Big Ten power rankings: Week 3

  • 01/10/2011 3:46 pm in

The second installment of our Big Ten power rankings (we started after a week of games to get an early read on the league, so Week 3 = second installment). We’ve got movement at the top and bottom of the poll this week, with Illinois up to second and Indiana sliding to last.

Without further ado, and running from 11th to 1st this time ’round:

Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 3

11. Indiana – NR; 9-8, 0-4; 33 total points

There are a myriad of problems with the Hoosiers right now, both tangible and intangible, and no one in the lineup seems immune. A fact perhaps most indicative of the Hoosiers’ problems is the simplest of all: They are 0-4 in the Big Ten, and have now lost six games in a row.

10. Iowa – NR; 7-8, 0-3; 30 total points

Another unanimous selection at their position in this week’s rankings, the Hawkeyes hold the dubious distinction of being the Big Ten’s only sub-.500 team overall. There could exist a chance to get a first Big Ten win for Fran McCaffrey at home Wednesday against Northwestern.

9. Michigan – NR; 11-5,  1-2; 25 total points

Oh but what could be for the Wolverines, who lost on Sunday by seven in overtime to No. 3 Kansas. Couple that with a three-point loss to Syracuse earlier in the season, and you get a picture of a team getting close. Yet the Wolverines are still being outscored by more than 10 points per game in Big Ten play, so maybe not as close as you’d think.

8. Penn State – NR; 9-6, 2-2; 24 total points

It’s getting harder to lend much weight to a win against Indiana, even at Assembly Hall. But the Nitts are 2-2 in the Big Ten, where frankly no one expected them to be at this time. Jeff Brooks’ 17.8 points per game in conference play have been immensely helpful.

7. Northwestern – NR; 10-4, 1-3; 22 total points

I know you probably heard it three dozen times last night from Shon Morris, but John Shurna broke out of his scoring slump in a big way against Indiana. What was just as important was how he did it — 6-of-9, hittig 8-of-10 free throws, after shooting a miserable 3-of-18 over his previous two games.

6. Minnesota – Receiving votes in AP/No. 25 Coaches; 12-4, 1-3; 19 total points

The brutal beginning to the Gophers’ Big Ten season, two match-ups with Top 25 teams on either side of a home date with Indiana, was supposed to give some idea of what Minnesota might bring this season. None of the three losses thus far has been a blowout, but three losses suggest that Tubby Smith’s crew might not be ready to play with the big boys. Beating Purdue on Thursday night could change that perception in a hurry.

5. Michigan State – Receiving votes in AP/No. 24 Coaches; 10-5, 2-1; 15 total points

The defense that the Spartans had no bad losses took a hit with a road defeat to Penn State last week. Three of Sparty’s next four (Wisconsin, Northwestern, at Illinois, at Purdue) are against ranked teams. It stands to reason that we ought to have a better idea of this team’s immediate future in 12 days’ time.

4. Wisconsin – No. 20 AP/No. 21 Coaches; 12-3, 2-1; 12 total points

There was a time when freshman Josh Gasser looked like a revelation for Bo Ryan and Wisconsin. That time has passed. Gasser has averaged just over two points per game in the Badgers’ last six, and has a grand total of four points scored in three Big Ten games thus far.

3. Purdue – Consensus No. 8; 15-1, 4-0; 8 total points

There’s an awful lot that’s good to say about the Boilers right now, unfortunately for Indiana fans. Purdue is averaging 80 points per game in conference play, with an average margin of victory in those games of 18.5 points. E’Twaun Moore became the program’s career leader in minutes played Sunday against Iowa, and junior guard Ryne Smith is averaging 17 points per contest in conference play.

2.  Illinois – Consensus No. 16; 13-3, 3-0; 7 total points

In a minor poll upset, Illinois slides ahead of Purdue for the No. 2 spot this week. The Illini have looked pretty impressive early in the Big Ten season. A Tuesday tilt with Penn State will give way to three consecutive games against top 10 opponents, culminating with a home test against No. 2 Ohio State on Jan. 22. We’ll learn of Illinois’ mettle quite soon, it would seem.

1. Ohio State – Consensus No. 2; 16-0, 3-0; 3 total points

As if there was any question. Ohio State takes unanimous No. 1 in the poll for the second straight week, and it’s about as hard to see them slipping from this spot any time soon as it is to see obvious weaknesses in the Buckeyes as a team. Columbus Dispatch writer Bob Baptist said this via Twitter of the Buckeyes: “Big Ten has exposed flaws. Work 2 do. But potential very high.” Sounds about right. The ceiling for this team is hard to spot right now.

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