Big Ten Power Rankings: January 23

  • 01/23/2017 9:26 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following a thrilling fourth week of conference play that saw several game-winning shots, including one that gave Rutgers its first Big Ten win of the season.

Here’s a look at where each team stands:

14. Rutgers (12-8, 1-6; 0.84 points per possession, 1.03 points per possession allowed; KenPom – 134, Sagarin – 131, RPI – 137) (Last Week: 14)

Last year, it took Rutgers until the final game of the regular season to record a conference win. The wait wasn’t nearly as long this time around, as a Corey Sanders putback with one second remaining gave the Scarlet Knights a victory over Nebraska. Not enough to move up in the power rankings, but it’s certainly progress.

13. Illinois (12-8, 2-5; 1.02 PPP, 1.14 PPP allowed; KenPom – 72, Sagarin – 71, RPI – 49) (Last Week: 13)

It’s gone from bad to worse for the Illini, who are now in the midst of their second three-game losing streak of the season. There is no shortage of issues with Groce’s team, with many of the problems centering around the defense. Illinois has allowed opponents to shoot 58 percent from inside the arc in conference play, far worse than any other team in the Big Ten (the next closest is Iowa at 53.5 percent).

12. Nebraska (9-10, 3-4; 1.07 PPP, 1.08 PPP allowed; KenPom – 87, Sagarin – 89, RPI – 67) (Last Week: 10)

The Cornhuskers are 0-3 since it was announced that 6-foot-7 sophomore Ed Morrow would be out indefinitely with a foot injury. The latest two losses, against lowly Ohio State and Rutgers, were nearly identical. Nebraska held the lead in the final seconds in both games, but an inability to get a stop did them in.

11. Iowa (11-9, 3-4; 1.00 PPP, 1.11 PPP allowed; KenPom – 90, Sagarin – 76, RPI – 112) (Last Week: 9)

The Hawkeyes’ season has gone downhill since downing Purdue, following up the upset win with two straight defeats. Iowa had the lead over Maryland with just over three minutes remaining in Thursday’s contest, but 10 late points from Melo Trimble doomed the Hawkeyes.

10. Penn State (11-9, 3-4; 0.93 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 79, Sagarin – 78, RPI – 71) (Last Week: 7)

Pat Chambers’ club looked lifeless on Saturday, losing by 25 points in West Lafayette. The road doesn’t get any easier from here as Penn State travels to Madison on Thursday to play Wisconsin.

9. Ohio State (12-8, 2-5; 1.01 PPP, 1.09 PPP allowed; KenPom – 58, Sagarin – 52, RPI – 84) (Last Week: 12)

The Buckeyes have rebounded from an 0-4 start to conference play, winning two of their last three. Thad Matta’s Buckeyes still have a long way to go if they want to reach their potential, but they’re trending in the right direction.

8. Michigan (13-7, 3-4; 1.13 PPP, 1.16 PPP allowed; KenPom – 43, Sagarin – 39, RPI – 69) (Last Week: 11)

Sophomore D.J. Wilson has been the key to Michigan’s recent improvement, especially on the defensive end. Wilson swatted four shots over the last two games, helping the Wolverines hold consecutive opponents below 1.10 PPP for the first time since the conference season began.

7. Michigan State (12-8, 4-3; 1.04 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 52, Sagarin – 40, RPI – 41) (Last Week: 5)

A winless week for the Spartans has left coach Tom Izzo befuddled. Michigan State now enters a pivotal home stand, needing to pull off wins over Purdue and Michigan to remain in the Big Ten title hunt.

6. Minnesota (15-5, 3-4; 0.97 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 38, Sagarin – 38, RPI – 18) (Last Week: 6)

On the verge of defeating Wisconsin for the first time since 2014, the Minnesota offense went cold down the stretch, scoring just three points in the final five minutes of regulation before falling in overtime. The Gophers have played the second toughest schedule in the conference but will get a temporary reprieve – four of their next five games are against teams ranked no better than ninth in this week’s edition of the rankings.

5. Indiana (14-6, 4-3; 1.16 PPP, 1.10 PPP allowed; KenPom – 30, Sagarin – 24, RPI – 73) (Last Week: 8)

Indiana had a 2-0 week, exploiting the top two defenses in the conference despite playing with a depleted frontcourt. The Hoosiers now enter the most difficult portion of their schedule with momentum, but whether that carries over to road games against Michigan and Northwestern remains to be seen.

4. Northwestern (16-4, 5-2; 1.10 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 31, Sagarin – 32, RPI – 34) (Last Week: 4)

With each successive win, the Wildcats keep making history. On Sunday, Northwestern topped Ohio State in Columbus for the first time in 40 years. But questions remain regarding Northwestern, who have yet to face the conference’s elite. A brutal back-end of the schedule will see the Wildcats face Purdue (twice), Maryland, Indiana (twice) and Wisconsin.

3. Maryland (17-2, 5-1; 1.08 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 44, Sagarin – 42, RPI – 21) (Last Week: 3)

Led by an all-around effort from freshman Justin Jackson, the Terrapins dispatched the Hawkeyes in Iowa City and improved to 3-0 in Big Ten road games. The next road test for Maryland? A Saturday trip to Minneapolis where the Terrapins were shocked a season ago.

2. Purdue (16-4, 5-2; 1.11 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 12, Sagarin – 12, RPI – 27) (Last Week: 2)

The Boilermakers took full advantage of two home games against inferior competition, thrashing Illinois and Penn State at Mackey by a combined 48 points. Caleb Swanigan continues to be a machine on the defensive boards, where he’s grabbed 33.9 percent of available rebounds in conference play (No. 1 in the Big Ten, per KenPom).

1. Wisconsin (16-3, 5-1; 1.12 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom – 10, Sagarin – 11, RPI– 25) (Last Week: 1)

Behind a career-night from sophomore Ethan Happ, the Badgers prevailed in their 200th meeting with Minnesota. After surviving close calls against Michigan and Minnesota, the Badgers will undertake the softest three-game stretch you could ask for, ending the month with games against Penn State, at Rutgers (at Madison Square Garden) and at Illinois.

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  • TomJameson

    Man, the rest of the schedule looks daunting, to say the least!

  • Hoosier Hall

    Need at least 5 more wins. Gonna be tough but they can do it. Gotta be able to win even when Blackmon goes cold.

  • pcantidote

    I just can’t believe anyone thinks the B1G is good this year. Worst I can remember in a very long time. We are like the SEC this year.

  • sarge

    It’s good that we are never daunted, we cannot falter, and in the battle we’re tried and true. I feel some momentum coming our way finally!

  • Ms hoosier

    I do agree that the B1G is is not that good this year, but it is still better than the SEC. I live in SEC country and I see it a lot and I try to watch some of it but it just don’t impress me at all. It wouldn’t suprise me if Kentucky goes undefeated in SEC play this year. Don’t think they could do that in the B1G

  • Kyl470

    Agreed. Very much a down year for the conference. I would only except 5 teams to make the tournament vs. the usual 7-9 range.

  • Ms hoosier

    I also am proud of the fight that the Hoosiers showed against MSU. But in my mind I keep saying, let’s wait and see how they respond on the road Thursday at Mich. if they can win that game on the road against a quality team that would go a long way for the teams confidence

  • pcantidote

    Yeah, I am probably overstating with the SEC comparison but it isn’t that far off. The SEC is typically just 1 or 2 good teams and a bunch of average teams which is basically where we are.

  • Lance76

    JBJr has been great, but we need balance in scoring to return. Having JM back going forward is going to be necessary. There is part of me that pulls for NW to make the big dance, but only if my Hoosiers beat them twice.

  • sarge

    I agree. Road wins make your conference champions. This is where we miss YF’s leadership. Jimmy Buckets and RoJo are becoming those leaders. Their confidence is pouring out to the team when things get tough now. They have to keep it rolling against Michigan.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’m not being a pessimist but a realist. To me there will be 3-4 teams fighting for second place with us being one of them. The article states UWs next 3 games which unless someone kidnaps the team they’ll win putting them 8-1 at the halfway mark. Peeyoo is probably the next best but if they lose to MSU this week that will pretty much eliminate them from the title. Maryland has the easiest schedule and contrary to what some here believe are a pretty good team. I don’t know what to make of MSU. They are the hardest team to figure out. Izzo made an interesting point concerning losing a star player saying that the negative effects seem to step in after playing a little while without that player. We will feel the effects of no OG for sure against Peeyoo and probably several other games. It is hard to expect James and Rob to play every game like they did Saturday. Even the best players can’t play like that every night. For us to have a chance at 2nd TB has got to play like the player everyone thought he’d be EVERY night. JM has got to be 100%. We get 2-3 fouls in the first half on TB and DD(which has happened a few times before already) then what do we do. Expect JM to handle Happ, Swanigan, Lynch, Pardon, and Wagner? I have no problem with anyone disagreeing and calling me out at seasons end if wrong, but my power rankings at seasons end will be UW, Mary, Stinky, IU, NU, MSU,Minny, UM, Iowa, OS, Ill, PS, NEB, and Rut. Depending on life after OG I may flipflop us and NU

  • vicbert caladipo

    Easy there fella. The SEC has one team worth a squat and a bunch of pansies. I’d play FLA any day over Peeyoo, Mary, NU, Minny,, MSU, Mich,,etc,

  • Outoftheloop

    There are not “a bunch of average” teams in the SEC. They have no teams like NW, MN, MI, MSU and others, who could give KY a loss when KY plays away from home. WI is like KY, clearly #1 in their conference. However, PU, IU, and MD have no equals in the SEC in SC, or FL.

  • pcantidote

    You need to do your homework. Every SEC team is in the top RPI 122 except Missouri (what happened to them?). Every B1G is in the top RPI 103 except Rutgers. UK, Florida and South Carolina all have a better RPI than Purdue and Wisconsin. SEC has 6 in the RPI top 50, the B1G has 7. Now, my gut tells me that Wisconsin and Purdue are better than anyone in the SEC not named Kentucky, but it is clear to me that right no we are no better than the SEC.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    You are right , ,I do think against better teams the OG impact will be more pronounced.The next two away games will tell us more of what this team will be. UM & NU will be tough games and will put IU in the top 3 convo in B1G with wins in both.I suspect UM & NU will attack JBJ on the defensive end a lot more trying to limit his offense and make him foul.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I knew NU was much improved, but have watched a few of their games and never knew they were this good. We’d probably lose that game away even with OG. Barring injury I expect them to make the dance.

  • vicbert caladipo

    RPI is a crock of c h it. Look at Nebraskas RPI compared to other big ten teams and they are 9-10.

  • vicbert caladipo

    How about watch a few SEC games instead of rely on bogus computers..

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    I have seen 3 of NU’s games they are very solid… the upside for IU and NU is that mid-major resumes are bad this yr… top conferences will see lots of bids this year. Stay at .500 in the B1G might be a lock this year…Only Neb should worry because of dismal preseason

  • TomJameson

    Dang Sarge, you’re a poet at heart! 🙂

  • pcantidote

    I’m not saying its scientific but it is good enough to give you a directional indicator.

  • Ole Man

    Have to disagree slightly.
    I think the B1G is good and has a lot of good teams; just not any great teams. We’re all beating one another up.

  • Ole Man

    We should hope for a split this year with NW!

  • Ole Man

    Vic, I honestly don’t think IU has any shot at second. If we can hold onto five we will be doing good. Our schedule is brutal.

  • SCHoosier

    I’m hoping for a split…with NW…anything more would be a gift.

  • John D Murphy

    You are exactly right. Only Purdue, Wisc, and Maryland have any business even being discussed as top 25. The B1G is probably probably 5th best conference at best this year.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    South Carolina is pretty good. Don’t let the Kentucky game fool you. They had the team flu going around.

    Defense is solid. If they figure out you don’t have to have the ball to move, they could be a Sweet 16 team.

  • Austin Alexander

    Either that or the teams we’re used to seeing be garbage in the B1G are actually getting some players and competing now…aka Northwestern, Penn State, Minnesota (they used to be pretty good back in the day).

  • Austin Alexander

    Luckily any team can lose on any given night. If we keep playing with heart I think we’ll be alright…McRobert’s hustle is really infectious and is what this team needed.

  • sarge

    Thanks TJ!

  • Outoftheloop

    And you need to re-read my post! I believe that PU, IU and MD are clearly better teams than SC and FL. Further I see no teams as good as NW, MN, MI, and MSU capable of beating KY when KY is playing away from Rupp. You did some homework. However, I do not cede my evaluations to RPI. They are one factor to use in evaluating college basketball team rankings, but not the biggest or determining factor.

  • A very strong #1 in offensive efficiency and a weak #10 in defense. We’re 2-1 against the top defensive teams in the league, with two of those on the road, and so offensively I think we’re in okay shape even without OG. However, defense remains a significant concern–when we’re locked in like we were in the first half against MSU (and before the opposition can make adjustments at halftime), we’ve shown we can play good defense. Then, we have terrible halves like we did against MSU where the offense has to keep clicking to stay ahead.

    Clearly, that’s going to be a difficult row to hoe without OG on the floor. Here’s to hoping the team turns a corner in team defense like last season. Otherwise, it might be difficult to finish in the upper half of the league with the remaining schedule, let alone position well for the NCAA tourney.

    Also, I hate to say it, but I’m afraid we’re looking at two losses to Purdue. I just don’t see us competing with their front court. Our guards will have to play lights out for us to have a chance.

  • jleland

    If you cannot father it’s a personal issue, not basketball.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    Really wishing that our first three home games occurred when students were still in town… oh well…..

  • pcantidote

    Take a look at KenPom too. They tell a similar story. If you don’t have any sources to back you up I am going to have conclude that you are out of the loop 🙂

  • The dreaded “P” word…

  • SidelineSportsNetwork
  • vicbert caladipo

    I agree Ole man. I was being hopeful..

  • sarge

    I can father just fine thank you very much.

  • Missing Moye

    So I guess I had too much time on my hands tonight… but I was sitting here thinking about how IU stacks up in the state of Indiana over the last decade or so. I ran the numbers just to see. Obviously we had 3 horrible years in the post-Kelvin era that skewed the results, so I also ran the numbers leaving out the 3 worst years for each team over the last decade (best 7 years in parenthesis) . I included this season in progress as the 10th year, for what it’s worth. Here’s what I came up below:

    IU – Winning% .584 (.704), Kenpom 68.1 (27.7), five NCAAs, three Sweet 16s
    PU – Winning% .676 (.743), Kenpom 33.4 (17.6), six NCAAs, two sweet 16s
    ND – Winning% .694 (.751), Kenpom 35 (24.4), six NCAAs, two elite 8s
    Butler – Winning% .727 (.793), Kenpom 42.9 (26.3), six NCAAs, two Final Fours (runner-ups)

    I don’t really want to draw conclusions, as we’re not comparing apples to apples here necessarily. Some of those years Butler played in the Horizon, and choosing the worst 3 years for the other schools was somewhat subjective. But for everyone that still thinks we’re “elite”, I’d say it could be argued that we’re the 4th best team in the state.

  • Fifer39

    Sobering thought! Although the relative winning % isn’t apples and apples if it was significantly skewed you might expect that to be ‘rectified’ in the ncaa’s. The fact that it’s not shows the hypothesis probably isn’t that far off (for the best 7 out of the last 10 years).

  • Arch Puddington

    According to Kenpom, the B1G has 7 teams in the top 50, the SEC has 5. Both have 6 teams between 51-100. The B1G has one abominably bad team, the SEC has two.

    So, slight advantage B10. It’s not quite this simple, but if you swapped one of the SEC’s bad teams with one of the B1G’s good teams, they’d be about the same. Neither is great.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Can anyone explain to me why the RPI is still a thing? Look at every team’s rankings, and you will see that KenPom and Sagarin will be very similar, and then RPI will be considerably different from both. Just using the eye test will tell you KP and Sagarin are far closer to reality.

    Does anyone really believe there are 70+ teams better than IU, or that Wisky is a fringe Top 25 team? The RPI needs a serious overhaul, or it needs to go.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’ve been saying this for weeks

  • Clem

    Yeah I posted about this a few weeks back too. After the Nebraska loss we were 10 spots behind a Team that was 1-9. Two wins over too teams yet behind a team that doesn’t have two wins total!? RPI is garbage and I think was a main factor for poor seeding for Big Ten teams last year. I am glad they are at least looking into changes.