Big Ten Power Rankings: March 3

  • 03/03/2014 1:05 pm in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back as we enter the final week of conference play. This week’s rankings feature a couple shake-ups in the top four and several throughout the bottom seven, as we head into the final stretch of what has been a thrilling regular season.

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

12. Northwestern (12-17, 5-11, PPP: .89, PPP Allowed: 1.03) (LAST WEEK: 12) … The Wildcats remain at the bottom of this week’s power rankings as their lone game last week, at Nebraska, resulted in a 54-47 loss. They played it to the pace they want — a 57-possession game — but as of recently the Wildcats just simply haven’t been able to win those types of games. They’re now on a six-game losing streak entering the final week of the season. (Up next: March 6 vs. Penn State, March 9 at Purdue)

11. Purdue (15-14, 5-11, PPP: 1.0, PPP Allowed: 1.07) (LAST WEEK: 8) … It’s hard to look past the Boilermakers’ loss to Michigan this past week, in which the Boilermakers had every opportunity to knock out the Big Ten leader. But the Wolverines came storming back, forced overtime without ever even holding a lead in the game and won on a last-second lay-up from Glenn Robinson III. And the Boilermakers followed that with a deflating loss at Iowa on Sunday in which they, again, got close and couldn’t finish the deal. Purdue, this season, doesn’t have one win over a team ranked in the top 50. They’re the only Big Ten team without one. (Up next: March 5 at Wisconsin, March 9 vs. Northwestern)

10. Penn State (14-15, 5-11, PPP: 1.0, PPP Allowed: 1.08) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Last week in our power rankings, we mentioned how it might be tough for the Nittany Lions to win another game this season. Well, on Thursday, against an Ohio State squad that had won six of its past seven games, the Nittany Lions did just that in a 65-63 shocker over the Buckeyes. D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier again carried the Nittany Lions, and they held firm when Ohio State had the chance to win at the end of regulation. Not to mention, it gave the Nittany Lions the season sweep of the Buckeyes. (Up next: March 6 at Northwestern, March 9 at Minnesota)

9. Minnesota (18-12, 7-10, PPP: 1.04, PPP Allowed: 1.08) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Golden Gophers drop to No. 9 in this week’s power rankings having lost three of their past four games heading into their final regular season game this upcoming Sunday against Penn State. They did, however, beat a ranked Iowa squad, 95-89, in a shootout in Minneapolis on Tuesday. (Up next: March 9 vs. Penn State)

8. Illinois (17-12, 6-10, PPP: .95, PPP Allowed: 1.0) (LAST WEEK: 10) …  It took quite a while, but this, perhaps, is the Illinois team we’ve been waiting to see all along. With two wins over a hot Nebraska team at home and a stout Michigan State squad in East Lansing, the Fighting Illini find themselves on a three-game winning streak, having held opponents to less than 50 points in four straight games. The Illini’s offense has been slow to come around, but with the defense stepping up, they certainly are on the up-swing heading into the final week of the season. (Up next: March 4 vs. Michigan, March 8 at Iowa) 

7. Indiana (17-12, 7-9, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.02) (LAST WEEK: 9) … There was a stretch this season, that as of a few weeks ago, the Hoosiers had lost six of their previous eight games. That streak is no more with the Hoosiers having won three of their past four, including two straight over ranked opponents in Iowa and Ohio State. Still, with no road wins to boast outside of Penn State and Northwestern, an NCAA tournament bid remains a long shot for the Hoosiers. (Up next: March 5 vs. Nebraska, March 8 at Michigan)

6. Nebraska (17-11, 9-7, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: .99) (LAST WEEK: 6) … Wednesday’s loss at Illinois was a bit of a let-down as the freight train that had been Nebraska basketball suddenly slowed down after an off night from Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. But the Cornhuskers picked it right up on Sunday and grinded out a win against Northwestern. With just two games to go before the Big Ten tournament, it will be crucial for the Cornhuskers to pick up at least one more win if they want to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. (Up next: March 5 at Indiana, March 9 vs. Wisconsin)

5. Ohio State (22-8, 9-8, PPP: 1.02, PPP Allowed: .96) (LAST WEEK: 5) … After Sunday’s loss at Indiana, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta admitted his team has a bit of a confidence issue right now. After two straight losses to Penn State and Indiana after scares the week before against Northwestern and Minnesota, it’s not difficult to see why. The Buckeyes’ offense struggled, especially, against the Hoosiers, but they will get one more chance to rebound before traveling to Indianapolis with a rematch against Michigan State on Sunday. (Up next: March 9 vs. Michigan State) 

4. Michigan State (22-7, 11-5, PPP: 1.10, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (LAST WEEK: 3) … It’s been mentioned time and time again how injuries have derailed Michigan State this season. That perhaps, we’ll never get to see the full potential of this Spartans squad. Well, on Saturday, the Spartans got Branden Dawson back but still struggled immensely in a 53-46 loss — at home — to Illinois. Michigan State started this season 18-1. But since, they are just 4-6, limping to the end of the season with a tough final two games still to play before the Big Ten tournament next week.(Up next: March 6 vs. Iowa, March 9 at Ohio State)

3. Iowa (20-9, 9-7, PPP: 1.13, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (LAST WEEK: 4) … The Hawkeyes had a rough stretch this past week that included two losses (at Minnesota and at Indiana) in which opponents scored a combined 188 points. And both those games were in regulation. But this late in the season, it’s important for teams to bounce back, and the Hawkeyes did just that with a win at home over Purdue on Sunday.  But heading into their final two games of the regular season, defense remains a glaring issue for Fran McCaffery’s squad. (Up next: March 6 at Michigan State, March 8 vs. Illinois)

2. Wisconsin (24-5, 11-5, PPP: 1.13, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (LAST WEEK: 2) … The Badgers are on a tear, and it appears nobody can stop them. Even trailing by 10, at home, to Indiana early last week, the Badgers kicked into another gear and ran the Hoosiers out of the Kohl Center in a 69-58 win. And at Penn State on Sunday, though the Nittany Lions played them close, the Badgers got the big shots to fall in a 71-66 victory in State College. And with two very winnable games this week, the Badgers have the chance to finish the regular season on a nine-game winning streak. (Up next: March 5 vs. Purdue, March 9 at Nebraska)

1. Michigan (21-7, 13-3, PPP: 1.15, PPP Allowed: 1.07) (LAST WEEK: 1) … Big Ten champions. Who would have thought, after the Wolverines’ loss to Charlotte on Nov. 24, that Michigan would have a two-game lead on the rest of the Big Ten with one week to go? But here is John Beilein’s squad, guaranteed at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title with the conference’s No. 1 offense and two opportunities this week to clinch the outright title. (Up next: March 4 at Illinois, March 8 vs. Indiana)

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  • Hoosier Hall

    Michigan will probably beat Illinois and that will clinch it for them. At that point, maybe their guard will be down long enough for us to land a haymaker in Ann Arbor! Assuming we exact revenge on Nebraska, that should make it close for us to make the tournament cut. For some reason, I think 20 wins is the magic # for us. There has to be a lot of credit given to any Big 10 team with at least 20 wins. Yeah we have those bad losses, but we’re not the only team that lost to Northwestern or Penn State @ home.

  • MillaRed

    As crazy as this season has been, we knock off Nebraska and jump to #6 in the B1G, we have my preseason prediction. Guess I can’t be too disappointed.

  • Cooley

    Honestly, if we win our next two games and make a solid run in the Big Ten Tournament, I would definitely say we’d have a solid chance of being back in the talks for the Tournament. However, if we lose either one of the next two games, I’d say the only way we’ll get in is if we win the Big Ten Tournament.

  • kaponya44

    I am wondering the same thing and mentioned it in The Minute After thread last night . If they clinch there could be an effect. From my understanding of basketball through the years – with Michigan having lost Burke and Hardaway – it is the only real point of vulnerability I can imagine them having from a mental standpoint . I know there will be motivation to send their Seniors out with a “W” and possibly some revenge factor at play given they have dropped 3 straight to IU now including the BT regular season clincher up last year..

  • Ole Man

    Can’t believe IU is giving up that many pts per game. Explains a lot.

  • Gregory Spera

    4-3 against the top half. 3-6 against the bottom half. Unbelievable.

  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    IF we can beat Nebraska and Michigan, and win our first Big Ten tourney game and not get embarrassed in the second, we should be in. Think about it: We’ll have finished the regular season with four straight wins, with three coming over ranked NCAA locks (ne being the conference champ). Our record would be 20-13 with a .500 conference record with a very strong finish, I’d say we’d most likely be in in that scenario. Plus, being Indiana isn’t exactly going to hurt us. But for all I know we’ll probably get killed by Nebraska, turn around and beat Michigan and then take a giant crap in the Big Ten tournament.

  • Can’t argue too much with these rankings, but I’d actually put Ohio State at 7 and move IU and Nebraska up a spot each if it reflects where teams are at right now. OSU lost a couple and IU is hot. If IU beats Nebraska, then I’d move IU past Nebraska.

    Glad the Hoosiers didn’t throw in the towel after the PSU collapse and Purdue debacle. But as a fan, I can’t stop thinking how much that PSU loss (above all others) might mean in the end. Had IU finished that game, they are 8-8, and looking at a split for 9-9 and most definitely on the bubble.

    Again, glad that the team got past those games, but I don’t know that the committee will be able to, even if IU finishes strong.

  • Different teams obviously, but Michigan is surely ready to exact revenge from last season. They might be more vulnerable against Illinois by looking toward the IU game.

    And how is it possible we finish at Michigan in back to back years?

  • JetpackJunky

    The loss at PU is undoubtedly in my mind connected to the loss to PSU. We played without energy, defeated and hurt. It’s exactly the kind of crisis of confidence Thad talked about striking OSU yesterday.

  • Kenneth234

    Other than we may just match up well against Michigan.

  • VAHoosier

    Only 4 teams better than us on a per possession basis. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to sneeze at, neither.

  • VAHoosier

    Plus we’d have at least 5 wins against RPI top-50 teams, 3 of which would be against RPI top-15 teams, and we’d have beaten 5 ranked opponents. Not too many other teams could make similar boasts.

  • SCHoosier

    If the W-Rines have already clinched the championship they may be in a “let down” mode. One can only hope..but first let’s deal with NEB..don’t win that one IU would have to win B-10 tourney to make the Dance.

  • ’11Hoosier

    I agree with HoosierSmitty, Michigan has only lost 14 games since their run last year with 3 of those loses coming at the hands of IU. I think CTC has John Beilein’s number.

  • Michael R

    If we beat Nebraska and win 2 games in the big ten tourney (one of which will come against an NCAA Tourney Team on a neutral court), I believe we are in, regardless of whether we win at Michigan or not. Nebraska may lose first game of Big Ten Tourney and Minnesota will not do anything either. If the NCAA committee puts 6 teams in the dance from the big ten (which the projections all season point to), then we are really competing against Nebraska and Minnesota for that 6th selection. We would have played better lately coming into the tournament than Nebraska (who will lose their last two games on the regular season and only win one game max in Big Ten Tourney) and Minnesota (who will finish with an 8-10 record in conference play and win only one game max in the Big Ten Tourney). Sure Indiana has had some bad losses, but so has everyone else. Winning on a neutral court counts as a road win and we would have won 3 of 5 road games to finish the season (assuming we do not win at Michigan).

    We win against Nebraska and at Michigan with one win in the Big Ten Tourney, I believe we should be in as well. I know that I am a homer for IU BB, but with who we are competing against as bubble teams, ending the season any of these ways mentioned before should get us in. Plus someone mentioned it before, but being Indiana will help us come Selection Sunday (we are a blueblood program for college basketball and politics go a long way into that selection).

  • Kyl470

    Sadly if the team is 6-3 vs. the bottoms six this season looks a whole lot different and by different I mean much brighter.

  • Lance

    Playing to the level of their opponents?

  • IUBizmark

    There area lot of reasons for UM to crush IU in that game. Senior night, revenge and future recruiting being a few of the more important ones. Make no mistake, they will be licking their chops as soon as we get off the bus. Hoosiers better come ready for a battle.

    I’d love nothing more than to plant the seed in Michigan’s head that Crean has Beilein’s number. I asked UM fans about it a few days back and they said no. They said they just think IU beating them over the past few years is just IU being IU. We shall see.