The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week, as Wisconsin has pulled away with a three-game lead while the next six teams in the standings each have four losses.
Here’s a look at where each team stands following the sixth week of play in 2015:
14. Northwestern (10-13, 1-9, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 14) … The Wildcats’ losing streak stretched to nine games this past week after losses on the road to Nebraska and Wisconsin. The two losses, though, were unlike their previous six — in that each were by double-digit margins. They also included two of their three worst defensive performances thus far this Big Ten season — with top five Big Ten offenses Iowa and Michigan State looming on the schedule this week. (Next up: Feb. 10 vs. Michigan State; Feb. 15 vs. Iowa)
13. Rutgers (10-15, 2-10, PPP: .90, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (Last week: 13) … When their losing streak was at six games after a loss at Indiana, Scarlet Knights coach Eddie Jordan said he was used to leading losing teams. They have yet to find that elusive win — losing their two games this past week by double digit margins to both Illinois and Ohio State. Most notable about the Scarlet Knights’ struggles, though, has been their offense. Just how bad is it? Their points per possession rate is the second worst in league play dating back to the 2004-2005 season. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Purdue)
12. Penn State (15-9, 3-8, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 12) … They did not have great offense in either of their two games this past week, with just .85 points per possession against Maryland and a 25.8 percent turnover rate against Nebraska, but the Nittany Lions split results and have three wins in their past five after their 0-6 start to Big Ten play. Their defense in their win against Nebraska was stellar, too — as they forced the Cornhuskers into shooting a dreadful 15-of-51 from the floor. (Next up: Feb. 11 at Ohio State; Feb. 14 vs. Maryland)
Indiana had been in this position more than once this season.
The Hoosiers led by a single possession in the closing seconds on Sunday and were on defense with Michigan holding the ball without the shot clock.
A stop, like the Hoosiers did against Ohio State and Penn State earlier this season, meant a win. A Wolverines 3-pointer could have meant overtime.
Once again, the Hoosiers held strong. After Michigan got the ball to Zak Irvin, its intended shot-taker, Hoosiers defenders closed on Irvin — who was forced to give up the ball. It found Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, a 30-percent 3-point shooter who took a corner three as the game clock read less than five seconds. It missed.
With that, Indiana (17-7, 7-4) escaped in a 70-67 win after losing three of its previous four. And the Hoosiers are now tied for second place in a wide-open Big Ten.
Indiana bounced back from a loss at Wisconsin with a narrow 70-67 win over Michigan on Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall. The win moved the Hoosiers to 17-7 overall and 7-4 in the Big Ten.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Wolverines:
· Indiana continues to find ways to win close games: A season ago, Indiana struggled to close out games for a variety of reasons. Turnovers was chief among them as was a lack of capable shot makers to turn to. The script has been flipped through eleven league games as Indiana now has seven conference wins and six of them have been decided by six points or less.
Sunday was another example of Indiana not playing its best game, but still figuring out a way to claim a win. The Hoosiers built an 11-point lead against the Wolverines with 14 minutes to play, but Michigan never folded and ultimately had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer. Still, Indiana never let go of control of the game, which is a sign of growth over last season.
“I’d say the difference has been mindset, our mental mindset going into a close game like that is just to get a stop and whatever is necessary to get it, we’re going to get it,” Yogi Ferrell explained. “We go out there, we fight for each other and we fight for the team and we come out with the outcome we want.”
Check out 29 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 70-67 win over Michigan at Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. See more images and purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.
John Beilein, Spike Albrecht and Zak Irvin met with the media following Indiana’s 70-67 win over Michigan on Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall.
Watch the postgame reaction below, via UMHoops.com:
Thoughts on a 70-67 win over the Wolverines:
Tom Crean said it yesterday. Despite a depleted roster, he knew Michigan would still bring it.
“They’re missing some players but they’re not missing their coach, they’re not missing their staff, and they’re not missing their system,” Crean said. “And when you have that, you’ve got a chance to be very successful.”
And successful enough the Wolverines were. Despite Indiana often having a field day in transition, exploiting some considerable matchup advantages in the backcourt and hitting 41.2 percent from distance (7-of-17), the Hoosiers just were never ever to jump on the bike and fully break away. Up 11 after a Nick Zeisloft triple at the 14:00 mark, Michigan stormed back with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to four at 55-51 with 10:51 to go.
The Hoosiers punched it back to nine after a Yogi Ferrell 3-ball at the 8:38 mark. But the Hoosiers went 5:10 without a field goal (from the 5:41 to :30 mark) to end the game. Couple the field goal drought with some incorrect calls from the officials in favor of Michigan late, and it allowed the Wolverines a shot to tie the game on their final possession. But Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s open corner 3-point attempt missed. The Hoosiers hung on for the victory.