Big Ten Power Rankings: February 16

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The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week, as Wisconsin maintains its three-game lead on the Big Ten field while just one game separates second place from sixth in the league standings.

Here’s a look at where each team stands following the seventh week of play in 2015: 

14. Rutgers (10-16, 2-11, PPP: .89, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (Last week: 13) It seems like ages ago that the Scarlet Knights managed to beat Wisconsin in Piscataway — but it really was just over a month ago. That’s because since that game, Rutgers has gone 0-9, most recently suffering a 10-point loss to Purdue at home on Thursday in a game in which they only scored 51 points. But in that game, their .82 points per possession rate was nowhere near its worst in league play — the Scarlet Knights have had three worse offensive outputs in Big Ten games this season. (Next up: Feb. 19 at Iowa; Feb. 22 vs. Indiana)

13. Northwestern (11-14, 2-10, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 14) … Well, the losing streak is finally over. It took more than a month and a half between wins, but on Sunday the Wildcats pulled out a 66-61 overtime win against Iowa in Evanston. And that didn’t come without drama, either — as the Wildcats came back late only to be forced into overtime by a Jared Uthoff 3-pointer with three seconds remaining. But in the extra period, a key Sanjay Lumpkin steal and Scottie Lindsey block with less than a minute to go allowed the Wildcats to seal the win — their first after 10 straight losses. (Next up: Feb. 18 at Minnesota; Feb. 21 vs. Penn State)

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Notes, quotes from Tom Crean on the Big Ten teleconference

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The Big Ten held its weekly coaches teleconference on Monday morning to review the seventh week of conference play. Here are some notes and quotes from Tom Crean’s appearance:

On how important it will be to have Hanner Mosquera-Perea available against Purdue: 

“Well I think it’s extremely important because it just provides a different kind of length and size. But we have got to do a really good job of moving our post defense around and we have got to do an even better job this time of moving Purdue around when they are on defense. And we are looking forward to that and really pull them into a position where they have got to guard more of the court or make a decision if they are going to guard more of the court. But bottom line is you can’t give inside players like A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas any one steady diet. They’re very good at maneuvering and making moves and making counter-moves.”

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Notebook: IU scorches Minnesota defense in 90-71 win

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In many of Indiana’s games this season, the Hoosiers have had concerns on how they will match up against bigger opponents — especially those active on defense, as well. They struggled against the likes of Purdue and Wisconsin.

Coming into Sunday’s game against Minnesota, one of the top defenses in the country in forcing turnovers and a team that has the 13th-best effective height in the nation, there was additional cause for concern.

But on the other side of things, the smaller Hoosiers have posed several match-up threats for their opponents. That was epitomized in Indiana’s 90-71 win over the Golden Gophers on Sunday.

“They’re so tough to guard,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “They put you in so many binds with the way that they play because they play small. And we don’t have a whole lot of depth to go blow-for-blow with them when they’re playing small.

“They just kicked our butt. Flat-out kicked our butt.”

For much of this season, the Golden Gophers have prided themselves on their size and their defense. They press, they play tough half-court defense with their length and force turnovers. A lot of them. They came into Sunday’s game ranked No. 3 in the nation in forced turnover percentage at a 26.0 percent rate.

On Saturday, Indiana coach Tom Crean said the key to the game would be recognition — knowing when and how to attack the Golden Gophers based on the defenses they were showing, whether it be zone or man-to-man off misses. And to start the game, the Hoosiers struggled with that.

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Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Minnesota

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Indiana moved to 18-8 overall and 8-5 in Big Ten play with a 90-71 beatdown of Minnesota on Sunday night at Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Golden Gophers:

· A record-setting shooting performance: The Hoosiers have been one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams all season, but Sunday night’s performance set a new high mark for the program. Indiana hit 18 of its 32 attempts from distance against the Gophers which broke the single-game record previously set at 17.

James Blackmon Jr. hit six 3s, but nearly all of IU’s shooters got into the act as Robert Johnson hit five, Nick Zeisloft, Collin Hartman and Troy Williams each hit two and Yogi Ferrell hit one.

“The ball just has to move,” Tom Crean said of the performance. “That’s what it is more than anything else. A lot of that 3-point shooting, that’s just what we do. It’s not like they were set play calls for a 3. It’s about the movement.”

· IU’s freshman guards bounce back: Both Blackmon Jr. and Johnson struggled with their shooting in IU’s 68-66 loss on Wednesday at Maryland, but the duo put that performance in the rearview mirror from the onset on Sunday.

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Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over Minnesota

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 90-71 win over Minnesota at Assembly Hall on Sunday night. Crean was joined by Bloomington resident Brian Jones, who is suffering from ALS.

Watch the full press conference below:

The Minute After: Minnesota

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Thoughts on a 90-71 win over the Golden Gophers:

Minnesota’s press had the Hoosiers a little skittish to start the contest. The Golden Gophers got out to the early lead and they held an advantage over the Hoosiers as late as the 7:33 mark in the first half. But thanks to some strong offensive rebounding, a parade of 3s and a phenomenal tip-in from Robert Johnson at the buzzer, the Hoosiers found themselves up six (44-38) at the half.

Despite the lead, Minnesota had turned the Hoosiers over on 26.2 percent of their possessions. They were shooting it well and you got the feeling a W wasn’t going to come easy. Another single-digit game appeared ahead on the horizon.

But Indiana was so masterful from beyond the arc, Minnesota simply had no chance at an upset bid. Shot after shot from 3-point range kept going up in the second half, and more often than not the Hoosiers were banging them home. Eighteen in total found the bottom of the net this Sunday evening. The performance set a new school record for makes in a game. Those came on 32 attempts, good for 56.3 percent from distance. It aided in an effective field goal percentage of 75.9 and the Hoosiers scoring a strong 1.37 points per possession.

James Blackmon Jr., after a forgettable shooting performance against Maryland on Wednesday night, led the charge from distance (6-of-10) for a team-high 24 points, as a total of six Hoosiers hit from 3-point range on this historic night. Fellow freshman Robert Johnson, who also shot it poorly against the Terps, went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and also had a couple nice passes in the pick-and-roll to Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Emmitt Holt. Nick Zeisloft went 2-of-4. Yogi Ferrell was 1-of-6. Collin Hartman hit both his attempts.

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Photo Gallery: Indiana vs. Minnesota

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Check out 26 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 90-71 win over Minnesota at Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. See more images and purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.

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