Big Ten Power Rankings: February 24

  • 02/24/2014 9:50 am in

(Photo credit: Scott Mapes, UMHoops.com)

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week as the end of conference play nears. This week’s rankings feature stability at the top and more shake-ups in the bottom six as we head into the final stretch of the regular season.

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

12. Northwestern (12-16, 5-10, PPP: .89, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Just a couple weeks ago, the Wildcats were 5-5 in the conference and were fourth in the Big Ten standings. It was a nice story for Chris Collins and company in his first year in Evanston, but injuries and a simple lack of elite talent have caught up to the Wildcats. They have now lost five straight, as finding wins in February were not easy to come by. (Up next: March 1 at Nebraska)

11. Penn State (13-14, 4-10, PPP: 1.0, PPP Allowed: 1.09) (LAST WEEK: 10) … Since pulling off the shocking victory at Indiana on Feb. 12, the Nittany Lions have gone 0-2 with losses by 12 and 13 points. They never got momentum on Thursday at Nebraska in an 80-67 defeat, and with a difficult end to the schedule on-tap, it might be tough for Pat Chambers’ squad to pull off another win this season. (Up next: Feb. 27 vs. Ohio State, March 2 vs. Wisconsin)

10. Illinois (15-12, 4-10, PPP: .94, PPP Allowed: 1.02) (LAST WEEK: 12) …  The Fighting Illini haven’t had the smoothest of seasons, but they did pick up a huge win and confidence booster on Wednesday at Minnesota. They started the second half hot and never looked back, and with it picked up their second road win in their past three games away from the State Farm Center. Ironically, though, Illinois hasn’t won at home since Jan. 4, and has a chance to clinch an overall winning record against Nebraska in Champaign on Wednesday. (Up next: Feb. 26 vs. Nebraska, March 1 at Michigan State) 

9. Indiana (15-11, 5-8, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (LAST WEEK: 11) … As rocky of a season as it’s been for the Hoosiers (which included last Tuesday’s postponement of a scheduled game vs. Iowa), Saturday’s win at Northwestern gave them some positive momentum. The Hoosiers shot well, didn’t turn the ball over and played solid defense, all pretty important factors to winning a basketball game. And the result: The Hoosiers left Evanston with their second road victory this season. (Up next: Feb. 25 at Wisconsin, Feb. 27 vs. Iowa, March 2 vs. Ohio State)

8. Purdue (15-12, 5-9, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Just over a week ago, the Boilermakers lit up Mackey Arena in an 82-64 win over the rival Hoosiers, but that seems like long ago after this past week’s results. Purdue allowed Michigan State to shoot lights out (the Spartans scored 1.4 points per possession) in West Lafayette on Tuesday in a 94-79 loss, and traveling to Lincoln on Sunday, the Boilermakers scored their third-fewest points of the season in a 76-57 blowout loss to Nebraska. And with two more tough games this week, things won’t get much easier for Matt Painter’s squad. (Up next: Feb. 26 vs. Michigan, March 1 at Iowa)

7. Minnesota (17-11, 6-9, PPP: 1.03, PPP Allowed: 1.07) (LAST WEEK: 7) … Two losses this past week to Ilinois and Ohio State did not do the Golden Gophers much good in terms of their NCAA tournament aspirations. With two of their final three games against teams ranked in the top 20, the Gophers certainly have the chance to pick up one or two more signature wins before the NCAA tournament selection committee decides their fate three Sundays from now. (Up next: Feb. 25 vs. Iowa, March 1 at Michigan)

6. Nebraska (16-10, 8-6, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 6) … There are certainly some streaking teams in the Big Ten right now, including Ohio State and Wisconsin, but the hottest team might be the Cornhuskers. After starting the Big Ten season 0-4, Tim Miles has his team as winners of eight of their past 10 games. And suddenly, an NCAA tournament bid isn’t out of the question with just four regular season games to go. (Up next: Feb. 26 at Illinois, March 1 vs. Northwestern)

5. Ohio State (22-6, 9-6, PPP: 1.04, PPP Allowed: .96) (LAST WEEK: 5) … The Buckeyes took care of business this week against Northwestern and Minnesota, despite a couple scares early on in each of those games. But they won each game with ease and by double digits. And now, the Buckeyes, who boast the conference’s No. 1 defense, are starting to return to the form they had in their 15-0 start to the season, as Thad Matta’s team has now won six of its past seven. (Up next: Feb. 27 at Penn State, March 2 at Indiana) 

4. Iowa (19-7, 8-5, PPP: 1.13, PPP Allowed: 1.02) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Preparing for a road game — including traveling hundreds of miles for it — only for it to never happen throws a wrench in a team’s routine, and that is exactly what happened when the Hawkeyes left Bloomington on Tuesday without having actually played. And now the Hawkeyes, who are coming off a tough loss at home to Wisconsin, have to deal with three more games this week, including two on the road in a three-day span. (Up next: Feb. 25 at Minnesota, Feb. 27 at Indiana, March 1 vs. Purdue)

3. Michigan State (22-6, 11-4, PPP: 1.12, PPP Allowed: 1.02) (LAST WEEK: 3) … The Spartans got ahead early in Ann Arbor on Sunday, but the younger Wolverines squad pulled away late as the Spartans simply couldn’t stop the trio of Caris LeVert, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas. Injuries have plagued the Spartans all season, from Gary Harris to Adreian Payne to Keith Appling to Branden Dawson, and with just three games to go to decide the Big Ten regular season title, we’ve yet to see the true potential of this Michigan State squad. (Up next: March 1 vs. Illinois)

2. Wisconsin (22-5, 9-5, PPP: 1.13, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 2) … Frank Kaminsky’s huge shot late in Saturday’s game at Iowa was huge for the Badgers. Coming off almost a week’s worth of rest following last Sunday’s dominant win at Michigan, the Badgers won, yet again, in another tough road environment in Iowa City. After falling to a 4-5 mark in the Big Ten, the Badgers have responded brilliantly with five straight wins (three of which have come against ranked opponents). And they still have an outside shot at a piece of the Big Ten title with four games to go. (Up next: Feb. 25 vs. Indiana, March 2 at Penn State)

1. Michigan (19-7, 11-3, PPP: 1.16, PPP Allowed: 1.08) (LAST WEEK: 1) …The Wolverines are all alone at the top of the Big Ten. This was a team that had lost its backcourt to the NBA before this season even began and its sophomore sensation and starting center to injury before the start o , but with four games remaining until the end of the regular season, the Wolverines are once again in the mix to win the conference regular season title. LeVert and Derrick Walton have emerged as worthy replacements to Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke, and Stauskas and Robinson have continued to improve. They might be the least-experienced team in the league, but John Beilein has it on the verge of its first outright Big Ten title since 1986. (Up next: Feb. 26 at Purdue, March 1 vs. Minnesota)

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  • Hoosier Hall

    Nebraska is looking good right now with Illinois and Northwestern coming up. Really wish we would’ve closed that one out at Nebraska…

  • inLinE6

    That may not have saved our season but would help build some confidence in a successful NIT run….. But winning the next 3 contests would probably put us back in the NCAA talk…

  • HoosierGrampy

    If these young men play to their demonstrated potential and give the effort we’ve become so used to seeing from those who wear “INDIANA” on their jerseys, there’s not much more to ask of them. I’d like to see them win out, but I’ll be more than satisfied to see them give their best shots in the remaining games. Same goes for CTC.

  • IUBizmark

    Just thinking out loud…Is it fair to compare last year’s success and subsequent transition of IU and Michigan to this year’s results of those two teams?

    It seems we both lost a lot of talent to the NBA or in their case, injury, yet Michigan is highly successful this year. What gives?

  • oldiugymnast

    They play 1 freshman in any rotation, and mostly Jr. and Sr. players. We START 3 freshman – the most of any team in the NCAA. That is the difference.

  • IUBizmark

    I was looking at espn and they list one senior (Morgan) and one junior (Horford). Are there red shirts? Otherwise, it seems like a stretch to say they’re playing with “mostly” juniors and seniors.

    The reason I’m asking is the last sentence of the article above mentions Michigan as the least experienced team in the conference, but still in the running to win the title.

  • Rotation breakdown:

    – Freshmen: Irvin, Walton (starter)
    – Sophomores: Stauskas (starter), LeVert (starter), Robinson III (starter), Albrecht
    – Junior: Jon Horford
    – Fifth-year senior: Jordan Morgan (starter)

  • Major difference between the two is Michigan returned a lot more production than Indiana did despite being “younger.” And the 2012 class for the Wolverines has been ultra productive and Indiana’s 2012 group besides Yogi has struggled:

    http://www.insidethehall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/0201prod.jpg

  • Lobills

    What do those percentages look like if you remove McGary’s numbers? He hasn’t played since their 2 pt. home loss to Arizona, so that would include the entire B1G slate this year.

    I’d be curious to know the 2013 vs. 2014 B1G IU/UM % of returning production conference only #’s w/out McGary for this year…just don’t have time today to look it all up. Probably a tad laborious, but IMO that would provide a better illustration of the two teams for this discussion.

  • Shawn Congo

    Not a complete bust when you consider Yogi, but not exactly a boon either with little to no production from the others.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I think the only way now is to win the next 3 and 1 in the B1G Tournament

  • SCHoosier

    UM has shooters in multiple positions. Only weak spot is center and maybe the depth of the bench. I’d like them for the final four if MacG was up and healthy. Coach B has and recruits the talent to fit his system..and its working.

  • Closer to bust. Yogi is keeping it hanging by a thread.

  • What a tough season. I figured we’d have some trouble but I didn’t expect it to be quite this bad, to the point of irrelevance again. Having Nebraska, Minnesota, and Purdue ahead of us in the rankings and not having a valid argument against it is sobering. Hard to be excited about next year too with Noah’s future with Indiana being a big question mark. If he stays, I think we can actually be a title contender. If he decides to forgo his soph year, I really don’t see us being much better than this years team. A capable big man is so vital and we don’t have any outside of Noah, and have nothing coming in.

  • IUBizmark

    Thanks for clarifying this for me Alex. I work with data sets all day and it’s always good to have the talking points to articulate a story.

  • Alford Bailey

    Well were movin on uuuup, mooovin on up……..

  • HoosierHysteria5

    Didn’t I hear during the game against NW that TC is confident (or something like that, not a direct quote) that Vonleh will stay another year? I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket on this statement, but it’s a glimmer of hope.