Big Ten Power Rankings: February 22

  • 02/22/2016 9:15 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the eighth week of conference play and the field of contenders for the league crown is beginning to thin. 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 (6-21, 0-14, .91 points per possession, 1.20 points per possession allowed) … Still winless, still unwatchable. It’s been five games since Rutgers lost by less than 10, when it lost by nine in triple overtime to Illinois. Road trips to Minnesota and Northwestern are up next for Eddie Jordan and company.

13. Minnesota (7-19, 1-13, .96 points per possession, 1.11 points per possession allowed) ... And the wait is over! Minnesota beat Maryland to pick up win number one in the Big Ten. Even better news for Minnesota, it gets to play Rutgers next.

12. Illinois (12-15, 4-10, .98 points per possession, 1.06 points per possession allowed) … Illinois picked up a win over lowly Rutgers, and then blew a 13-point lead and lost at Wisconsin. With a new athletic director in place, how much of a leash does John Groce have? The Illini play host to Indiana and Minnesota this week.

11. Northwestern (17-10, 5-9, 1 point per possession, 1.07 points per possession allowed) … At this point Northwestern is fighting for an NIT berth. Michigan and Rutgers will be the competition this week, before Penn State and Nebraska next week. So there are certainly opportunities for a few more wins. Beating Michigan in Ann Arbor would be a nice boost for Chris Collins and his squad.

10. Nebraska (14-14, 6-9, 1.09 points per possession, 1.08 points per possession allowed) … Nebraska dropped a winnable game at home to Ohio State in overtime and Shavon Shields missed his fourth straight game due to concussion symptoms. Without Shields, it’ll tough for the Cornhuskers to win any games of consequence. They’ll play Penn State this week.

9. Penn State (14-13, 5-9, .97 points per possession, 1.08 points per possession allowed) … Indiana fans breathed a sigh of relief as the Nittany Lions closed out another upset, this time over Iowa. Pat Chambers has done a nice job keeping his team engaged and not folding in the final stretch. Three of Penn State’s final four games are very winnable as the Nittany Lions still host Nebraska, Illinois and Northwestern. The Cornhuskers and a road trip to Michigan State await the Lions this week. Surprisingly, I don’t think the NIT is out of reach.

8. Ohio State (18-10, 10-5, 1.02 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … Ohio State has quietly built up a strong conference record. The problem is it hasn’t beaten anyone. The Buckeyes best win is over Michigan this past week in Columbus. It would take at least two wins against a brutal close to the regular season plus a strong showing in the Big Ten tournament to get on the right side of the bubble. Home games against Michigan State and Iowa are on the schedule this week before closing on the road in East Lansing.

7. Michigan (19-9, 9-6, 1.10 points per possession, 1.o8 points per possession allowed) … Michigan is in danger. Squarely on the bubble, the Wolverines couldn’t pull off an upset at Maryland and will now likely have to win two of three to get in the big dance. The best chances for those wins come this week against Northwestern and Wisconsin, as Iowa looms to close out the regular season. There’s been talk of Michigan shutting down Caris LeVert, which would be a huge blow to postseason success chances.

6. Purdue (21-7, 9-6, 1.10 points per possession, 1.02 points per possession allowed) … Purdue struggles on the road, and it showed as Indiana beat down its rival until a late run made it look close. The Boilermakers rely a lot on their big men, and when the inside scoring and presence defensively isn’t there, they’re going to struggle to shoot their way back into a game. Maryland comes to West Lafayette on Tuesday for a matchup that is huge for both teams.

5. Wisconsin (17-10, 9-5, 1.07 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … The Badgers were not able to keep their winning streak alive at Michigan State, but got back on track with a win over Illinois. After looking like a team with no shot at the NCAA Tournament early in the year, Greg Gard has things figured out and many experts believe Wisconsin can sneak in. Iowa (road) and Michigan (home) await the Badgers this week.

4. Maryland (23-5, 11-4, 1.05 points per possession, .97 points per possession allowed) … Maryland flopped against Minnesota and it might cost the Terrapins a piece of the Big Ten regular season title. Michigan then gave Maryland a scare before the Terps were able to close it out 86-82. That loss to Minnesota is what keeps them down at four in these rankings, despite their great overall record. I haven’t seen the consistency I’d like to out of a team with as much talent as Maryland.

3. Iowa (20-6, 11-3, 1.14 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … Iowa hit a bit of a rough patch after losing to Indiana as the Hawkeyes narrowly beat Minnesota at home before falling to Penn State in State College. The road ahead isn’t a whole lot easier with a home game against Wisconsin this week followed by a trip to Ohio State. Something Iowa does have going for itself is its home court advantage. The Hawkeyes haven’t lost at home yet this season.

2. Indiana (22-6, 12-3, 1.15 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … The Hoosiers shutdown Purdue in a game that posed some tough match-ups inside. Yogi Ferrell appears to be out of his shooting slump and Troy Williams could be the ultimate kick-starter if he plays like he did against Nebraska and Purdue the rest of the way. That’s asking a lot, but if Robert Johnson misses any time, it will be needed. IU must get by Illinois this week.

1. Michigan State (22-5, 9-5, 1.15 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … No one is hotter in the Big Ten right now than MSU. Denzel Valentine is cruising, and the Spartans easily took down Wisconsin in East Lansing – snapping the Badgers seven-game winning streak. Tom Izzo’s team should finish the regular season with four more wins over Ohio State (x2), Rutgers and Penn State, and could be a No. 1 seed in the big dance without winning the conference.

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  • bleeding crimson

    You also have to keep in mind the foul trouble that our players get into…just like against pooodooo, we had several players with 3-4 fouls and they were playing as such. And that goes for many games during the season esp on the road.

  • b_side

    Caveat that we’d need a healthy RJ. Otherwise, I don’t see it happening.

  • calbert40

    There is, but you have to be a paying customer. I am not!

  • calbert40

    1) I don’t think they should have “nothing” to do with the award. If Pitino had taken this year’s Minny team to 9-9 in the B1G, he probably would have deserved it, because his team so overwhelmingly outpaced expectations. On the whole, I agree with you, but I think there are exceptions to that rule.

    1a) When a team wins the B1G regular season and tourney titles, wins 30+ games, is a #1 seed in the NCAA, a Top 5 team all season long, the coach wins the COY, because his team lived up to insanely high expectations. Sometimes, it is harder to live up to expectations than it is to exceed them, depending upon where you started out. Look at Maryland. They were supposed to be this year’s Wisky, but they haven’t lived up to those expectations.

    2) Agreed.

    3) Disagree. Most people wouldn’t agree with that for POY or FrOY. Valentine should win POY this year, IMO, but MSU isn’t going to win the B1G. He is easily the best player in the league, IMO. I don’t think anyone would have too much issue if Uthoff or Yogi won it, but Valentine should.

    As with my example above, everyone knew Minny was going to stink, but if he had them above .500 in B1G play, I think he’d get a lot of votes for COY. So far as this year is concerned, I think the only options are Fran and Crean…with Gard as deserving of 3rd place votes. I think this year it will come down to who wins the title, but it doesn’t always have to work that way.

  • IULore

    Anyone who thinks UK is better than IU should have their heads examined. They lost to an unranked and over rated team, then IU beat a very good top 20 team. Really? Not to mention IU is leading the BIG TEN! With wins over Iowa, Purdue, Wisc, and at Michigan. Ridiculous. If UK played in the BIG they would be 8-6.

  • bleeding crimson

    Never said anything about JBJ when we lost. It’s just a fact that the NCAA looks at how teams are playing during the end of the season. For example if we come in 1st or 2nd for the reg season and come in 1 or 2nd in the B1G tourney, and if we tie the reg season and do well in the B1G T., then they will go back and look at the earlier season which will reflect on how those teams are doing currently. It’s just like MSU w/out Mr. V, they were and having been doing very good when he’s in the game and if the continue to play well the rest of the season than the preseason really doesn’t matter, except for seeding.

  • The point is that CTC put the pieces in place. Sure, different players have diferent skillsets, and it’s up to the coach to first put them in the right positions and then develop them to be more effective in different ways. You’re not taking anything away from CTC for sure, but rather enhancing my point–CTC has always been good at player development, as you say. This year, he also did a good job with the players he has. That’s been particularly true in the B1G, and CTC deserves a ton of credit for it.

  • Eddie Shrote

    hell no we can’t beat top teams without Yogi! Have you seen the teams with less than all American caliber guards?? they struggle

  • IULore

    Right. If IU wins the outright conf champ, and tourney champ, they would be 28-6 and a lock for a #1 seed. That probably won’t happen, but I think they could get a #3 seed with a strong finish.

  • IULore

    IU would be 28-6 with two titles if they won out. That’s a one seed in any power conference. The only knock on IU is that people dont think they are “tested” that would be solved by winning both BIG titles. A 3 seed for winning out is laughable.

  • marcusgresham

    Man, I don’t know if Rutgers could win the GLVC.

  • marcusgresham

    I bet Hammons would clean Chris Washburn’s clock in a spelling bee.

  • IULore

    start colin at the 2

  • marcusgresham

    I think after your 6th season of college you should be ineligible for POY–Valentine has played at least twice that long hasn’t he?

  • marcusgresham

    It felt far less embarrassing after they did the same thing to Iowa though.

  • IULore

    I remember AJ Guyton and him going at it. Along with Aaron Craft.

  • marcusgresham

    That’s just being fair to the rest of the league because, really, is it fair to anyone to force them to spend a Saturday afternoon in Iowa?

  • marcusgresham

    I’d just let that be determined by his health. If he’s OK to go let him go, but if it’s borderline let him rest.
    Has there been ANY word at all on the injury?

  • marcusgresham

    We also have a pair of seniors from Illinois. That has to help in some way.

  • I agree with you.. In fact we actually looked better against them than did Iowa.. At least we we’re in the game in te first half.. we ended up losing by a similar margin, but we probably played them better than the Hawkeyes.
    Can you imagine, if Yogi’s last second shot at Wisky had gone in and we hadn’t folded at PSU.. we’d be looking so good, even with the loss to Sparty.

  • BL

    1. Wouldn’t give COY to 9-9 coach.
    1A. That’s my 3. If Mary finished 1st and Iowa 2nd, I’d go with McCaffery.
    3. Different for players; lot of different stats come into play.

    Don’t the coaches vote on the award? If they do, I think they’ll generally favor the BIG winner. Will want to be treated fairly when they win.

  • ForeverIU

    And it’s awarded by a crap burger joint that’s poisoning the very same kids it’s giving recognition to.

  • Bill Graham

    I think you make a good case Tom, but for me it goes to Fran. Smashing Wichita St by 23, beating MSU (twice and one of those times by 17 on the road), beating PU on the road, home wins against Michigan, PU, and Northwestern, and then only losing to ISU by 1 on the road. Fran and co did this with only one 4 star recruit in the past 3 years. Besides they only have one bad loss on their record (we have 5 on ours). Fran gets it.

  • Bill Graham

    Rutgers may be the worst team in any major conference… could they beat Boston College?…St Johns?…Washington St?…They sure as heck couldn’t beat TCU or Missouri….Heck I think Bachelor Middle School might give them a run for their money…

  • TomJameson

    Sandra, Arch reminded be of the pre-season rankings/expectations (15th overall and 4th in the B1G), but even that was brought down rather quickly after Maui and Duke. Even so, I never thought they would finish in the bottom tier of the B1G.

    To me anyway, IU defense is more than just “better than last year”. Last year ended with IU at 214th in adjusted defense and they are now 77th (they’ve actually gone down for a couple of games). There were TONS of folks that said to get within the top 100 of ADJD was nearly impossible … yet they did it. The offense has never been a problem.

    McDonald all American is a nice badge, and the other “star” ratings are okay, but none of that really means much in the jump to college BB. Some make it and some don’t. My point was that we’ve done without one of our proven scorers for a lot of this season.

  • calbert40

    Yeah, maybe the 9-9 Minny example wasn’t the best, but I think there are some situations where the COY is not nessarily the league champ. MLB offered a good example this year. Joe Maddon won NL MOY despite the Cubs finishing as the 2nd Wild Card. They didn’t win the division, or the NLCS, yet the voters recognized that Maddon took a 90 loss team to a 97 WIN team in one year. Impressive accomplishment. Go Cubs, BTW!!!!

    The AP and the coaches vote separately for POY, FrOY, All-Conference, DefPOY, etc. I think only the AP votes for COY, but I could be wrong.

  • They lost at Wisconsin with Valentine in the line up and they lost to Nebraska at home and then at Purdue, with him back in the lineup.. so three of the five were with him in the lineup.. True he had just come back and was having trouble getting started, but I think your facts are not accurate.

  • You are absolutely right. We really should’ve had them both.. but if we had gotten just one.. We would be in such good shape…

  • TomJameson

    First of all, I don’t give a lot of weight to the “star” rankings unless they come in as an elite 5-star that should be allowed to enter the NBA right away. But I’m not going to argue against Fran because, to a degree, I agree. Iowa plays good team basketball and emphasizes defense, and it’s paying off by ranking 37 in ADJD and 11 in ADJO (IU being 77/10 respectively).

    I merely think that the COY should go to the coach who has taken his team further (upward) than their expectations. For that reason I can’t argue against Iowa, not yet anyway.

    I think it is a shame, and a sham, when a coach whose team is expected to be in the top 2 actually gets to the top 2. Isn’t that just MEETING expectations? Now take a team that was expected to finish 7th (Iowa) and actually wins the B1G … well can’t argue that much.

  • BL

    Shoot cal, I wasn’t really disagreeing with your original comment. My main point was responding to others that seem to think our preseason ranking was golden and therefore, Coach’s work to date is essentially “at expectation”. I honestly thought our preseason ranking was laughable. Preseason, I was hoping TB would pan out and be contributing by the middle of the BIG season but I also thought we’d once again have no depth up front. When playing PU, TB would get in foul trouble and that would be that. I was expecting ’14-15 all over again.

    Preseason, I saw OG’s HS video and he definitely intrigued me but I was hoping he’d begin making a nice contribution in year 2 or three. Same thing with JM (MAYBE a Holt like freshman year). Like most, I was happy we signed MB but wasn’t expecting anything special. Hell, his coach let him go.

    Without MB/OG/JM, we might be slightly better than last year but clearly not a top 15 club. No way the pundits knew during preseason what Coach had pulled off with those three. From where I sit, what he’s accomplished to date is “outstanding”. Man, I hope RJ’s injury doesn’t dampen the party.

  • BL

    Make the award today, I’d go with Fran. If IU wins out, I’d go with Coach. Not sure if recruiting grades are considered when choosing a COY. I could go either way on that one. Fran definitely deserves high marks for recruiting Uthoff and Jok. Happy Coach prevented the trifecta by landing OG.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I think they could beat BC, BC had 2 points 8 minutes left in the first half. They are awful! Rutgers tries to be competitive

  • BL

    Can’t imagine having a season like that. I’m fairly certain their top two big men went down injured before the season began and recently they suspended their two best remaining players. Talk about a forum blowing up.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    In my totally biased opinion CTC gets the nod in front of Fran. If we win two out of the next 3. My argument is for this is:

    1. Two freshman OG and JM Getting those guys competitive is all coaching. TB was already a beast.

    2. His team could have folded after three awful losses Maui and Duke

    3. In game coaching has been very solid.

    4. Getting a top level offense to play defense

    5. We lost a lot when JBJ went down. Yes defense wasn’t great
    But he is pure shooter and an excellent rebounder

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I listed out most of the same things you said. Couldn’t agree more

  • calbert40

    Ah…gotcha. I agree with you!

  • Ole Man

    And yet, your post was deleted.
    Tut, tut, tut.

  • Ole Man

    Nah; just don’t tolerate “foolishness” gladly.
    He trolled me, so I let him have it.
    You’re fine. LOL! In fact, I rarely ever get mad at anyone, no matter how heated the Basketball discussion is.
    It’s when they get personal.

  • Cam

    Not my fault they can’t handle truth. And I got “personal” with you? Alright, I’m done here. It’s clear you can’t handle an opposing opinion. Have fun, “ole man.”

  • cooper

    I don’t think there has been any tournament where seeding will matter less. No one is great this year. It’s going to be all about getting hot at the right time. IU needs a draw where they can play teams who aren’t physical. If they do they do get some confidence and get hot.

  • Sandra Wilson

    So which player would you rather have as a Hoosier?…A McDonald’s All-American, a 4-star, a 3 star, or a lower rated recruit?….Sure, the ratings are not perfect, and there are other important things to consider, but they do mean something….S.A.T. scores aren’t fool proof either, but they tell you quite a bit about a potential student.

  • calbert40

    I certainly agree with you, but I’m as biased as you are. Fran has done a nice job this year. No one expected them to be competing for a B1G title, especially after some of their graduation losses last year (White, Olaseni and Oglesby). White was legitimately one of Iowa’s best players in the past 10 years. I really thought they might even struggle to make the NCAA field…not potentially be a #1 or #2 seed. Fran’s done a fantastic job this year.

    But I would lean Crean, at this point in time. As you mentioned, we’ve dealt with some in-season situations that Iowa has not, and Crean has adjusted beautifully, IMO. I think it is between those two guys, and whomever wins the B1G likely wins the COY.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    Just musing here, but isn’t part of coaching pulling in the right pieces via recruiting? Why penalize Crean for having performed “better” recruiting than Fran, including the most recent year? Crean also had to deal with and has (thus far) overcome some adversity like losing a #2 scorer and having atrocious defense. Of course, having atrocious defense DOES count against a coach…Iowa started out with some swagger and has maintained it, which is also a sign of good coaching.

  • Arch Puddington

    Yeah, the article is pretty blunt. I wasn’t looking to run TB down at all, because he has obviously been a huge addition to our team. But the massive upgrade in rim protection we hoped for has not quite materialized. He’s better than Perea, but he doesn’t block many shots, he gets in foul trouble quite frequently, and as the article points out, our opponents’ centers have been pretty productive against him. We are playing much better team defense than we have since the 2013 season, but it’s hard to be considered a “great” defense” without a skilled post defender who blocks a couple of shots per game and contests many others. TB just isn’t there yet.

  • TomJameson

    I understand the argument about being a gauge for all to use, but it’s not really a very good one. Oladipo is the extreme example of somebody breaking that mold, but there are plenty of others with similar circumstances. Until the ranking get really high, the top of the 5-stars, it really is a crap-shoot. In that vein, I’ll trust the instincts, knowledge, and experience of our head BB coach to assess the player;s talents.

    So, to answer your question directly … without me knowing a thing about the recruits I would rather have the 5-stars … but they don’t always work out with skill or temperament at that next level so I could very possibly be totally screwed.

  • IUMIKE1

    Not to mention that they were playing without the front runner for B1G player of the year when they were taking some of those losses. Pretty sure that the selection committee takes in to account how a team has played over the last third or so of the season as well, and I don’t think anybody will disagree that they have been clicking to say the least.

  • IUMIKE1

    I would venture to say that if one did the research it would show that Izzo did it without near as many highly recruited players as what Coach K had in that same time frame.

  • IUMIKE1

    I think they let him have Craft’s seventh year of eligibility when he finally called it quits.

  • IUMIKE1

    You and I are viewing this topic through the exact same lens.