Big Ten Power Rankings: January 19

  • 01/19/2015 9:12 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week as just one team now remains winless in conference play and four are within one game of first place in the league standings.

Here’s a look at where each team stands following the third week of play in 2015: 

14. Penn State (12-6, 0-5, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 14)  An already bad week for the Nittany Lions got worse on Sunday after it was revealed they turned down at least 30 people at ticket counters before Saturday’s game against Purdue, even though it was nowhere near sold out. The week started with the announcement of the suspension of John Johnson and continued with two losses to Indiana and the Boilermakers, and the Nittany Lions now find themselves as the lone winless team in Big Ten action. (Next up: Jan. 21 at Michigan State; Jan. 24 vs. Rutgers)

13. Northwestern (10-8, 1-4, PPP: .97, PPP Allowed: 1.07) (Last week: 13)  The Wildcats found themselves in two close games this past week, battling back against Illinois late and with a second-half lead at Michigan. Both times, though, they did not have the late-game playmaking to prevail. And in a league as unforgiving as the Big Ten is, close losses aren’t going to cut it. Perhaps one positive they could take from the four league losses is that they are playing so competitively despite such poor efficiency numbers. (Next up: Jan. 22 vs. Ohio State; Jan. 25 at Maryland)

12. Minnesota (12-7, 1-5, PPP: 1.05, PPP Allowed: 1.09) (Last week: 12)  Well, the Golden Gophers finally got their first Big Ten win. Granted, it was against a Rutgers squad that has struggled away from Piscataway thus far in conference action. But nonetheless, the Gophers have a game in the win column to their name. They nearly beat Iowa, too, after making a late second-half comeback only to have their hopes dashed by Jarrod Uthoff in the final seconds. One thing the Gophers will have to get settled, though: Despite having one of the nation’s top effective height margins, they are allowing opponents in conference play to rebound more than 37 percent of their misses — the worst mark in the Big Ten. (Next up: Jan. 20 at Nebraska; Jan. 24 vs. Illinois)

11. Rutgers (10-9, 2-4, PPP: .93, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 11)  After last week’s huge win over Wisconsin, the Scarlet Knights had a less successful two games this past week with losses to both Maryland and Minnesota on the road. They’ve yet to win a conference road game in their three attempts this season. But the Scarlet Knights gave the Terrapins plenty of trouble and kept the scoreline respectable in Minneapolis, a sign they can certainly be competitive in the Big Ten this season. (Next up: Jan. 20 vs. Michigan; Jan. 24 at Penn State)

10. Illinois (12-7, 2-4, PPP: .97, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (Last week: 10)  Life without Rayvonte Rice continues for the Fighting Illini, and sophomore Kendrick Nunn has filled at least the scoring void — putting up 49 points in their two games this week. But as a team in both games against Northwestern and Indiana, the Illini struggled to defend. Offensive consistency pushed them toward a win against the Wildcats in Evanston. But against the Hoosiers, the offense was streaky. And with the defense once again lacking, its inconsistent offense let them down late for their first loss in the State Farm Center this season. (Next up: Jan. 21 vs. Purdue; Jan. 24 at Minnesota)

9. Nebraska (10-7, 2-3, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 9)  The Cornhuskers’ lone game this week was a 70-55 drubbing at Wisconsin — a reminder that they still are far off the pace in the Big Ten this season. They allowed Wisconsin to score 1.30 points per possession and were once again lackluster from the field (21-of-50), at one point trailing by 22 points before making the final margin appear a bit more respectable. (Next up: Jan. 20 vs. Minnesota; Jan. 24 vs. Michigan State)

8. Michigan (11-7, 4-2, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 7)  On Sunday afternoon the Wolverines’ worst fears were realized when it was announced junior Caris LeVert is out for the season with a foot injury sustained in Saturday’s 56-54 escape over Northwestern. Just how big of a loss is LeVert? The 6-foot-7 forward led the Wolverines in points, rebounds, assists and steals this season. That’s a lot of production to make up for with just one junior (and no seniors) now available to play. (Next up: Jan. 20 at Rutgers; Jan. 24 vs. Wisconsin)

7. Purdue (11-7, 3-2, PPP: 1.03, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (Last week: 8)  Finding a way to win is important in the Big Ten, and the Boilermakers did just that under the odd circumstances of Saturday’s game against Penn State in State College. They found themselves trailing by three and at the free throw line with less than 15 seconds to go, but after two misses and an offensive rebound, Kendall Stephens nailed a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. They would go on to win easily from there, 84-77. The Nittany Lions are not the great opponent to gauge progress on, but nonetheless any road win in this league shouldn’t be taken lightly. (Next up: Jan. 21 at Illinois; Jan. 24 vs. Iowa)

6. Ohio State (14-5, 3-3, PPP: 1.07, PPP Allowed: 1.02) (Last week: 6)  After last Saturday’s tight loss at Indiana, the Buckeyes responded by demolishing their rivals Michigan, dismantling them into shooting just 35.1 percent from the field in a 71-52 win. But on Saturday the Buckeyes didn’t have an answer to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City, allowing them to score 1.19 points per possession in a 76-69 loss. And away from Columbus, the Buckeyes are now just 1-4 this season. (Next up: Jan. 22 at Northwestern; Jan. 25 vs. Indiana)

5. Michigan State (12-6, 3-2, PPP: 1.06, PPP Allowed: .99) (Last week: 3)  They barely escaped Northwestern in overtime last Sunday, and almost a week later on Saturday, the Spartans had little fight in them in a blowout loss to Maryland in College Park. It was their second loss to the Terrapins in as many games, too, as they went a dismal 3-for-17 from beyond the arc while allowing Maryland to shoot better than 52 percent on their 3s. Since their 14-point win at Iowa, well, the Spartans have just looked inconsistent. (Next up: Jan. 21 vs. Penn State; Jan. 24 at Nebraska)

4. Indiana (14-4, 4-1, PPP: 1.04, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (Last week: 5)  Already very thin up front, the Hoosiers received bad news on Tuesday as it was revealed 6-foot-9 starter Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be out indefinitely — a reported two to four weeks — with a knee injury sustained in practice. And against Penn State on Tuesday, the Hoosiers allowed 13 offensive boards and narrowly escaped with a win. But on Sunday in Champaign, the undersized Hoosiers out-rebounded the Fighting Illini with their tallest player on the court at 6-foot-8, and they now find themselves in the thick of the Big Ten race in the midst of a tough stretch. (Next up: Jan. 22 vs. Maryland; Jan. 25 at Ohio State)

3. Iowa (13-5, 4-1, PPP: 1.15, PPP Allowed: 1.10) (Last week: 4)  Despite blowing their double-digit second half lead at Minnesota on Tuesday, the Hawkeyes stayed tough and managed to pull out a win in “The Barn,” their first since Jan. 4, 2012. And they took care of business on Saturday against the Buckeyes at home, too. As one of the biggest teams in the nation, the Hawkeyes have played to their strengths thus far this conference season: They are getting to the line at the best rate in the league (61.2 percent free throw rate) and are getting plenty of their points at the line — in addition to a 52.8 percent 2-point field goal percentage in conference play, second best out of the 14 teams in the league. (Next up: Jan. 20 at Wisconsin; Jan. 24 at Purdue)

2. Wisconsin (16-2, 4-1, PPP: 1.23, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (Last week: 2)  After last week’s debacle in New Jersey, the Badgers had Frank Kaminsky back in action on Thursday and breezed to a 15-point win against Nebraska in Madison. And in 34 minutes of action, the 7-foot senior’s impact was clear — he scored 22 points, had five rebounds (three offensive), two assists and two blocks. If he can continue to stay healthy, the Badgers should continue to win. (Next up: Jan. 20 vs. Iowa; Jan. 24 at Michigan)

1. Maryland (17-2, 5-1, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: .90) (Last week: 1)  With each passing game, the target on Maryland’s back grows in their first season in the Big Ten. They have reached a top 15 ranking and were put in the national spotlight with a CBS game on Saturday against Michigan State. And after a close call against Rutgers earlier in the week, the Terrapins took care of business and then some against the Spartans. They scored at a 1.23 points per possession rate and appeared to be a far superior opponent, as freshman Romelo Trimble led the way once again with 24 points on 6-of-11 3s. Much of the preseason Big Ten Freshman of the Year talk had been focused on Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell — but arguably no player has had an impact on his team like Trimble has had at Maryland. (Next up: Jan. 22 at Indiana; Jan. 25 vs. Northwestern)

(Photo credit: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America)

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  • Hawk4

    4 of the next 7 are on the road. Of the 3 home games, 1 is against Maryland and 1 is against Michigan.

    So… is 4-3 over this stretch acceptable? Maryland won’t be an easy home win… neither will Michigan. Not to be pessimistic, but I don’t see us winning more than 1 of the road games. 4-3 would have to be a good 7 game stretch, yes?

  • ForeverIU

    I am thinking one game at a time, and for each of these games I am thinking 1-0. The road factor is not an issue for our guys; they showed it yesterday.

  • Kyl470

    Michigan just lost their best player for the year. I would expect IU to be heavy favorites that game.

  • kaponya44

    Good parting question.It might border on being unrealistic to hope for better in the next 7.However your 4-3 scenario would leave the team 18-7 ,8-4. From that point a possible return to action by Hanner or an unlikely return by Davis could provide a huge lift.On the other hand should the team find unexpected success playing shorthanded I would slightly worry about on court chemistry in getting a sudden influx of height(relatively speaking of course).So back to the present – this Thursdays game offers a huge opportunity to put a serious conference contender beneath us in the loss column.If we do receive a ranking today we still play as the underdog which this team usually handles well.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Well – hope they take care of home court and win 1/2 on the road – so Id hope for 5-2, but would not be upset with 4-3 given HMP is out for likely all of them ….

  • N71

    Next 7:

    Maryland (W due to home court)
    @ OSU (L, payback)
    @ Purdue (L, they’re not bad and will be jacked)
    Rutgers (W)
    @ Wisconsin (L)
    Michigan (W)
    @ Rutgers (W)

    4-3 is my guess and is acceptable, I’d prefer 7-0 though so we can stick it to Ken Pomeroy. Can you imagine at W and UW…that would be something.

  • And One

    Anybody know if Maryland has ever played at AH? I’m not a great student of history, I guess, or at least I’m too lazy to look it up. (But why look it up when I can ask you guys?)
    I like our chances on Thursday. Ours is a tougher atmosphere than Breslin, we’re playing well, and those guys are due for a letdown.

  • myrddin

    I am trying to stay reasonable and moderate in my expectations, because let’s face it our 4-1 record in conference is a bit smoke and mirrors. Nebraska was always a winnable road game, but does anyone think we beat Illinois on the road if they have Rice? The team is doing what they have to do, and if they go 3-4 in this stretch either holding serve at home or losing one at home and stealing one on the road, then we’re actually in decent shape heading in to the home stretch of the conference schedule. I mean, 12 games into the B1G with a favorable closing schedule I think any fan of this team would love to be 7-5 at that point.

  • StevieV610

    I had initially broken the B1G schedule into 4-game segments (with the last two as “remainders”). We went 3-1 through the first 4 (I had predicted 2-2), so we’re already a game ahead of the anticipated pace.

    These next four (starting with yesterday’s Illinois game) are just really tough. We’ve already got “the” win from this group that would be anticipated (1-3 for the set).

    The following set should result in a 2-2 set. At that point, we should likely be no worse than 6-6. The last full 4-game set should likely produce a 3-1 slate. That would leave us at 9-7 with two home games remaining against quality teams. Depending on how the season has shaped up (i.e., who is playing for their tourney lives at that point), a lot could happen. At worst, however, we’re now looking like a .500 team in conference. A win in either of those last two games OR a win in the B1G tourney gets us to 20 wins with an overall winning record in a power conference. That’s a tourney bid.

    The most important fact to realize for the fans going forward is that we will likely take a few losses here and there, but this team is already developing at a much faster rate than last year’s squad. Having undersized players learn how to rebound (and out-rebound), play with composure, and “win” only bodes well for the future. This team is already “very good” and it seemingly can only go “up” from here. There’s a lot to be excited about as a Hoosier fan.

  • Ole Man

    I like your 1-0 thinking.
    However, I do believe the road is a factor.
    IF that game had been called like a normal Big Ten game, yesterday, IU loses. No way the Ill big man fouls out or gets those over-the-back calls against him at home with normal Big Ten refs.

  • Gregory Spera

    That seventh game is at Maryland, not Rutgers. Big difference.

  • N71

    Updated, now I’m forced to say @ Purdue is a W.

  • Arch Puddington

    The “Don’t be a Debby Downer” mob will show up at my doorstep for this, but on paper — please note, I say “on paper” — the next 7 games look much more like 2-5 than 5-2. Michigan and Rutgers are the only two games in that stretch in which we would be the strong favorite. In order to win 5 games, we would have to beat Maryland at home, then go 2-2 on the road against 3 of the 4 top teams in the conference (other than IU, as per the Power Rankings).

    Is that possible? Sure. But the two road victories we are rightly excited about have come against bottom-half teams with key starters out (and yes, I know that we, too, have missing players, but Perea played against Nebraska without their starting center, and Illinois is missing arguably its best two players, not unlike if we had Perea and DD back but lost Yogi and Blackmon). We have done well so far, better than predicted by me or anyone else, but none of our wins thus far have been as impressive as any of the 5 upcoming tough games would be.

    I personally would take 3-4 out of this stretch in a heartbeat. That would mean winning both games we are supposed to win and pulling off one upset against a team favored to beat us. With 4-2 very doable down the stretch, that gets us to 11-7 in the conference and into the tournament for sure. Nothing ever goes according to the script, of course, but that is what the script look like to me at this point.

  • sd chuck

    I did the same, mine a little different as I did pick 3-1 start, 2-2, 2-2, 3-1, 1-1=11-7, looking for top 6 finish, remember preseason picked 10th by writers, anything better than 11-7 and they are working on seeding, have seen lots of improvement with this team, turnovers, rebounding, defense, still room for more. Huge game Thur, but not the end of the world if we, you know. Hope the fans work as hard as the team on thur!

  • Kyl470

    I like that mindset. The most important game of the season is the next game. Then after that game the most important game of the season is the next game. And so on and so on. Each game is its own unique challenge.

  • sean

    Just once: an 80-68 Maryland win on 12/1/2009 as part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. I had already forgotten that game, but, well, I’m sure lots of us have allowed the details of those years to slip from memory.

    Interestingly, we are also 2-0 all time on their home floor: back-to-back wins in 1933 and 1934. Let’s keep the “streak” rolling this year!

  • Gregory Spera

    Not counting my proverbial chickens just yet. But we are so far ahead of the game at 4-1, that just 6-7 the rest of the way would have us finishing 10-8 and winning 20 games overall. Amazing.

  • And One

    Shoot, I knew that… Thanks, Sean!

  • pbhuff

    I think our loss of Hanner is bigger than their loss of Rice. Not saying that Hanner is anywhere near the player, but Illinois has legitimate backups for that position

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m 100% with you on that. The goal/expectation for me this season was for this team to make the tournament. Get in the Dance and anything is possible. After our mostly successful non-conference season, I was thinking that IU needed to finish at least 10-8 to have realistic hopes of making the tournament (any bubble talk is contingent on who we beat, who we lose to and what the teams around us are doing but…in a vacuum, I thought 10-8 was a good baseline). So far, we are ahead of pace and I’m thrilled with that. Going 3-4 over the next 7 games would keep us on pace.

    Would I be happy with it? Moderately. I wouldn’t be satisfied or thrilled but my goal preseason (which doesn’t matter to anyone but me) was to make the tournament so I won’t start moving goalposts now.

  • Old Hoosier

    Where was the 1981 tournament game with Maryland played? If I remember correctly, that game went pretty well.

  • VAHoosier

    On the bright side, the final 6 are far less challenging. 4 of them at home, and the two road games are Rutgers and NW. We could very well finish 5-1, maybe even 6-0, if we stay healthy and continue to improve. A strong finish will bode well with the selection committee.

  • And One

    We won the Mideast Regional that year, but played Maryland in the second round before the venue switched to AH for the regional semifinals and finals.

  • VAHoosier

    I hope you’re right about continuing our streak at Maryland. I’ll be at the game in College Park this year. I’m prepared for disappointment, but would be so very pleased to walk out of there with a smile.

  • Arch Puddington

    Whether Perea or Rice is a bigger loss is a fair question, but Rice isn’t their only loss. They lost Abram, their starting PG and second leading scorer from last year, before the season started. We have lost two bigs, which is a serious loss for a team with a thin front line, but they have lost the rough equivalent of Yogi and JBJ. Yesterday’s win was impressive, as any B1G road win is, and the team is in great shape. But beating Illinois with its two best players out is not the same as playing Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, or Maryland on the road and at full strength. I think it will be great if we manage to win even one of those games.

  • sean

    As a Hoosier living in exile in Minneapolis for the last 3 years, I know those emotions all too well.

  • Arsdale

    The game was in Dayton and we won 99-64 against a Maryland team with future NBAers Buck Williams and Albert King. I think we were down 10-0 or something at the start. One of the funnest games to watch as an IU fan in my memory. We steamrolled everyone we played in the tournament that year.

  • phaluska

    same…

  • SCHoosier

    Maryland is the real deal. They have a vet in Wells to keep things steady….Trimble is an outstanding freshman PG..and the kid that really concerns me is Layman..6-9 forward/guard who can do it all..well. Also have a big blab of a guy (Dimont) at 6-11..and a bench to support the others. Not sure it matters that MD hasn’t been at A-Hall before. They played in all the tough ACC venues and won. Gonna take the Hoosiers best effort..but I like our chances.

  • Joe Pop

    I get your point but Illinois also had a great shooting day and played really well, I don’t think rice makes them play that much better yesterday. If they were clearly struggling to score the loss of rice could be pointed to but not in yesterday’s game, imo.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I going to say something that will probably get a lot of disagreement. Because I’m a Hoosier fan living in Lafayette I end up watching a lot of PUke games on TV just so I can root against them and know what’s going on. Here’s what I think about PUke’s team this year:

    They match up well with teams who have other bigs and will upset some teams like that. I actually think their biggest strength (size) will hurt them as much as it will help them against IU and here’s why: PUke has two incredibly big, but also incredibly slow big men who almost NEVER play together. When one of them is on the floor against a team like IU, it’s going to be hard for IU to stop them. However, neither Hammons or the reincarnation of Ivan Drago can guard CH, TW, or even Holt! They’ll go right around them and pull them away from the basket. If they are drawn away from the basket they’ll get in foul trouble (at least at IU – nothing will be called outside of a double homicide at PUke) and they’ll also leave the lane open for slashers like Troy and James to get to the basket for offensive rebounds. We may struggle man-to-man to stop them, but Haas is a terrible foul shooter and Hammons isn’t much better.

    I think IU will give up a few offensive rebounds and some points per possession to PUke but I think we’ll also have a ton of open looks and offensive rebound opportunities. If IU is hitting from the outside like they “should” they’ll beat PUke in Bloomington. I wouldn’t expect the Lakers to beat them at Mackey because Haas and Hammons will be allowed to rape opposing players and nothing will be called.

    P.S. – I hate PUke, pUKe, and Illinoying and we’ve beaten one of the road and thank God we don’t play pUKe this year!

  • Mr. Mitchell

    Wish I could up vote you several times

  • Hoosier4life67

    Thank you Arch. Now I don’t have to type to much. You summed it up for me pretty good. I expect a 2-5 but will be happy for anything better than that.

  • Arch Puddington

    Interesting points. I haven’t seen even one minute of the Boilers this year, so I will defer to your assessment. Egwu looked completely lost against a small, mobile lineup, and while Hammons will steamroll Hartman or anyone else on offense, he will not enjoy having to guard a player who can hit three point shots.

  • IUBizmark

    Love this writeup! Laughed pretty hard at the Ivan Drago comment.

    What if they play zone. I know they have gone back to man this year, but what if?

    Also, I don’t understand why Painter wouldn’t play the two giants at the same time and play zone. With those two down low protecting the paint, that would allow their guards to stay out on the 3 point line all day. Only thing left would be for teams to take the mid-range jumper.

  • Bill

    Interesting that in the article ” biggest flaws of top 25 teams” over half had rebounds per game listed. Most over the 100 rank in college basketball overall.

    Looks like IU isn’t the only top team lacking size.

  • EdgarAllenPoor

    I never know what to expect from this team although they have won on the road and they have come back after falling behind. The Maryland game will be interesting on many levels and hopefully give a good indication of where IU really stands in the Big 10. Goodness knows that the next seven games represent a real challenge for this team.
    I am hoping for the best.