Big Ten Power Rankings: January 2

  • 01/02/2017 10:27 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following a wild first week of conference play, and almost nothing is the same. Only 12 conference games have been played, yet 11 teams have already lost at least one conference game. 

Every team slotted between 2 and 6 in last week’s rankings took a loss this week while teams between 7 and 13 all recorded at least one win. Expect these rankings to change significantly in the weeks to come. As for now, here’s a look at where each team stands:

(Editor’s note: Points per possession numbers are full season. Once more conference games are played, conference-only numbers will be used.)

14. Rutgers (11-4, 0-2; 1.01 points per possession, 0.89 points per possession allowed; KenPom – 134, Sagarin – 109, RPI – 87) (Last Week: 14)

Death. Taxes. Rutgers in the Big Ten cellar.

13. Penn State (9-6, 1-1; 0.99 PPP, 0.94 PPP allowed; KenPom – 95, Sagarin – 87, RPI – 96) (Last Week: 12)

The Nittany Lions best wins of the season have come at home against Georgia Tech and on the road at St. John’s. Nothing else is even remotely impressive.

12. Ohio State (10-4, 0-1; 1.05 PPP, 0.89 PPP allowed; KenPom – 48, Sagarin – 50, RPI – 92) (Last Week: 6)

An underwhelming season for Thad Matta’s Buckeyes continued Sunday, as a lethargic first half led to a loss at Illinois even with JaQuan Lyle scoring a season-high 26 points.

The Buckeyes need to find at least one victory over an upcoming brutal three-game stretch (Purdue, at Minnesota, at Wisconsin) to avoid an 0-4 start to conference play.

11. Illinois (11-4, 1-1; 1.03 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 70, Sagarin – 68, RPI – 30) (Last Week: 9)

You could put all teams slotted 6-11 in just about any order and I’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise.

The Illini are 7-1 since a three-game skid early in non-conference play, with four of those wins coming against KenPom top 100 teams, including a home win against Ohio State. Not much, but after missing the postseason last season, it’s certainly progress.

10. Iowa (9-6, 1-1; 1.07 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom – 75, Sagarin – 76, RPI – 173) (Last Week: 11)

25 points from Peter Jok lifted the Hawkeyes past Michigan in overtime on Sunday, helping ease the pain of a 22-point loss to Purdue.

Iowa hit 11 of 19 threes against the Wolverines, with Jok making four of seven shots from deep. Jok has been the bulk of the Hawkeye’s offense all season, and Sunday marked the eighth game where he’s scored at least 20 points. The senior from West Des Moines is shooting a career high 41 percent from behind the arc this year. Iowa will need Jok to be his usual self Thursday in order to beat the streaking Cornhuskers.

9. Michigan (10-4, 0-1; 1.15 PPP, 0.93 PPP allowed; KenPom – 32, Sagarin – 29, RPI – 70) (Last Week: 4)

The Wolverines were just one in a long line of Big Ten teams to lose a late lead. With 9:46 remaining in Iowa City on Sunday, John Beilein’s squad lead by seven. A quick 7-0 Hawkeye spurt in a 2:15 span tied the game, allowing Iowa to force overtime.

Michigan is now 3-4 against KenPom top 100 teams and 0-3 against KenPom top 50 teams. The last time the Wolverines put together a complete performance against a quality team was a three-point home win against Texas nearly a month ago.

8. Maryland (13-2, 1-1; 1.06 PPP, 0.93 PPP allowed; KenPom – 59, Sagarin – 56, RPI – 18) (Last Week: 10)

Mark Turgeon’s Terps had a .500 week, trouncing Illinois before becoming the Cornhuskers latest victims. Melo Trimble, normally reliable in the clutch, faltered in the waning seconds of the loss, their first defeat to Nebraska since joining the Big Ten.

Much like Michigan, the Terrapins are a tough group to assess. Maryland is 4-2 against KenPom Top 100 but has yet to face a single Top 30 team. That will change on Jan. 10 when they host Indiana.

7. Northwestern (12-3, 1-1; 1.07  PPP, 0.91 PPP allowed) KenPom – 43, Sagarin – 42, RPI – 47) (Last Week: 5)

The Wildcats began their contest in East Lansing, scoring just nine points in the first 13 minutes, trailing by 19 before the game ever really began.

The anemic offense displayed on Friday can be fixed, but the lack of size can’t. The Wildcats have just one player over 6-foot-8, and against the Spartans, they were outrebounded by 16 while managing to block only a single shot.

The good news for Chris Collins’ bunch? Wins over Minnesota and Nebraska could put the Wildcats back on track to receive their first NCAA Tournament berth in school history.

6. Nebraska (8-6, 2-0; 0.98 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom – 81, Sagarin – 86, RPI – 69) (Last Week: 13)

The suddenly red hot Cornhuskers are the highest movers in our rankings, jumping up 7 spots after posting road upsets over both Indiana and Maryland.

Tai Webster and Glynn Watson Jr. scored a total of 80 points over the two wins, reviving an offense that was left for dead after a home loss to Gardner-Webb.

Now, just two weeks later, the tables have turned. A somewhat soft schedule ahead gives the Huskers a chance to build even more momentum.

5. Indiana (10-4, 0-1; 1.16 PPP, 0.92 PPP allowed; KenPom – 24, Sagarin – 24, RPI – 134) (Last Week: 2)

Much like Nebraska, the Hoosiers’ stock has taken a drastic turn. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, it’s in the exact opposite direction.

After a loss against Nebraska where Indiana turned it over a staggering 19 times, the Hoosiers were ice cold from the field in Indy on Saturday, shooting just 32 percent and looking flustered in a loss to Louisville.

If Indiana can’t get back on track, the Hoosiers could be out of the running for a second consecutive regular season crown before the students even return from winter break.

4. Minnesota (13-2, 1-1; 1.02 PPP, 0.87 PPP allowed; KenPom – 40, Sagarin – 33, RPI – 17) (Last Week: 7)

The Gophers proved they belong in the upper echelon of the conference by putting up two solid performances in thrilling overtime affairs. After blowing a 13-point halftime to Michigan State at home, Minnesota flew into West Lafayette and shocked Purdue behind 31 points from junior Nate Mason.

The real catalysts for Minnesota’s incredible turnaround from a disastrous 2015-16 season, though, are its handful of freshmen and transfers. Amir Coffey may not be a go-to scorer, but his perimeter defense, explosiveness, and willingness to facilitate have given the Gophers stability. Illinois State transfer Reggie Lynch has given their interior defense a presence it hasn’t had since Trevor Mbakwe.

3. Purdue (12-3, 1-1; 1.15 PPP, 0.86 PPP allowed; KenPom – 15, Sagarin – 11, RPI 45) (Last Week: 3)

The Boilermakers followed up a beatdown of the Hawkeyes with an overtime loss to the Gophers, falling behind by 13 early and never being able to fully recover despite another 20-20 game from Caleb Swanigan.

A recent area of concern for the Boilers is their carelessness with the basketball, as they turned it over 14 times in each of their first two conference contests. Failure to value possessions this week could lead to humbling results against Ohio State and Wisconsin.

2. Michigan State (10-5, 2-0; 1.01 PPP, 0.95 PPP allowed; KenPom – 46, Sagarin – 42, RPI – 39) (Last Week: 8)

Never doubt Tom Izzo.

Since being upset by Northeastern in East Lansing, the Spartans have won three straight, all against KenPom top 100 teams. When Miles Bridges finally returns to the lineup, he won’t be forced to carry the offensive load. That’s because fellow freshmen Nick Ward and Cassius Winston have grown exponentially in the seven games Bridges has been absent. Winston’s career high was nine before Bridges went down but is averaging 10.9 per game since, while Ward has scored in double-figures in each while shooting 64 percent from the floor.

1. Wisconsin (12-2, 1-0; 1.14 PPP, 0.86 PPP allowed; KenPom – 11, Sagarin – 12, RPI – 49) (Last Week: 1)

The Badgers only played once last week, thrashing Rutgers back on Dec. 27. Greg Gard’s team will come to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Tuesday riding an eight-game winning streak and with a full week of preparation.

(Photo credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America)

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  • Arch Puddington

    Whatever we think about long term prospects, in a “Power Ranking” sense Nebraska deserves to be ahead of IU.

  • NC Hoosier

    Nebraska has two conference road wins, one of which was against us. No way we should be ranked ahead of them.

  • Don Daiker

    Absolutely right, Arch!

  • Atlanta Chiefs

    No way we are in the top 5 in the Big Ten. Let’s get real. We are not just on the outside of the Big Ten title race, I’m not convinced that we’ll make the tournament. This team is a mess right now.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Before the big ten season my predictions were:
    UW 14-4 MINN 8-10
    PEE-U 13-5 OSU 8-10
    IU 13-5 IOWA 7-11
    MSU 12-6 ILL 7-11
    MARY 11-7 PSU 5-13
    MICH 10-8 RUT 4-14
    NORTH 10-8 NEB 4-14

    Now:
    UW 15-3 NORTH 9-9
    PU 13-5 OSU 9-9
    MSU 13-5 NEB 8-10
    MARY 11-7 ILL 7-11
    IU 11-7 IOWA 7-11
    MICH 10-8 PSU 4-14
    MIN 10-8 RUT 2-16

  • IUowns

    I feel you are in meltdown mode already. Watch how we win tomorrow night and get back in the top 20..

  • N71

    Nebraska at 8-10…I may be willing to give them at few more W’s at this point, they also won AT Maryland. Hell, if they can win at IU and Maryland they could go undefeated. I know that won’t happen but at IU and at Maryland, not bad.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    The game tomorrow against Wisconsin is a must win if IU wants to have a whiff of the top three this Big Ten season.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’m guessing they hit a wall mid season. Don’t think they will beat many of the good teams second half of bigten. Definitely a surprise and have seemed to have turned the corner after a bad pre sonference

  • JustInSports

    Indiana doesn’t belong in the Top 8.

  • Sandra Wilson

    It’s interesting that Nebraska was able to beat two of the four worst coaches in the B1G on their own floors, considering how bad they’ve been…..They have another, at home, next with Iowa…..They should be 3-0…..We, on the other hand, could very well be 1-3 after our first 4 games…..Hard to see us ranked ahead of them right now…..Things could, and probably will, change, but at this point I’d rank us 8th.

  • BMusic

    Hey, we’re a work in progress. It could be worse. We could have Thomas Bryant suspended indefinitely for tripping. We could be under sanctions for a prostitution thingy.

    We knew the PG thing was a question mark, so are the turnovers and directionless offense really should come as no surprise.

    We were all excited about OG’s growth, and the growth is there, but he’s still rough, draft boards aside, and nowhere near ready to be some kind of go-to guy. Heck, the guy has problems landing after a dunk.

    We all got excited after a couple of big wins, but all the talk of banners and final four runs was premature.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Absolute MUST WIN game tomorrow night to stop the bleeding and stay in the Big Ten race. A loss to Louisville isn’t horribly damaging but the home loss to Nebraska was really mind boggling. For a shred of optimism… I could see us being 7-2 or even 8-1 in the conference at the end of January. Wisconsin should be our toughest test, gotta win that one. Thomas has got to start playing like he can or the “Preseason B10 Player of The Year” won’t even make the 3rd team.

  • Guyton25

    I think it’s all downhill from here. We always suffer an embarrassing beat down when we’re highly ranked, and it’s usually right around another loss (like this season’s Nebraska loss) but then we get it together and usually blow out someone at home no one expected us to blow out and then only lose a couple more all season.

    I almost wish we weren’t ranked #25 this week. Our Crean teams don’t handle being ranked very well, and I want the team to have a “fresh restart” feel right now. As much as we like to think a top 25 ranking doesn’t mean anything, it certainly does to these young players.

  • Guyton25

    It’s so weird to see Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., and Maryland all not in the top 25 and only Maryland making a decent case for a ranking.

  • BMusic

    I could go on. JBJ is still JBJ, with all the good and bad that implies. TB is a big guy demanding the ball in the post, without a lot of back-to-the-basket moves in his arsenal. JM is a bright spot, but he’s basically a role player. I love these guys, but the team doesn’t have an identity yet. It would all start to make sense if RJ would up and have his Buddy Heild transformation already, but until that point, we’re a lot of talent in search of an organizing principle.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Turnovers have to be reduced. 16+ turnovers won’t win many games. I originally thought that they would win games by scoring 90 points a game and having 16+ turnovers. Turnovers must be reduced!!!!!!

  • I think the KU win really set the season off on the wrong foot, which is a really weird thing to be writing. I don’t think it’s just us fans who were snookered by that performance–I think the team got caught up in themselves a bit as well. Had they lost that game (as I fully expected), then perhaps the need for improvement would have been more pressing in their minds. I think they won that game, then beat up on UNC thanks to an incredible crowd, and considered themselves one of the de facto best teams in the country.

    Now, we can just hope that they realize how much needs to be fixed if they want to become one of even the best 20 teams in the country. They’ve been beaten every which way, and can be harboring no more delusions of grandeur. I just wonder which player–if any–is going to step up and drive that lesson home to the rest of the team.

  • As a salesperson, I was constantly reminded that you can only really be judged by what you’ve done lately. By that measure, we should be happy that we only turned it over three times in the second half against Louisville. Funny enough, I do think the team figured something out for a stretch in the second half, but couldn’t maintain it for the entire 20 minutes. That’s what’s so frustrating, I think–this team has shown what they _can_ do, and they’re just not doing it consistently.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Did we only have 3 turnovers in the second half? I thought we had 9. My bad if I missed that.

  • Yep. 11 in the first half, three in the second half. For about eight minutes in the second half, we were a very competitive team.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Got it and thanks for sharing that.

  • inLinE6

    If you beat both Kansas and UNC, and finish somewhere reasonable in B1G (at least 9-9 record), there’s no way it won’t make the dance, albeit a low seed.

  • Piker

    Yep but I predict a come back tomorrow.

  • Piker

    I’m still going 14 and 4 for IU but it’s only a game so 13 and 5 works

  • IUBizmark

    That Maryland team is not good. I’ll be surprised to see them inside the bubble by the end of the season.

  • IUBizmark

    Why is the offense directionless? I figured Crean would have us going through the post first since we have so many guys down there. Instead he’s got them coming out to the arch as their first shot. I figured a strong post presence would will our teams to a few W’s we would otherwise lose. So far I haven’t been pleased with the adaptation we’ve seen. Definitely not playing to our own strengths.

  • Chappy Dan

    I’m shocked we’re still ranked.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Power rankings are a snapshot. That said, by design seemingly, they are reactionary and suffer from a bad case of recency bias.

    IU had a rough week. They will be fine.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Beating KU and dismantling UNC probably has a lot to do with that. At this stage of the season, rankings are pretty worthless.