Big Ten Power Rankings: February 3

  • 02/03/2014 10:10 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week as conference play continues to prove to be, well, unpredictable. This week’s rankings feature another set of shake-ups after yet another wild week in conference action that saw plenty of upsets.

Without further ado, check out where each team stands after week five of league play: 

12. Illinois (13-9, 2-7, PPP: .94, PPP Allowed: 1.03) (LAST WEEK: 11) …  Illinois’s slide to the bottom of the Big Ten became complete on Saturday, as the Illini scored its most points since Jan. 4 against Penn State but allowed 81 points en route to a seven-point loss at home to Iowa. The Illini haven’t won since that game against the Nittany Lions and will get their second chance at the Nittany Lions this week in State College. (Up next: Feb. 4 vs. Wisconsin, Feb. 9 at Penn State) 

11. Purdue (13-9, 3-6, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 9) … After two losses this week on the road — one to a surging Michigan squad and another to Penn State on Sunday — the Boilermakers find themselves on a four-game losing streak and near the bottom of the Big Ten standings, once again. Though Purdue is rebounding 36.1 percent of its misses in Big Ten play, it hasn’t really mattered much, as it is shooting only a 42.9 effective field goal percentage (second-worst in conference action) and is getting 14.4 percent of its shots blocked. (Up next: Feb. 5 vs. Minnesota, Feb. 8 at Ohio State)

10. Penn State (12-10, 3-6, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (LAST WEEK: 12) … Make it a three-game winning streak for Pat Chambers and crew, as the Nittany Lions shocked Ohio State in Columbus this past week thanks to a D.J. Newbill game-winning jumper in overtime and followed it with a dominant performance at home against Purdue on Sunday. After losing so many close games this season, it looks as if the Nittany Lions have finally found their winning ways. And in a Big Ten season as unpredictable as this, there could be plenty of more opportunities to come. (Up next: Feb. 6 at Michigan State, Feb. 9 vs. Illinois)

9. Wisconsin (17-5, 4-5, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Perhaps last week’s win at Purdue was more of a fluke than a sign of stability in Madison. With two home games against Northwestern and a struggling Ohio State squad, Bo Ryan and company had plenty of opportunities to right the ship. They lost both games, including a nine-point loss at the hands of the Wildcats. Wisconsin has lost its edge on offense — it averaged well-below its season norm in its two losses this week — and suddenly, winning in the Kohl Center isn’t a given, anymore. (Up next: Feb. 4 at Illinois, Feb. 9 vs. Michigan State)

8. Nebraska (11-9, 3-5, PPP: .97, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Well, perhaps one thing is clear about the Cornhuskers this season: Not many opponents will be able to come into Pinnacle Bank Arena and leave with a ‘W’. The Cornhuskers’ second half against Indiana this week was extremely impressive, as a 66.7 eFG% effort boosted them to victory over the Hoosiers. However, Nebraska still hasn’t won in an opponent’s arena all season, with four of its five Big Ten losses coming on the road. And both of the Cornhuskers’ games this week will be away from Lincoln. (Up next: Feb. 5 at Michigan, Feb. 8 at Northwestern)

7. Indiana (14-8, 4-5, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hoosiers are a young team. One night they can look like they can beat anyone and the next disappear for an entire half. Thus was the case this past week, in which the volatile Hoosiers allowed a 16-point lead at Nebraska to evaporate into a loss and then followed it with beating Michigan — a team that had not lost since mid-December — on Sunday. Indiana, however, is only 1-3 on the road in Big Ten play and needs to prove it can beat a solid opponent on the road, too, if it wants to be considered amongst the conference’s top five. (Up next: Feb. 8 at Minnesota)

6. Minnesota (15-7, 4-5, PPP: 1.09, PPP Allowed: 1.10) (LAST WEEK: 5) … The Golden Gophers’ 55-54 home loss to Northwestern on Saturday was almost inexplicable, as they allowed a 3-point jumper to Tre Demps in the final minute and then missed two shots of their own in the final 12 seconds that might have won the game. Minnesota, though, never had a lead larger than four points the entire game and finds itself on a two-game losing streak with losses to Nebraska and Northwestern. (Up next: Feb. 5 at Purdue, Feb. 8 vs. Indiana)

5. Ohio State (17-5, 4-5, PPP: 1.02, PPP Allowed: .99) (LAST WEEK: 6) … After what was, in all honesty, an embarrassing loss at home to Penn State on Wednesday, the Buckeyes redeemed themselves on Saturday and grinded to a 59-58 win at Wisconsin. Ohio State started this season 2-0 in conference play. But after losing four straight, the Buckeyes have won two of their past three and appear to be showing life, despite their offense still struggling. (Up next: Feb. 4 at Iowa, Feb. 8 vs. Purdue) 

4. Northwestern (12-11, 5-5, PPP: .87, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (LAST WEEK: 10) … As crazy as it might sound, Northwestern is the hottest team in the Big Ten, at the moment. Not many expected the Wildcats to win at Wisconsin AND Minnesota this past week, but that is exactly what happened. Chris Collins’s team has no business being No. 4 in the Big Ten standings more than halfway through their conference slate, especially in year one of his tenure. But after both wins on the road this week — they are now on a 3-game Big Ten road winning streak for the first time in 54 years — the Wildcats deserve to be in the top four, right now. (Up next: Feb. 8 vs. Nebraska)

3. Iowa (17-5, 6-3, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: .98) (LAST WEEK: 3) … Tuesday’s overtime loss against a banged-up Michigan State squad might have been a bit deflating for an Iowa team looking for a signature home win. But instead of letting that loss loom large, the Hawkeyes simply responded at Illinois and held on for an 81-74 victory, despite giving up a 21-point lead at one point. Despite how unpredictable the Big Ten has been this season, the Hawkeyes have really avoided much of the drama and upsets other teams have been prone to. And credit that to Fran McCaffery and the experience of this Iowa squad.  (Up next: Feb. 4 vs. Ohio State, Feb. 8 vs. Michigan)

2. Michigan State (19-3, 7-1, PPP: 1.10, PPP Allowed: .96) (LAST WEEK: 2) … As banged up as the Spartans are, right now, Tuesday’s win at Iowa was huge for their confidence moving forward. They proved they can win without two of their typical starters in Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson, and though injuries perhaps came back to bite them on Saturday against Georgetown, there is no reason the Spartans can’t continue to win in the Big Ten. After all, the Spartans have the No. 1 defense in conference play and have a top-four offense to pair with it.  (Up next: Feb. 6 vs. Penn State, Feb. 9 at Wisconsin)

1. Michigan (16-5, 8-1, PPP: 1.16, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (LAST WEEK: 1) … Michigan remains No. 1 in this week’s power rankings, even after Sunday’s loss at Indiana. The Hoosiers exposed the Wolverines’s offensive screens and made Nik Stauskas a non-factor, something that no other Big Ten team has been able to achieve this season. But that speaks words to how effective Michigan’s offense has been this season. As far as offensive efficiency goes, no team has been better in Big Ten play than the Wolverines. And through eight of their first nine games — five of those on the road — offense has carried them to an 8-1 start. That’s enough to keep them at No. 1. (Up next: Feb. 5 vs. Nebraska, Feb. 8 at Iowa)

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