Big Ten Power Rankings: January 9

  • 01/09/2017 7:58 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the second week of conference play, and it’s still nearly impossible to gauge where teams will finish. Every team has at least one loss, while Rutgers and Ohio State are the only squads yet to record a win.

Expect these rankings to continue 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 conference-only and will remain so for the rest of the season.)

14. Rutgers (11-6, 0-4; 0.81 points per possession, 1.04 points per possession allowed; KenPom – 137, Sagarin – 131, RPI – 130) (Last Week: 14)

The Scarlet Knights came close to their first conference win Sunday in Iowa City, but when the Hawkeyes switched to a press in the final four minutes, Rutgers had no answer.

13. Ohio State (10-6, 0-3; 1.00 PPP, 1.07 PPP allowed; KenPom – 48, Sagarin – 55, RPI – 85) (Last Week: 12)

Thad Matta’s Buckeyes are now 0-3 in conference for the first time since 1997-98, and the bleeding may be far from over. The next three games present no guarantees – at Wisconsin, home to Michigan State and at Nebraska.

12. Illinois (11-5, 1-2; 1.03 PPP, 1.20 PPP allowed; KenPom – 72, Sagarin – 60, RPI – 43) (Last Week: 11)

The Illini were outscored by a combined 41 points in losses to Maryland and Indiana, and the lone win over Ohio State continues to look less impressive with each Buckeye defeat. In his fifth year in Champaign, John Groce’s Illini have yet to finish a season above .500 in the conference. Expect that streak of futility to continue.

11. Iowa (10-7, 2-2; 1.07 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom – 78, Sagarin – 84, RPI – 129) (Last Week: 10)

An interesting week for the Hawkeyes began with a double-overtime loss at Nebraska and ended with a narrow win over Rutgers. A Tuesday night meeting with Purdue in Iowa City will give the Hawkeyes a chance to shoot up the rankings.

10. Penn State (10-7, 2-2; 0.98 PPP, 0.95 PPP allowed; KenPom – 85, Sagarin – 71, RPI – 68) (Last Week: 13)

A sellout crowd of nearly 9,000 helped lift the Nittany Lions to victory over Michigan State at the fabled Palestra Saturday, but a brutal four-game stretch (Minnesota, Indiana, at Purdue, at Wisconsin) is likely to humble Pat Chambers’ team in a hurry.

9. Michigan (11-5, 1-2; 1.14 PPP, 1.18 PPP allowed; KenPom – 39, Sagarin – 51, RPI – 74) (Last Week: 9)

The Wolverines went 1-1 in their two home games this week, downing Penn State in a nail-biter on Tuesday before allowing the Terrapins to shoot the lights out from deep (10-of-15 from three) on Saturday. The perimeter defense has been an issue all season, but it’s been particularly bad of late, with Michigan letting opponents hit 54.7 percent of threes in Big Ten play.

8. Nebraska (9-7, 3-1; 1.08 PPP, 1.08 PPP allowed; KenPom – 88, Sagarin – 59, RPI – 50) (Last Week: 6)

A storybook start to the conference season came to an end on Sunday in a home loss to Northwestern. Glynn Watson Jr. and Tai Webster, who had been red-hot recently, combined to hit just two of 10 threes in the defeat.

7. Maryland (14-2, 2-1; 1.11 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 55, Sagarin – 51, RPI – 34) (Last Week: 8)

Maryland traveled to the Crisler Center on Saturday and toppled the Wolverines, joining Virginia Tech as the only two teams to accomplish that feat this season. The Terrapins hit 10 of the 15 threes they attempted in the game, including a 4-of-4 performance from junior Jared Nickens in only seven minutes of action. KenPom puts Maryland as the underdog in seven of their next eight games, so time will tell if the Terrapins will remain near the top of the league.

6. Indiana (11-5, 1-2; 1.23 PPP, 1.20 PPP allowed; KenPom – 27, Sagarin – 25, RPI – 109) (Last Week: 5)

James Blackmon, Jr. had his first 25 point game in three weeks on Saturday, hitting five of Indiana’s 13 threes en route to a decisive victory. What continues to be cause for concern, however, is the defense. After Wisconsin torched Indiana defense to the tune of 1.23 PPP on Tuesday, the Hoosiers’ rebounded against Illinois, at least for the first half. The second half was a different story, as the Hoosiers allowed Illinois to score 51 points on 1.46 PPP. That simply won’t cut it against the upper echelon of the league.

5. Northwestern (13-4, 2-2; 1.06 PPP, 1.04 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 40, Sagarin – 42, RPI – 44) (Last Week: 7)

Led by Scottie Lindsey’s 15 second half points, Northwestern outscored Nebraska by twelve, preventing what would’ve been a third consecutive loss. The Wildcats are one of just four teams in the conference yet to lose at least five games. All four of Northwestern’s losses have come against KenPom Top 50 teams, and none were decided by more than nine points. Chris Collins is well on his way to a second consecutive 20 win season at the helm of Northwestern, and an NCAA berth may not be far behind.

4. Michigan State (11-6, 3-1; 1.02 PPP, 0.92 PPP allowed; KenPom – 47, Sagarin – 43, RPI – 38) (Last Week: 2)

Nick Ward and ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn were the only two Spartans to record more than two made baskets in the loss to Penn State. Miles Bridges, who Tom Izzo admitted is still only around 80 percent health-wise, scored just four points in his return to the starting lineup. A rematch with Minnesota in East Lansing looms on Wednesday, and you can bet that Izzo will have his team ready.

3. Minnesota (15-2, 3-1; 1.05 PPP, 0.98 PPP allowed; KenPom – 31, Sagarin – 30, RPI – 5) (Last Week: 4)

The Gophers were one of just two teams to have a 2-0 week (Purdue was the other), and that’s enough to move them into the three spot in this edition of the rankings. Two weeks into conference play, the Gophers have already exceeded their conference win total from last season (2). How have the Gophers done it? Mostly with defense. In conference play, the Gophers are first in both block percentage (18.1 percent) and opponent three-point percentage (29.1 percent).

2. Wisconsin (13-3, 2-1; 1.06 PPP, 0.98 PPP allowed; KenPom – 11, Sagarin – 23, RPI– 49) (Last Week: 1)

It’s nearly an impossible task to sweep consecutive games at Assembly Hall and Mackey Arena (the last team to do so? Illinois, back in 1956). The Badgers learned this lesson the hard way when their nine-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Boilermakers on Sunday. The good news for Wisconsin? They won’t see the Boilermakers again during the regular season. In fact, KenPom pegs the Badgers as the favorite in each of their remaining 15 games.

1. Purdue (14-3, 3-1; 1.06 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 12, Sagarin – 14, RPI – 30) (Last Week: 3)

Caleb Swanigan recorded his eighth consecutive double-double for the Boilermakers on Sunday in a decisive 66-55 win over Wisconsin. Purdue was able to overcome an 18 turnover day by dominating nearly every other aspect of the game. The Boilermakers shot over 52 percent for the day, had a 12 rebound edge on the glass, and held one of the most potent offenses in the country to 0.85 PPP.

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  • BannerOrBust

    One game at a time. Let’s ride this ship out. As fans, of course we’re all disappointed with their bump in the road, but it’s a long season. Grab your popcorn and let’s hope for a great finish.

  • NC Hoosier

    Still don’t see how we can be ahead of Nebraska. Or Maryland for that matter. Hopefully being ahead of Maryland can be justified after tomorrow night.

  • IUBizmark

    That UMD team needs a lot of work, if that makes you feel any better.

  • John D Murphy

    I’d have us 9th or 10th right now. Hopefully that improves.

  • Dunkin’ Depot

    Defense just not good enough to win a championship- Big Ten or otherwise. Throw in turnover issues… As optimistic as I was about this team, there doesn’t seem to be enough commitment to defense. They will win some games and will likely continue to have the ability to beat anyone on a given day. But as far as a run in tournament, I just don’t see it…

  • Bill Graham

    Understand I’m a colts fan so this is a difficult analogy but a good one:

    From 1990 to 1996 (as many of you know) the Dallas Cowboys made the playoffs every single year and won over 10 regular season games every year. They also won 3 super bowls in that span. There were many reasons for their success including Aikman, a great line, and Deion. But the most notable reason for their success has to be Emmitt Smith. – So why were the cowboys able to stay so consistent year after year? Well…because Smith was.

    Smith says, “Consistency is one of the hallmarks of my career. You knew what you were going to get out of E-Smith every game, every year, no matter if I was 22, 21 or 35 years old.”

    I think you all see where I’m going with this….This IU team lacks consistency….but it doesn’t just lack team consistency it lacks a consistent leader. Regardless of how great or awful the Cowboys played, Smith stayed consistent. We don’t have that…

    Sure when James and Rob combine for 40 points and less than 4 TO’s we can beat anybody…name a team…seriously. Kansas, UNC, Duke, I don’t care. We are honestly that talented that we can beat any team in the nation on our best night… But therein lies the problem. James has had two games where he shot in the 20% from the field…Rob went 1 for 13 against Louisville…Thomas had 7 turnovers against Liberty and shot 3 for 11 against SIU….

    The point is everyone has a bad game. It happens. But leaders find a way to stay consistent. If the shots aren’t falling they dish out 10 assists. If the 3 ball abandons them they grab 5 steals… If you look at the stats…you’ll find that when our players play poorly they play poorly all around… This team will continue to be the team that impresses us with spectacular blow out wins with sportscenter top ten plays…but it will also continue to be the team that drops head scratching losses to less talented opponents. Perhaps the problem is a point guard problem. Perhaps its a leadership problem…A consistency problem.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    IU isnt any better than Rutgers at the moment. no D no consistency at either end of the floor and a coach who makes no in game adjustments. hoping they improve as the season goes on

  • Hoosier Hall

    We need to win our next 7 games and then get ready for a showdown at the Kohl Center. When you look at the schedule, that is entirely doable and should be expected.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    the team in Bloomington needs its butt lit on fire

  • pcantidote

    Puke. Literally.

  • Sandra Wilson

    We should be 11th…..Amazing what happens to Wisconsin’s shooting when you (Purdue) actually play defense on them…..It’s also interesting that both teams denied the ball to the post last night….Sometimes Haas got lazy and played behind (like we do) and Happ made him pay for it…..Happ displayed more post moves in one game, than TB, NV, or CZ ever did for us combined…..THAT IS COACHING!…..and gee, they’re not trying to make a power forward out of him for the NBA…. Yes, I’m a huge I.U. fan and alum….I’m just sick of watching stupid mistakes, poor strategy, goofy substitutions, rushed offense, no defense and poor fundamentals…..It makes me even more disgusted after I watch a well played game by two good teams, since I figure we COULD be like that.

  • JethroTroll

    Doable? Yes. Expected? Hardly. IU’s next 7 games include 4 away games, which are traditionally always hard to come by in league play. And if the first 2 weeks of the B1G season are any indication, no games this year (home or away), are going to be gimmies.
    If IU loses just 2 of those games, I’d call that a pretty good job. IMHO, of course.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    IU is 98th in the RPI. Ouch!!!!

  • JethroTroll

    In all fairness, RPI is easily the worst tool to use for evaluating teams.

  • John D Murphy

    Agreed. The RPI profile though is a pretty interesting view into a team. Ours would basically say 2 good wins, 2 bad losses, 3 ok losses, no other games worth noting.

  • John D Murphy

    We are much closer to the 14th team right now than the 1st or 2nd.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Agreed. 98th is rediculous especially after beating Kansas and North Carolina. Love the flute you play!!!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    And actually close in each loss. Not sure if that matters. The Mr Bracketology idiot isn’t showing any love for IU either.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Dilleo to Kentucky.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I noticed the same thing. How well their bigs move. Happ and Swanigan are far and away better than anyone else in the bigten and unless we get him in foul trouble Haas will be impossible to stop too. Keep thinking how Morrow of Nebraska pushed us around and he’s not even in the top half of quality big men in this league. Our guys need to get meaner like the other team stole their girlfriend. I see toughness, but no one with a mean streak.

  • NC Hoosier

    Like I said, we should not have been ranked ahead of Maryland.