Big Ten Power Rankings: February 10

  • 02/10/2014 9:31 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week as conference play has passed its halfway point with less than a month remaining until the end of the regular season. This week’s rankings feature more shake-ups as upsets have become the norm this season in conference play.

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

12. Penn State (12-12, 3-8, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.08) (LAST WEEK: 10) … The Nittany Lions had plenty of chances to bring home a victory on Sunday against an Illinois squad on an eight-game losing streak, but once again they couldn’t close out a win on their home court. It appeared the Nittany Lions were making progress, winning their past two on their home court against Purdue and Nebraska, but Sunday’s loss was more like their early-season struggles where they could not close out a home victory. (Up next: Feb. 12 at Indiana, Feb. 15 vs. Iowa)

11. Illinois (14-10, 3-8, PPP: .96, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 12) …  Well, the eight-game losing streak is finally over, and many thanks can go to freshman Kendrick Nunn’s game-sealing 3-pointer with about 22 seconds left, three of his 19 points on Sunday afternoon. Still, two of the Fighting Illini’s three conference wins have come against Penn State, so they don’t move up much after their first win in more than a month. (Up next: Feb. 12 at Nebraska, Feb. 15 vs. Ohio State) 

10. Purdue (14-10, 4-7, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (LAST WEEK: 11) … The Boilermakers snapped their four-game losing streak this past week in what was a battle of attrition against Minnesota — a triple overtime, 77-74 win against a team that had lost two straight. They followed that with an 18-point loss at Ohio State on Sunday. Right now, the Boilermakers have both an offense and defense ranked in the bottom third in the conference, with their only other wins coming against Illinois, Penn State and Nebraska. (Up next: Feb. 15 vs. Indiana)

9. Indiana (14-9, 4-6, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 7) … Once again, Indiana had a double-digit lead on the road on Saturday at Minnesota, and once again the Hoosiers couldn’t close it out with another lackluster second-half performance. Given how strong the Big Ten is, wins away from home certainly don’t come easy. But for a team fighting to stay alive in the NCAA tournament conversation, each loss is another opportunity slipping away.  (Up next: Feb. 12 vs. Penn State, Feb. 15 at Purdue)

8. Nebraska (12-10, 4-6, PPP: .94, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 8) … The Cornhuskers needed exactly three months to do it, but on Saturday they picked up their first road win of the season in a 53-49 victory at Northwestern. Granted, only three days earlier they lost by 29 points at Michigan — which is why they remain at No. 8 in this week’s rankings — but any win away from Pinnacle Bank Arena is progress for Tim Miles’s team. And beating a hot Northwestern squad in Evanston is just what they needed.  (Up next: Feb. 12 vs. Illinois, Feb. 16 at Michigan State)

7. Minnesota (16-8, 5-6, PPP: 1.07, PPP Allowed: 1.08) (LAST WEEK: 6) … Minnesota’s three-game slide (that included losses to Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue) ended on Saturday with a second-half comeback victory against Indiana. However, the Golden Gophers have been somewhat doomed by offensive inconsistencies in their past four games. On Saturday in the second half, that offense showed up, as a DeAndre Mathieu drive and layup in the waning seconds clinched the Gophers’ victory over the Hoosiers. (Up next: Feb. 13 at Wisconsin, Feb. 16 at Northwestern)

6. Northwestern (12-12, 5-6, PPP: .86, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 4) … Perhaps the spell has been broken, but after winning four of their previous five games, the Wildcats lost 53-49 at home on Saturday to Nebraska, a team that had previously never won on the road. The Wildcats aren’t necessarily a team that can come back from big deficits in a little amount of time — just simply based on the offense they have — and a Walter Pritchford 3-pointer with 2:29 left sealed the Wildcats’ fate. Still, give Northwestern’s defense credit. They have allowed 60 points in regulation only once in the past month, as they boast the No. 4 defense in the Big Ten. (Up next: Feb. 13 at Michigan State, Feb. 16 vs. Minnesota)

5. Wisconsin (19-5, 6-5, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: 1.03) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Desperately needing a win at Illinois last Tuesday, Bo Ryan’s team held on and pulled away for a 75-63 victory. And on Sunday, with all eyes on the Badgers with a nationally-broadcast game on CBS, they snapped a three-game home losing streak in a 60-58 upset of Michigan State. The past few weeks haven’t been easy for Badgers fans, but perhaps the turmoil has ended with these past two victories. (Up next: Feb. 13 vs. Minnesota, Feb. 16 at Michigan)

4. Ohio State (19-5, 6-5, PPP: 1.04, PPP Allowed: .98) (LAST WEEK: 5) … Here come the Buckeyes. After hitting what appeared to be rock bottom last week in a loss at home to Penn State, the Buckeyes have won three straight, this past week winning at Iowa — a feat only one other team has accomplished this season — and then cruising at home over Purdue. No other Big Ten team is on a three-game winning streak, at the moment, so the Buckeyes’ return to an above-.500 conference record is certainly significant.(Up next: Feb. 11 vs. Michigan, Feb. 15 at Illinois) 

3. Iowa (18-6, 7-4, PPP: 1.12, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 3) … The Hawkeyes remain No. 3 in this week’s power rankings after a home loss to Ohio State put them well-behind Michigan and Michigan State in the Big Ten standings, but they made up ground this past weekend with a dominating, 85-67 win over the Wolverines in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In that game, the Hawkeyes simply shot lights-out from the floor, but it was only their second win this entire season against a team ranked in the top 40 of the RPI. (Up next: Feb. 15 at Penn State)

2. Michigan (17-6, 9-2, PPP: 1.16, PPP Allowed: 1.06) (LAST WEEK: 1) … After Saturday’s blowout loss at Iowa, the Wolverines find themselves having lost two of their past three games after starting the Big Ten season 8-0 and on a 10-game winning streak. Granted, those two losses have come against teams that have significant home-court advantages in Indiana and Iowa. A 79-50 blowout victory over a surging Nebraska squad in Ann Arbor on Wednesday shows the Wolverines are OK, but their No. 10 defense of 12 teams in the Big Ten will certainly be tested with a tough three-game stretch coming up.  (Up next: Feb. 11 at Ohio State, Feb. 16 vs. Wisconsin)

1. Michigan State (20-4, 8-2, PPP: 1.09, PPP Allowed: .96) (LAST WEEK: 2) … Injuries continue to be the major theme for Michigan State this season. After Adreian Payne returned from his sprained foot, now Tom Izzo is saying point guard Keith Appling will miss significant time with a wrist injury. But even with all those injuries, the Spartans have been one of the top teams in the Big Ten. Even considering their loss at Wisconsin on Sunday, the Spartans proved dangerous until the final seconds. And at 8-2 in the Big Ten, they only have room to improve. (Up next: Feb. 13 vs. Northwestern, Feb. 16 vs. Nebraska)

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