Big Ten power rankings: Week 5

  • 01/24/2011 8:21 pm in

The coaches finally agree with Inside the Hall: Ohio State is the unanimous No. 1 in both of our polls. More people really should pay attention to those coaches.

The other real competition, as it has been for much of the conference season, was at the bottom of the poll, with Michigan, Indiana and Iowa slugging it out. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 5

11. Indiana – NR; 10-10, 1-6; 31 total points

The complaints about Indiana’s transition defense (16-2 deficit against the Hawkeyes in transition baskets Sunday) have been exhaustive. What should be concerning to Indiana fans under the surface of the loss is the “indefinite” nature of Verdell Jones’ knee injury. His presence was clearly and sorely missed against Iowa, both as a scorer and as a leader.

10. Iowa – NR; 8-11, 1-6; 30 total points

Slot the Hawkeyes in between Indiana and Michigan in a vote that came down to a single vote between each team. You’ve probably had a good night when freshman who has scored 22 points in his first six Big Ten games puts up 18 in his seventh.

9. Michigan – NR; 11-9,  1-6; 29 total points

The Wolverines slide up to ninth despite not having won a game in more than three weeks. Playing Minnesota tough at home was nice enough, but the losses are mounting quickly for what was once the Big Ten’s purported surprise team. Michigan is averaging less than 60 points per game during its losing streak.

8. Northwestern – NR; 13-6, 3-5; 24 total points

The Wildcats vs. teams ranked in the Top 25: 0-5. The Wildcats vs. everyone else: 13-1, the one loss coming to St. John’s. In fact, the only top-six conference team Northwestern has beaten this year, outside the Big Ten, is Georgia Tech, which isn’t exactly a bragging point. Three games coming up against ranked foes provides a good window into what Northwestern will be capable of this season.

7. Penn State – NR; 10-8, 3-4; 20 total points

So the separation between seventh and ninth has come to nine points as the conference has started to settle itself. Right now, the Nittany Lions actually find themselves on the right side of the line right now. Win two of its next three against Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, and Penn State will have earned the respect of a surprised Big Ten. Just ask Purdue.

6. Minnesota – No. 16 AP/No. 18 Coaches; 15-4, 4-3; 19 total points

Minnesota is in a really good place right now, but the Gophers seem to have run the gamut of off-court issues. Royce White’s odd videography left town, and it was replaced by the Devoe Joseph saga, Trevor Mbawke’s legal trouble and now Al Nolen’s foot injury. Tubby Smith might be facing a war of attrition as the season moves into February.

5. Michigan State – No. 25 AP/Receiving votes in Coaches; 12-7, 4-3; 15 total points

Thus begins our unanimous march from No. 5 to No. 1 in this poll. The Spartans have had an up-and-down season by their lofty standards, meaning their next three (Michigan, Indiana, at Iowa) ought to be a welcome reprieve. It could also be a trap — losing any of those three would be tough to swallow, and the road gets tougher (Sparty will play every ranked team in the Big Ten plus Penn State starting Feb. 6).

4. Illinois – No. 20 AP/No. 21 Coaches; 14-6, 4-3; 12 total points

Demetri McCamey’s line against Ohio State: 2-of-11 shooting, five points, four turnovers, five assists, four rebounds. There are nights where McCamey looks like an absolutely unstoppable floor general. Then, there are others. Illinois has a relatively soft schedule coming up, but McCamey can’t be a no-show like that again.

3. Wisconsin – No. 17 AP/No. 15 Coaches; 15-4, 5-2; 9 total points

What’s remarkable about Josh Gasser’s 10-12-10 triple-double against Northwestern (and the first, by the way, in Wisconsin history) isn’t just the feat, but also the fact that the freshman has been relatively absent in Big Ten play thus far. Four made field goals Sunday was one less than in Wisconsin’s other six conference games combined.

2.  Purdue – Consensus No. 12; 17-3, 6-1; 6 total points

Six of the Boilermakers’ next seven are against teams currently ranked in the Top 25. JaJuan Johnson’s development has turned him into one of the country’s best post players, or maybe just players in general. But E’Twaun Moore’s emergence from a four-game mini-slump to score 26 against Michigan State might be the best news for Matt Painter’s boys ahead of the coming month.

1. Ohio State – Consensus No. 1; 20-0, 7-0; 3 total points

Is there really anything else to say about the Buckeyes? Oh sure there is. Aaron Craft is the latest to receive the spotlight enjoyed by the nation’s best team, and with good reason. The freshman point guard is averaging nearly five assists per game, and has an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.26. But would it surprise you to know Craft has a worse turnover percentage than Verdell Jones?

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