Big Ten Power Rankings: February 3

  • 02/03/2014 10:10 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week as conference play continues to prove to be, well, unpredictable. This week’s rankings feature another set of shake-ups after yet another wild week in conference action that saw plenty of upsets.

Without further ado, check out where each team stands after week five of league play: 

12. Illinois (13-9, 2-7, PPP: .94, PPP Allowed: 1.03) (LAST WEEK: 11) …  Illinois’s slide to the bottom of the Big Ten became complete on Saturday, as the Illini scored its most points since Jan. 4 against Penn State but allowed 81 points en route to a seven-point loss at home to Iowa. The Illini haven’t won since that game against the Nittany Lions and will get their second chance at the Nittany Lions this week in State College. (Up next: Feb. 4 vs. Wisconsin, Feb. 9 at Penn State) 

11. Purdue (13-9, 3-6, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 9) … After two losses this week on the road — one to a surging Michigan squad and another to Penn State on Sunday — the Boilermakers find themselves on a four-game losing streak and near the bottom of the Big Ten standings, once again. Though Purdue is rebounding 36.1 percent of its misses in Big Ten play, it hasn’t really mattered much, as it is shooting only a 42.9 effective field goal percentage (second-worst in conference action) and is getting 14.4 percent of its shots blocked. (Up next: Feb. 5 vs. Minnesota, Feb. 8 at Ohio State)

10. Penn State (12-10, 3-6, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (LAST WEEK: 12) … Make it a three-game winning streak for Pat Chambers and crew, as the Nittany Lions shocked Ohio State in Columbus this past week thanks to a D.J. Newbill game-winning jumper in overtime and followed it with a dominant performance at home against Purdue on Sunday. After losing so many close games this season, it looks as if the Nittany Lions have finally found their winning ways. And in a Big Ten season as unpredictable as this, there could be plenty of more opportunities to come. (Up next: Feb. 6 at Michigan State, Feb. 9 vs. Illinois)

9. Wisconsin (17-5, 4-5, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Perhaps last week’s win at Purdue was more of a fluke than a sign of stability in Madison. With two home games against Northwestern and a struggling Ohio State squad, Bo Ryan and company had plenty of opportunities to right the ship. They lost both games, including a nine-point loss at the hands of the Wildcats. Wisconsin has lost its edge on offense — it averaged well-below its season norm in its two losses this week — and suddenly, winning in the Kohl Center isn’t a given, anymore. (Up next: Feb. 4 at Illinois, Feb. 9 vs. Michigan State)

8. Nebraska (11-9, 3-5, PPP: .97, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Well, perhaps one thing is clear about the Cornhuskers this season: Not many opponents will be able to come into Pinnacle Bank Arena and leave with a ‘W’. The Cornhuskers’ second half against Indiana this week was extremely impressive, as a 66.7 eFG% effort boosted them to victory over the Hoosiers. However, Nebraska still hasn’t won in an opponent’s arena all season, with four of its five Big Ten losses coming on the road. And both of the Cornhuskers’ games this week will be away from Lincoln. (Up next: Feb. 5 at Michigan, Feb. 8 at Northwestern)

7. Indiana (14-8, 4-5, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hoosiers are a young team. One night they can look like they can beat anyone and the next disappear for an entire half. Thus was the case this past week, in which the volatile Hoosiers allowed a 16-point lead at Nebraska to evaporate into a loss and then followed it with beating Michigan — a team that had not lost since mid-December — on Sunday. Indiana, however, is only 1-3 on the road in Big Ten play and needs to prove it can beat a solid opponent on the road, too, if it wants to be considered amongst the conference’s top five. (Up next: Feb. 8 at Minnesota)

6. Minnesota (15-7, 4-5, PPP: 1.09, PPP Allowed: 1.10) (LAST WEEK: 5) … The Golden Gophers’ 55-54 home loss to Northwestern on Saturday was almost inexplicable, as they allowed a 3-point jumper to Tre Demps in the final minute and then missed two shots of their own in the final 12 seconds that might have won the game. Minnesota, though, never had a lead larger than four points the entire game and finds itself on a two-game losing streak with losses to Nebraska and Northwestern. (Up next: Feb. 5 at Purdue, Feb. 8 vs. Indiana)

5. Ohio State (17-5, 4-5, PPP: 1.02, PPP Allowed: .99) (LAST WEEK: 6) … After what was, in all honesty, an embarrassing loss at home to Penn State on Wednesday, the Buckeyes redeemed themselves on Saturday and grinded to a 59-58 win at Wisconsin. Ohio State started this season 2-0 in conference play. But after losing four straight, the Buckeyes have won two of their past three and appear to be showing life, despite their offense still struggling. (Up next: Feb. 4 at Iowa, Feb. 8 vs. Purdue) 

4. Northwestern (12-11, 5-5, PPP: .87, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (LAST WEEK: 10) … As crazy as it might sound, Northwestern is the hottest team in the Big Ten, at the moment. Not many expected the Wildcats to win at Wisconsin AND Minnesota this past week, but that is exactly what happened. Chris Collins’s team has no business being No. 4 in the Big Ten standings more than halfway through their conference slate, especially in year one of his tenure. But after both wins on the road this week — they are now on a 3-game Big Ten road winning streak for the first time in 54 years — the Wildcats deserve to be in the top four, right now. (Up next: Feb. 8 vs. Nebraska)

3. Iowa (17-5, 6-3, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: .98) (LAST WEEK: 3) … Tuesday’s overtime loss against a banged-up Michigan State squad might have been a bit deflating for an Iowa team looking for a signature home win. But instead of letting that loss loom large, the Hawkeyes simply responded at Illinois and held on for an 81-74 victory, despite giving up a 21-point lead at one point. Despite how unpredictable the Big Ten has been this season, the Hawkeyes have really avoided much of the drama and upsets other teams have been prone to. And credit that to Fran McCaffery and the experience of this Iowa squad.  (Up next: Feb. 4 vs. Ohio State, Feb. 8 vs. Michigan)

2. Michigan State (19-3, 7-1, PPP: 1.10, PPP Allowed: .96) (LAST WEEK: 2) … As banged up as the Spartans are, right now, Tuesday’s win at Iowa was huge for their confidence moving forward. They proved they can win without two of their typical starters in Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson, and though injuries perhaps came back to bite them on Saturday against Georgetown, there is no reason the Spartans can’t continue to win in the Big Ten. After all, the Spartans have the No. 1 defense in conference play and have a top-four offense to pair with it.  (Up next: Feb. 6 vs. Penn State, Feb. 9 at Wisconsin)

1. Michigan (16-5, 8-1, PPP: 1.16, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (LAST WEEK: 1) … Michigan remains No. 1 in this week’s power rankings, even after Sunday’s loss at Indiana. The Hoosiers exposed the Wolverines’s offensive screens and made Nik Stauskas a non-factor, something that no other Big Ten team has been able to achieve this season. But that speaks words to how effective Michigan’s offense has been this season. As far as offensive efficiency goes, no team has been better in Big Ten play than the Wolverines. And through eight of their first nine games — five of those on the road — offense has carried them to an 8-1 start. That’s enough to keep them at No. 1. (Up next: Feb. 5 vs. Nebraska, Feb. 8 at Iowa)

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  • Ole Man

    Don’t know how much longer NW can keep this up. However, at this point of the season Chris Collins deserves serious COTY consideration.

  • FeatheryOne

    IMO, I don’t think Ohio State deserves the attention they are getting at this point in time. Hoosiers have more solid wins and the same amount of “bad” losses. Based on resume I would think Hoosiers would get a bid before OSU.

  • David Macer

    Even if it doesn’t hold up, he has that NW team playing hard. While not pretty offensively, they get the job done. You know what they say, offense wins games, defense wins championships.

  • Geoff_85

    Littman has gone off the deep end. I kid. Might consider switching Northwestern and Wisconsin though. 🙂

  • HoosierFan76

    I agree – if I had a vote, he’d get it. New coaches of teams that are perpetually rebuilding should not achieve this level of success in the best conference, top to bottom, in college basketball. Amazing job by Collins.

  • pbhuff

    IU’s solid wins are Wisc and Mich and OSU’s is @Wisc. Maryland maybe isn’t a solid win, but its better than our 3rd best win. And I’d say we have 4 bad losses at this point, @Ill, @Neb, NW, and ND, whereas OSU just has just 2, @Neb and PSU. The loss at home to PSU is the worst between the two of us, however, OSU would probably still be in before us primarily because they have a solid road win.

  • Alford Bailey

    Ohio State has a belly ache from all the cupcakes they had non conference. #3 ranking for them was one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in cbb for a while.

  • FeatheryOne

    A Maryland team that lost to the Boston University Terries and George Washington. Wouldn’t consider that a good win to put on the NCAA bid resume.

  • Alford Bailey

    Be interesting to see if he stays and builds NW into the Duke of the midwest or if he bolts for the first high profile job offer.

  • millzy32

    Peyton Manning definitely agrees with you today.

  • pbhuff

    They still have a winning record in the ACC. Its not a great win by any means, but its decent and by far better than any win IU has after Wisc and Mich. And IU does have more bad losses.

    Though, my main point was that a quality road win trumps IU’s resume easily.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Agreed. At this point our Washington win is looking better than Maryland.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Man, I’d love to have the few games we “shouldve” won back (NW, Neb, Illinois). I can deal with the Michigan St losses, I didn’t expect to win those but with those 3 games (or even 2 of them) we’d be sitting pretty.

  • HoosierFan76

    That’s always a concern when you see a coach achieve success at a school that doesn’t have the legacy of being a traditional power – there are enough traditional powers that aren’t successful and need good coaches that the job offers are always there, and tempting.

  • Charlie Semar

    Don’t forget the UCONN game @ MSG. Played practically that entire game without Noah. Pulling that one out coulda been a huge difference maker as well

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Don’t discount our blowout of Washington. Not a groundbreaking win but I still think it is a decent win especially considering the margin.

  • CreamandCrimson

    It’s an interesting one…Washington’s RPI is 78, Maryland’s is 74. However, OSU beat Maryland in Columbus while we took down Washington (convincingly) in New York. It’s close but I’d give a slight nod to our win over Washington. One thing is for sure, we play the Buckeyes one time this season and it’s in Bloomington. That one could be a very significant game (both for tournament and Big Ten Tournament seeding purposes)…we’ll see.

  • Kenneth234

    When they announced the hire at the end of last season, I thought that he (if he was a really good choice) would take a few seasons and eventually get them around a top 8 Big Ten team, and move on. I never expected this sort of success this early. If he can convince the athletic department to build a bigger stadium, then he may turn the fortunes of the Northwestern program around for good. But I still have this feeling that Northwestern is not going to do that, and he will be in the running to take over at Duke when coach K retires.

  • Ole Man

    Excellent thought. I bet he’s building his resume for the Duke job.
    It will come down to him or Tommy Amaker (sp) at Harvard.

  • VAHoosier

    It’s fair to say that all conference games are enormously important, but I think this weekend’s game at Minny is extra important. We haven’t been able to string together wins in conference play, and it’s coming down to the wire. Win at Minny, though, and we then head home for a winnable game against PSU that could give us 3 straight and put us up in the top 3 or 4 in the conference. That would be a pretty good place from which to start the homestretch.

  • marcusgresham

    If IU is #7 on this list I’m happy at this point because Northwestern won’t stay in the top 4 (or 6) and the best conference in the country will get more than 5 teams in the tournament.

  • BT

    Which Big Ten team’s offense ISN’T struggling? For all the grief the IU coaching staff gets for not running clever offensive schemes, I’m not exactly watching poetry in motion from any of IU’s opponents thus far. Seems like dang near every game in-conference is in the 50s or low-60s.

  • marcusgresham

    At the time Indiana lost to Notre Dame Jerian Grant was still playing and they were a lot better team. Nebraska only has one loss at home all season, and Northwestern has been on a roll as of late. The only one that could be considered “bad” at this point is Illinois.

  • You mean the worst ACC league in the last 15 years? That one right?

  • I agree. But how nice would the Neb and NW games be right now on our resume. Just a sign of our youth imo. They’ll beat the tar outta these teams in a year or two.

  • I’d have to say UK @ #1 this year and #3 last year has been the most ridiculous, but thats my opinion. I dont think anyone could have anticipated whats happening to O$U right now.

  • pbhuff

    I’ll give you the ND loss

    NW isn’t a terrible loss, but still a bad one since it was at home. All home losses are liabilities, except maybe those against top 20ish teams.

  • calbert40

    NW is a good story in the B1G, but I think their success could hurt the B1G come Selection Sunday. They are 12-11 overall. Their final eight games are Nebraska twice, @ MSU, Minny, @ OSU, IU, PSU, @ PU. This year in the B1G, no game is guaranteed, but you figure they *should* beat Nebraska and Penn St at home. If they split the other six (which is being more than fair to them), that would mean they would enter the B1G tourney at 17-14, 10-8.

    I’d guess that would put them in the 4 or 5 seed range in the tourney. They would HAVE to win that 4 vs 5 game, and probably need to beat the #1 seed in the next round to have a chance. Even if they lost in the championship, they’d finish either 19-15 (4 seed) or 20-15 (5 seed). That is still a dicey tourney profile with that many losses.

    And while I think it is a great story that they are playing so well, I think I just painted a best case scenario for them. I actually figure they will probably go 3-5 over their last eight games, which would put them 15-16, 8-10. If that’s how they finish, they’d have to win the B1G tourney to get in, and I just don’t see that happening.

  • Alford Bailey

    My fear is after the dust clears these middle of the pack B1G teams will beat each other up to the point that w-l records wont be good enough to get some teams in.

  • HoosierFan76

    Don’t forget Steve Wojciechowski. He’s currently listed as the Associate Head Coach at Duke. This means, IMO, that if Wojo doesn’t leave and Coach K retires on good terms from Duke (I assume it’ll go that way), Wojo would have as good a chance, if not better, than anyone else to be the next head coach at Duke. I believe he’d have Coach K’s vote when it comes to determining his successor.

    I don’t personally know any of these people to say for sure that it will happen that way, but Wojo has a long and storied history with Duke both as a player and a coach, and I would imagine that he could’ve landed a head coaching gig elsewhere prior to this point since he’s a high-profile assistant coach at a very successful program, so you have to figure that there’s a compelling reason for him to stay at his current job at Duke.

  • b_side

    And oddly enough Illinois was a top 25 team at the time. Wonder if the committee takes momentum into consideration.

  • Snookafly

    Yeah, I could see Coach K telling him to go get some head coaching experience in preparation for taking over at Duke. Amaker has done some impressive things at Harvard, but his underwhelming job at Michigan makes me question his candidacy at Duke.

  • Kenneth234

    I’m not certain a 20-15 record would get them a 5 seed, even if they finished 5th in the conference. To me, that sounds like an 11 seed at best, possibly in a play in game somewhere.

  • Kenneth234

    Wojo would certainly be in the running, however, there are plenty of coaches out there who are doing good jobs elsewhere, and gaining experience as the head of other programs. It will be one of the most interesting job searches in college basketball history in my opinion when Coach K walks away.

    Tommy Amaker: Seton Hall (1997–2001), Michigan (2001–2007), Harvard (2007–present)

    Bob Bender: Washington (1993–2002)

    Mike Brey: Delaware (1995–2000), Notre Dame (2000–present)

    Jeff Capel: VCU (2002–2006), Oklahoma (2006–2011)

    Johnny Dawkins: Stanford (2008–present)

    Mike Dement: UNC Greensboro (1991–1995, 2005–2011), SMU (1995–2004)

    David Henderson: Delaware (2000–2006)

    Bobby Hurley: Buffalo (2013–present)

    Tim O’Toole: Fairfield (1998–2006)

    Quin Snyder: Missouri (1999–2006)

    Three former players—Steve Wojciechowski, Jeff Capel and Nate James, — currently work under him as assistants at Duke. Another former player, Jon Scheyer, works under him as a special assistant. On January 4, 2014, Mike Brey’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish became the first and only team coached by one of Krzyzewski’s former players to beat the Blue Devils, winning 79–77. Krzyzewski has also coached NBA general managers: Danny Ferry, of the Atlanta Hawks, and Billy King, of the Brooklyn Nets. Former player and captain Chip Engelland has served as assistant coach and shooting specialist to the San Antonio Spurs since 2005, Bob Bender is an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks and Chris Carrawell, is an assistant coach for the Springfield Armor of the NBDL.[21] In Duke’s 2013–14 ACC season opening 79–77 loss against Notre Dame, Krzyzewski endured his first lost to one of his former assistant coaches (Brey) after 18 wins.[22] via wikipedia

  • Ole Man

    Had forgotten about Wojo.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I believe he was referring to their seed being either a 4 or 5 in the Big Ten Tournament, not the NCAA Tournament.

  • marcusgresham

    Yeah, but you’d have to assume a middle-of-the-pack team will have a middle-of-the-pack record (within a game or two of .500 in-conference record,) and I can’t see the tournament not taking at least 6 teams from the best conference.

    Of course, the darling Big East is half gone, so maybe they don’t feel compelled to take the whole damn lot of them this year, too.

  • calbert40

    I meant a 4 or 5 seed in the conference tourney. I think 10-8 this season could get that high of a seed, because everyone is beating up everyone else.

    The analysts on BTN the other night were saying that what is best for a conference is to have a couple teams that are really lousy, because then it gives the middle of the road teams in a conference 3-4 easy Ws. This year…we don’t have that luxury in the B1G.

  • calbert40

    I’ve always considered NW to be my 2nd favorite B1G team. I root for them when they aren’t playing IU. This year, I kinda hope they struggle down the stretch. I just don’t think they have the resume to get in at 20-15.

    I think they would need to pick up at least one of their road games against MSU or OSU to merit serious discussion. They are just going to end up with too many losses.

    So far as the rest of the conference is concerned, it is not unprecedented for the committee to select a team that finishes below a team they do not select in the same conference. If a team with a better resume finishes at 9-9 when they finish 10-8, I think they would still bypass NW to take the other team.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I would love to see NW make the tournament for the first time, but that might cost a team like the Hoosiers a shot if they’re on the bubble so I hope they tank!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Realistically, IU should be pretty much a dead lock to finish 9-9 with 19 overall wins if they just lose the ones they should lose and win their home games and at PUke. Beat Minny or NW on the road and it’s a 10-win/20-win season and they’re definitely in. That’s if they win the games at home against teams like Iowa and OSU.

    I still think this team is completely capable of going on a NW type run and finishing even better than that, but they’re still completely capable of finishing 7-11 too!

    That’s why this team is SO interesting and frustrating to watch!

  • William Hagenmaier

    Coach K was groomed by the general Robert Montomery Knight

  • William Hagenmaier

    IU this yr is not a dead lock for anything except inconsistancy

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Exactly, that’s why I said they could very well go 7-11 as well. The talent is there to put wins together, but basketball IQ . . . that’s a whole different story.

    Time will tell!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think the Big 12 is the best conference this year, but B1G officiating helps drive the point totals down!

    Just watch the Syracuse/Duke game if you were lucky enough to record it and you’ll see a dozen screens that would’ve been called moving screens in the B1G and at least a half dozen pump fake drives that would’ve been whistles as travel calls!