowell. He has earned it at this point. Hollowell is showing me more and more every game that he’s just not there mentally. He has no confidence in what he is physically capable of doing. The bench is always a good place for guys with this problem. It either provides the spark that they need or it reduces the liability of having them on the court. I think he should split minutes with DD. DD may not score for us but he gives us tenacity. There is more room for error with a tenacious ball player than there is for guys like Hollowell. I always favor kids with an edge over kids of a softer nature…. With that said…. I REALLY hope Hollowell can bust outta this mental funk bc he can make us MUCH better if he can give us the best of himself consistently.

    Make sure your fridges are full of beer and the cabinets are stocked with Bourbon. This year is and will continue to test our patience. It will pay off though.

  • Schwindy

    The Jeremy Hollowell Experience, everybody.

  • Lookn4banner6

    To those that want to say this is a rebuilding year Tom Izzo has never had a losing record in the big ten.

  • VAHoosier

    How is Illinois ahead of Iowa? Illinois has two wins at home over teams that are likely to finish in the bottom half of the conference (sorry, but true). Iowa just took Wisco to the brink on the road; and all three of Iowa’s losses this season are to teams that are now in the Top 10 in the nation. Even just going by the eyeball test, Iowa is a better team than Illinois.

  • SeattleHoosier

    Just riding out this year and enjoying the game. Next year will be a good one!

  • Hoosierfan2335

    yes, that’s because Tom Izzo and MSU have been a much better program than IU has been in the last 15 years. What’s your point? We aren’t IU from the 70s and 80s anymore.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    We just aren’t a good team yet and that’s okay. It’s not going to be easy winning any game in the big ten this year. We were clearly outmatched against MSU and weren’t experienced enough to edge out Illinois. We have to figure out how to win the games we are in. We can’t keep falling behind at halftime. We have no idea how to play the last five minutes of a half.

  • calbert40

    Here’s the thing: this ranking doesn’t matter at all. It may be a fairly accurate representation of the team right now, but there are 16 more B1G games left plus the tournament before Selection Sunday.

    A lot of us are down on this team currently, but we started out at Illinois and then get MSU at home. I think even the most optimistic fan amongst us would have figured an 0-2 start. We played really poorly against MSU, but we really should have won that game against Illinois, and they’re listed as the 4th best team in the league.

    I am not suggesting this team is going to rip up the league from here on out, but a little perspective is warranted. Our first 6 conference games include Wisky and home and home vs MSU. Add in the game at Illinois, and a realistic open to the conference schedule is 2-4. I’ll reserve judgment on this team in the B1G until after those six games are played.

    Using last year’s team as a guide, we would have gone just 4-2 in those games, and that was with a #1 seed talented team.

  • Ratatatat

    Iowa is too low and Ohio State is too high.