Big Ten Power Rankings: February 9

  • 02/09/2015 10:24 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week, as Wisconsin has pulled away with a three-game lead while the next six teams in the standings each have four losses.

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

14. Northwestern (10-13, 1-9, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 14) The Wildcats’ losing streak stretched to nine games this past week after losses on the road to Nebraska and Wisconsin. The two losses, though, were unlike their previous six — in that each were by double-digit margins. They also included two of their three worst defensive performances thus far this Big Ten season — with top five Big Ten offenses Iowa and Michigan State looming on the schedule this week.  (Next up: Feb. 10 vs. Michigan State; Feb. 15 vs. Iowa)

13. Rutgers (10-15, 2-10, PPP: .90, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (Last week: 13) When their losing streak was at six games after a loss at Indiana, Scarlet Knights coach Eddie Jordan said he was used to leading losing teams. They have yet to find that elusive win — losing their two games this past week by double digit margins to both Illinois and Ohio State. Most notable about the Scarlet Knights’ struggles, though, has been their offense. Just how bad is it? Their points per possession rate is the second worst in league play dating back to the 2004-2005 season. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Purdue)

12. Penn State (15-9, 3-8, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 12) They did not have great offense in either of their two games this past week, with just .85 points per possession against Maryland and a 25.8 percent turnover rate against Nebraska, but the Nittany Lions split results and have three wins in their past five after their 0-6 start to Big Ten play. Their defense in their win against Nebraska was stellar, too — as they forced the Cornhuskers into shooting a dreadful 15-of-51 from the floor. (Next up: Feb. 11 at Ohio State; Feb. 14 vs. Maryland)

11. Nebraska (13-10, 5-6, PPP: .94, PPP Allowed: .99) (Last week: 11) After two poor offensive outings in the week prior, the Cornhuskers in their two games this past week had near polar-opposite performances. In a win against Northwestern, they shot a 74.4 eFG% and came up with 1.32 points per possession — their best offensive output under Tim Miles. They followed that with a 56-43 loss at Penn State — managing to set their season-worst offensive performances (in points per possession) in back-to-back weeks. So which is the real Nebraska? Well, neither — but it has posted at least 1.00 points per possession in just four of their 11 Big Ten games this season. (Next up: Feb. 10 vs. Wisconsin; Feb. 15 at Purdue)

10. Minnesota (15-9, 4-7, PPP: 1.01, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 10) The Golden Gophers had just one game this past week — a 62-58 win against Purdue — but in it they showed the keys to their success this season. First, the leading Big Ten team in forcing turnovers created 23 Purdue give-aways. Second, the league’s No. 3 defense got stops when they needed it — as a 21-2 run put the Boilermakers out of contention despite a late-game comeback. They have won two straight games and three of their past four now, however a tough schedule — that includes two games against Wisconsin — remains. (Next up: Feb. 12 at Iowa; Feb. 15 at Indiana)

9. Michigan (13-11, 6-6, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (Last week: 7) With Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. — two of their three double-digit scorers — sidelined with foot injuries, the biggest question the Wolverines have faced is where does the scoring come from? In a 72-54 loss to Iowa on Thursday, the Wolverines took 24 3-point attempts and made just seven. In fact, they took more 3s than they did 2s — despite shooting better than 50 percent inside. And in a 70-67 loss at Indiana, the Wolverines simply did not have the scoring consistency to match the Hoosiers. They recorded better than one point per possession in each game — but against high-powered offenses like the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers have, they couldn’t match either. (Next up: Feb. 12 at Iowa)

8. Illinois (16-8, 6-5, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (Last week: 9) The Fighting Illini are slowly climbing back into the NCAA tournament conversation having won their two games this past week at home against Rutgers and on the road at Michigan State. The win in East Lansing was especially significant — as they allowed the Spartans to shoot just 38.5 percent from the floor on their home court. It also was just their second win on the road this season in seven games. And remember: The Fighting Illini are doing this all without guards Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby, who are recovering from injuries and remain suspended. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Michigan; Feb. 15 at Wisconsin)

7. Michigan State (15-8, 6-4, PPP: 1.05, PPP Allowed: .97) (Last week: 4) … They had nearly a week to prepare for Illinois, but when it came to game time on Saturday against the Fighting Illini, the Spartans fell short — to the tune of their lowest points output of the season. Their 38.5 percent shooting rate was poor — but even worse was their 7-for-18 mark from the free throw line. It had Spartans coach Tom Izzo “really ticked off” after the game, and he also called his team’s performance one of his more disappointing losses, especially after holding a depleted Illinois side to less than a point per possession and a 41.2 field goal percentage. (Next up: Feb. 10 at Northwestern; Feb. 14 vs. Ohio State)

6. Indiana (17-7, 7-4, PPP: 1.12, PPP Allowed: 1.14) (Last week: 6) By no means have they been convincing, but the Hoosiers find themselves tied for second place in the Big Ten with just seven games to go. Tuesday’s loss at Wisconsin was bad — the Badgers’ 92 points were the most the Hoosiers have allowed against a Big Ten team in more than four years — but they responded on Sunday with a 70-67 win over Michigan. Even then, however, they allowed a late flood of Wolverines points that nearly cost the Hoosiers a win. That said, though, the Hoosiers have found ways to win in close games this season. And that has them in position for an NCAA tournament bid this season. (Next up: Feb. 11 at Maryland; Feb. 15 vs. Minnesota)

5. Maryland (19-5, 7-4, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 3) Away from College Park, the Terrapins look lost. Case in point: On Sunday in Iowa City, the Terps fell behind to Iowa, 22-3, before going on to lose, 71-55. That’s also coming off 19-point and 24-point losses to Indiana and Ohio State on the road, as well. Maryland hasn’t lost in College Park, however, since Dec. 3 against a top-5 Virginia squad — most recently holding off Penn State this past Wednesday. The schedule is favorable for the Terps in their next five as four will be played at home in the Xfinity Center. (Next up: Feb. 11 vs. Indiana; Feb. 14 at Penn State)

4. Purdue (15-9, 7-4, PPP: 1.04, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 5) … It came inside Mackey Arena, but Purdue’s win over a surging Ohio State on Wednesday served as proof: The Boilermakers are a team to contend with in the Big Ten this season. They got to the free throw line. They were a presence inside. They forced turnovers. It all led to a 60-58 win. In Minneapolis three days later, the Boilermakers’ four-game win streak came to an end — as the Golden Gophers’ 21-2 second half run was too much for Purdue to overcome. But despite being predicted to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings, here the Boilermakers are — tied for second in the league. (Next up: Feb. 12 at Rutgers; Feb. 15 vs. Nebraska)

3. Iowa (15-8, 6-4, PPP: 1.13, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 8) This past week, the “good” Hawkeyes were on display. After losing their past three, they went into Ann Arbor on Thursday and exploded for 1.38 points per possession and a 72-54 win. And then on Sunday against Maryland, they overwhelmed the Terrapins from the start in a 71-55 win. The offense has always been there for the Hawkeyes, but here is the more telling statistic from their two wins this week: Those games were their two best defensive performances in more than a month. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Minnesota; Feb. 15 at Northwestern)

2. Ohio State (18-6, 7-4, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (Last week: 2) Despite losing at Purdue this past Wednesday, the Buckeyes remain at No. 2 following Sunday’s win at Rutgers. Winning on the road in this league is never easy — road teams in Big Ten play have the worst winning percentage out of any league in the country — and the Buckeyes fell just short of that against the Boilermakers. But they rebounded with a 19-point win in Piscataway — one that included the Buckeyes’ fourth triple double in program history and first ever from a freshman. Who did it? None other than D’Angelo Russell, who finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the win. (Next up: Feb. 11 vs. Penn State; Feb. 14 at Michigan State) 

1. Wisconsin (21-2, 9-1, PPP: 1.28, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (Last week: 1)  The Badgers continue to roll, with two wins this past week over Indiana and Northwestern in Madison. But perhaps what’s even more impressive about their run of dominance atop the league is that they’re even outpacing their offensive efficiency ratings from the non-conference season — the only Big Ten team to do so this season and the first since the Badgers did it in the 2010-2011 season. In fact, the Badgers’ overall adjusted offensive efficiency per possession mark this season is on track to being the highest KenPom.com has ever tracked — dating back to the 2001-2002 season. (Next up: Feb. 10 at Nebraska; Feb. 15 vs. Illinois)

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  • Eastwood88_2

    Again spot on. Iowa is playing great. OSU has the best player in the conference. Yes better than frank. Indiana is number six at best.

  • N71

    I don’t see much difference between #2 to #7, they’re all pretty good, Wisconsin is a head above. I’m still not sold on Purdue but that may be due to my being an IU grad. Its not their post play, its guard play that seems suspect. I still have high regard for Maryland as well although they have 4 losses. They just got buzz sawed a couple time but that happened to us as well at MSU, kinda par for the course if you ask me. Sure would be interesting to see Kentucky play a Big Ten schedule.

  • Eastwood88_2

    Kentucky would have a min of two losses. The sec sucks.

  • Jim Miller

    2-7 all seem like the same teams to me. They are pretty good to great at home and bordering on unwatchable at times on the road. The B1G tourney should be entertaining to see how the fight goes for second and who gets a chance to try to upset the Badgers. I dont have any hopes of the conference as a whole doing anything in the NCAA, except the Badgers of course.

  • sd chuck

    Watch Iowa, on paper we are the tuffest game they have left, don’t really know about Maryland, didn’t see a great pre-conference schedule, Ohio St has a tough schedule left, as does Mich St, ours gets easier, of course this is all just looking at paper. It will be interesting.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’m not so sure our schedule is really going to be any easier… I’m concerned with Northwestern because they are a solid defensive team and pretty much anyone can score on us, not to mention it’s at Northwestern. Also, Minnesota is still a mystery to me. If we don’t take care of the ball against them it’s going to be ugly. We finish the season at home but it’s Iowa followed by Sparty. That’s no cake walk. Let’s hope we can steal this next one at Maryland and I’ll feel much better.

  • N71

    Watching Iowa has become increasingly difficult as they systematically work their way through the BigTen poking eyes out. I’ve already ordered a pair of these for Yogi so he can continue to drive the lane against the Hawkeyes:

  • sd chuck

    Yes that would be a concern, even though Fran thinks it’s nothing. Iowa is exactly the kind of team we have had trouble with, big front line.

  • Drew

    Does Purdue have the easiest schedule in the Big 10? Good Lord. I feel like they play all their games against good teams at home.

  • All I care about is that Kentucky ends up with at least one loss this season. I don’t care when or where, or even if they win the NCAA, as long as they don’t go undefeated.

  • Kyl470

    Woodbury is an eye poking machine. All accidental of course.

  • VAHoosier

    The answer is “yes,” Purdue’s schedule is a joke this year. Michigan’s started very easy but will toughen-up down the stretch.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    of course, just ask their coach (i.e. the coach of the iowa poke-eyes)!

    sorry, turrible joke.

  • Khoosier3

    Northwestern has always seemed to get the best of us. I have no idea why either. Its kind of depressing.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Purdue’s schedule isn’t that tough.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Down B1G basketball year….B1G will see very tough opponents NCAA opening weekend. ..will be lucky to get 7 bids.

  • Eastwood88_2

    At msu, OSU and Indiana…I call that tough

  • INUnivHoosier

    Don’t ask him that. It’s not an intelligent question.

    BECAUSE I SAID SO.

  • marcusgresham

    Here’s something that may come into play with Maryland that no one else has mentioned. The article states that they look lost away from home but have only lost there to Virginia. Every conference road game Maryland has played is in a totally unfamiliar environment; the opposite comes into effect for B1G playing at College Park.
    Their only home loss? Yes, Virginia is a very good team, but until this season it was also a conference foe and the Cavs have played there before.

  • SCHoosier

    MN hasn’t bee hitting outside shots..they did this past week. (Andre Hollings in particular)

  • SCHoosier

    It WAS accidental..both times he as aiming at their Adams Apple):

  • SCHoosier

    Maybe but I’m glad the B-10 isn’t playing an ACC schedule this year.!!

  • Mack

    NO, Look at Wisconsin. They play single series with Mary, IU, Mich St., OSU, PU, ILL, and Mich. Incredible. They’ve played one difficult road game so far–Iowa.

  • Hoosierkamp

    Big ten won the ACC challenge…. the leagues are closer than rankings appear…

  • Hoosierkamp

    I think you will be surpised…. Big ten teams were beating up on ACC teams in the challenge….. a couple weird losses have hurt the conference , but it is good still

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    But look at the other games: @ Rutgers, home vs. NE, home vs. Rutgers, home vs. IL — those are all probable wins for the BoilerWankers.

  • yimyames

    You mean, all 3 times.

  • calbert40

    I was thinking that the other day too. So far, their B1G road games have been UW, PSU, ILL, NW, Minny. Now, I believe that all road games in the B1G are challenging, but other than UW, that is not Murderer’s Row. They play at Rutgers this week, and then it gets tougher. IU, OSU and MSU all on the road. Home dates left with Neb, RU and ILL.

  • Guyton25

    Ya I kinda think Mary will take their frustrations out on us.. especially after getting man-handled @ Iowa. But then again.. Maryland hasn’t looked good in any of the last 5 games (starting with our game with them).

  • Apoc

    Even in a down year they pulled out the Big Ten ACC challenge and seven bids is pretty good…thats half the conference. Not too shabby in a down year.

  • Mack

    And Gonzo Gonzaga.

  • Mack

    Yes, they’re scratching their way up now that they’re through a difficult stretch. Real trouble for us, even at home. I hope we can get in their face!

  • That’s right there have been three of them. I think the b1G should get involved.

  • Yes, but how many of those have they actually played to-date?

  • Mack

    Yeah, I agree some what, but Maryland is mysterious to me right now, not firing away as before. Double digit loses (like us). I’d have to use a tie on this ranking. PU seems moving up. Loss to Minny wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t want to play up there, for sure. Glad they’re down here next week. Not going to be easy with them. They had a hellish schedule to open. Our chances are good for the tourney and would be even better if we’d had a better noncon schedule with just two or three mid majors in there like schools locally or regionally. I sure hope we don’t miss out b/c of those six 250 plus schools we had to play to make cash for the athletic program. Not good. Our schedule was better than last year, but cut those in half for next year and add someone from PAC or BIG 12, let’s beef up the schedule and play up to our potential more in the early going and leave all those little guys alone.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I wouldn’t want to play against IU, Maryland, OSU, purdue, or Iowa in the NCAA – any of those teams could knock off a 2 seed or lower come NCAA time. I’m not sure they can beat Wisconsin, Duke, Virginia or Kentucky …. But anyone else is possible.

    I’m not sold on MSU or Illinois …