The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the seventh week of conference play and as we move down the stretch, teams are fighting for Big Ten tournament and NCAA tournament seeding position as well as the league crown. Here’s a look at where each team stands after the seventh week of Big Ten play (Note: Points per possession numbers in parenthesis are for conference games only):
14. Rutgers (6-19, 0-12, .91 points per possession, 1.22 points per possession allowed) … Rutgers plays Illinois, Penn State and Minnesota in its next three games, so we’ll soon have just one winless team in league play.
13. Minnesota (6-19, 0-13, .96 points per possession, 1.13 points per possession allowed) … The Golden Gophers kept it close for a while against Iowa in Iowa City, but couldn’t pull off the upset. Minnesota has been a major disappointment in year three of the Richard Pitino era.
12. Illinois (11-14, 3-9, .97 points per possession. 1.07 points per possession allowed) … Illinois lost the battle of the state to Northwestern, but luckily for the Illini, they get Rutgers this week in Champaign.
11. Penn State (12-13, 3-9, .95 points per possession, 1.10 points per possession allowed) … Penn State followed up its big win over Indiana by falling to Nebraska on the road. Averaging 64.9 points a game isn’t going to get it done most nights.
10. Nebraska (14-12, 6-7, 1.11 points per possession, 1.08 points per possession allowed) … Andrew White has been red-hot and led the way in Nebraska’s win against Penn State. The Cornhuskers just have that treading water feel, not terrible, but will be more dangerous when Shavon Shields returns.
9. Northwestern (17-9, 5-8, 1 point per possession, 1.06 points per possession allowed) … Northwestern remains solidly in the mix for an NIT bid and the Wildcats will have a big opportunity this week at Purdue to grab a statement win.
8. Ohio State (16-10, 8-5, 1.02 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … Talk about a team that is truly stuck in the middle of the conference. Ohio State is picking up wins against the bottom of the league, but hasn’t been able to anything against anyone near the top. It will have several chances though, with Michigan, Iowa and Michigan State (twice) all left on the slate.
7. Purdue (20-6, 8-5, 1.09 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … As it stands right now, I think the Big Ten gets seven teams in the NCAA tournament. Purdue falls to seventh in these rankings mostly because of what other teams did this past week, and that it lost to Michigan – the other team I was considering in this spot.
6. Michigan (19-7, 9-4, 1.11 points per possession, 1.07 points per possession allowed) … The Wolverines picked up two huge victories – a win over Purdue, and getting Caris LeVert back on the court. And well sure, they beat Minnesota too. But Michigan is a completely different team when LeVert is able to play and he’ll be getting into game shape at just the right time. It’s a big week for the Wolverines as they travel to Ohio State on Tuesday and Maryland on Saturday.
5. Wisconsin (16-9, 8-4, 1.08 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … Wisconsin stretched its winning streak to seven games after doing what no team has been able to do – beat Maryland on the road. The Badgers are hot, and there’s not a team in the league that would like to play them right now. A tough game is on the horizon this week as Wisconsin travels to Michigan State on Thursday.
4. Indiana (20-6, 10-3, 1.13 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … Indiana did what it needed to do this week to stay in control of its Big Ten title hopes. Winning in East Lansing is a difficult task and the win over Iowa was much more important in terms of the standings. IU must continue to win at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers look like a decent bet to reenter the polls this afternoon.
3. Maryland (22-4, 10-3, 1.06 points per possession, .96 points per possession allowed) … Maryland played Bowie State and Wisconsin this week both at home and split, which is not what the Terps were looking for. Maryland’s Big Ten title hopes will likely come down to being able to win games at Purdue and Indiana along with hoping Iowa loses again.
2. Michigan State (21-5, 8-5, 1.16 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … Michigan State is just an all-around impressive team. Denzel Valentine might be the best player in the entire country and had he not gotten hurt, MSU might not have more than three losses and still be No. 1. There’s a good chance the Spartans win out in the regular season and well, you already know this group is a Final Four contender.
1. Iowa (20-5, 11-2, 1.14 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … The Hawkeyes couldn’t get it done at Assembly Hall, but then again, nobody has this year. It’s tough to hold that loss against them too much. Iowa will get another shot at IU on March 1 and you can bet that the Hawkeyes will be looking to avenge their disappointing performance in Bloomington.
Filed to: Big Ten Power Rankings