Big Ten Power Rankings: February 9

  • 02/09/2015 10:24 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week, as Wisconsin has pulled away with a three-game lead while the next six teams in the standings each have four losses.

Here’s a look at where each team stands following the sixth week of play in 2015: 

14. Northwestern (10-13, 1-9, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 14) The Wildcats’ losing streak stretched to nine games this past week after losses on the road to Nebraska and Wisconsin. The two losses, though, were unlike their previous six — in that each were by double-digit margins. They also included two of their three worst defensive performances thus far this Big Ten season — with top five Big Ten offenses Iowa and Michigan State looming on the schedule this week.  (Next up: Feb. 10 vs. Michigan State; Feb. 15 vs. Iowa)

13. Rutgers (10-15, 2-10, PPP: .90, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (Last week: 13) When their losing streak was at six games after a loss at Indiana, Scarlet Knights coach Eddie Jordan said he was used to leading losing teams. They have yet to find that elusive win — losing their two games this past week by double digit margins to both Illinois and Ohio State. Most notable about the Scarlet Knights’ struggles, though, has been their offense. Just how bad is it? Their points per possession rate is the second worst in league play dating back to the 2004-2005 season. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Purdue)

12. Penn State (15-9, 3-8, PPP: .99, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 12) They did not have great offense in either of their two games this past week, with just .85 points per possession against Maryland and a 25.8 percent turnover rate against Nebraska, but the Nittany Lions split results and have three wins in their past five after their 0-6 start to Big Ten play. Their defense in their win against Nebraska was stellar, too — as they forced the Cornhuskers into shooting a dreadful 15-of-51 from the floor. (Next up: Feb. 11 at Ohio State; Feb. 14 vs. Maryland)

11. Nebraska (13-10, 5-6, PPP: .94, PPP Allowed: .99) (Last week: 11) After two poor offensive outings in the week prior, the Cornhuskers in their two games this past week had near polar-opposite performances. In a win against Northwestern, they shot a 74.4 eFG% and came up with 1.32 points per possession — their best offensive output under Tim Miles. They followed that with a 56-43 loss at Penn State — managing to set their season-worst offensive performances (in points per possession) in back-to-back weeks. So which is the real Nebraska? Well, neither — but it has posted at least 1.00 points per possession in just four of their 11 Big Ten games this season. (Next up: Feb. 10 vs. Wisconsin; Feb. 15 at Purdue)

10. Minnesota (15-9, 4-7, PPP: 1.01, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 10) The Golden Gophers had just one game this past week — a 62-58 win against Purdue — but in it they showed the keys to their success this season. First, the leading Big Ten team in forcing turnovers created 23 Purdue give-aways. Second, the league’s No. 3 defense got stops when they needed it — as a 21-2 run put the Boilermakers out of contention despite a late-game comeback. They have won two straight games and three of their past four now, however a tough schedule — that includes two games against Wisconsin — remains. (Next up: Feb. 12 at Iowa; Feb. 15 at Indiana)

9. Michigan (13-11, 6-6, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.04) (Last week: 7) With Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. — two of their three double-digit scorers — sidelined with foot injuries, the biggest question the Wolverines have faced is where does the scoring come from? In a 72-54 loss to Iowa on Thursday, the Wolverines took 24 3-point attempts and made just seven. In fact, they took more 3s than they did 2s — despite shooting better than 50 percent inside. And in a 70-67 loss at Indiana, the Wolverines simply did not have the scoring consistency to match the Hoosiers. They recorded better than one point per possession in each game — but against high-powered offenses like the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers have, they couldn’t match either. (Next up: Feb. 12 at Iowa)

8. Illinois (16-8, 6-5, PPP: 1.00, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (Last week: 9) The Fighting Illini are slowly climbing back into the NCAA tournament conversation having won their two games this past week at home against Rutgers and on the road at Michigan State. The win in East Lansing was especially significant — as they allowed the Spartans to shoot just 38.5 percent from the floor on their home court. It also was just their second win on the road this season in seven games. And remember: The Fighting Illini are doing this all without guards Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby, who are recovering from injuries and remain suspended. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Michigan; Feb. 15 at Wisconsin)

7. Michigan State (15-8, 6-4, PPP: 1.05, PPP Allowed: .97) (Last week: 4) … They had nearly a week to prepare for Illinois, but when it came to game time on Saturday against the Fighting Illini, the Spartans fell short — to the tune of their lowest points output of the season. Their 38.5 percent shooting rate was poor — but even worse was their 7-for-18 mark from the free throw line. It had Spartans coach Tom Izzo “really ticked off” after the game, and he also called his team’s performance one of his more disappointing losses, especially after holding a depleted Illinois side to less than a point per possession and a 41.2 field goal percentage. (Next up: Feb. 10 at Northwestern; Feb. 14 vs. Ohio State)

6. Indiana (17-7, 7-4, PPP: 1.12, PPP Allowed: 1.14) (Last week: 6) By no means have they been convincing, but the Hoosiers find themselves tied for second place in the Big Ten with just seven games to go. Tuesday’s loss at Wisconsin was bad — the Badgers’ 92 points were the most the Hoosiers have allowed against a Big Ten team in more than four years — but they responded on Sunday with a 70-67 win over Michigan. Even then, however, they allowed a late flood of Wolverines points that nearly cost the Hoosiers a win. That said, though, the Hoosiers have found ways to win in close games this season. And that has them in position for an NCAA tournament bid this season. (Next up: Feb. 11 at Maryland; Feb. 15 vs. Minnesota)

5. Maryland (19-5, 7-4, PPP: .98, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 3) Away from College Park, the Terrapins look lost. Case in point: On Sunday in Iowa City, the Terps fell behind to Iowa, 22-3, before going on to lose, 71-55. That’s also coming off 19-point and 24-point losses to Indiana and Ohio State on the road, as well. Maryland hasn’t lost in College Park, however, since Dec. 3 against a top-5 Virginia squad — most recently holding off Penn State this past Wednesday. The schedule is favorable for the Terps in their next five as four will be played at home in the Xfinity Center. (Next up: Feb. 11 vs. Indiana; Feb. 14 at Penn State)

4. Purdue (15-9, 7-4, PPP: 1.04, PPP Allowed: 1.00) (Last week: 5) … It came inside Mackey Arena, but Purdue’s win over a surging Ohio State on Wednesday served as proof: The Boilermakers are a team to contend with in the Big Ten this season. They got to the free throw line. They were a presence inside. They forced turnovers. It all led to a 60-58 win. In Minneapolis three days later, the Boilermakers’ four-game win streak came to an end — as the Golden Gophers’ 21-2 second half run was too much for Purdue to overcome. But despite being predicted to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings, here the Boilermakers are — tied for second in the league. (Next up: Feb. 12 at Rutgers; Feb. 15 vs. Nebraska)

3. Iowa (15-8, 6-4, PPP: 1.13, PPP Allowed: 1.13) (Last week: 8) This past week, the “good” Hawkeyes were on display. After losing their past three, they went into Ann Arbor on Thursday and exploded for 1.38 points per possession and a 72-54 win. And then on Sunday against Maryland, they overwhelmed the Terrapins from the start in a 71-55 win. The offense has always been there for the Hawkeyes, but here is the more telling statistic from their two wins this week: Those games were their two best defensive performances in more than a month. (Next up: Feb. 12 vs. Minnesota; Feb. 15 at Northwestern)

2. Ohio State (18-6, 7-4, PPP: 1.11, PPP Allowed: 1.01) (Last week: 2) Despite losing at Purdue this past Wednesday, the Buckeyes remain at No. 2 following Sunday’s win at Rutgers. Winning on the road in this league is never easy — road teams in Big Ten play have the worst winning percentage out of any league in the country — and the Buckeyes fell just short of that against the Boilermakers. But they rebounded with a 19-point win in Piscataway — one that included the Buckeyes’ fourth triple double in program history and first ever from a freshman. Who did it? None other than D’Angelo Russell, who finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the win. (Next up: Feb. 11 vs. Penn State; Feb. 14 at Michigan State) 

1. Wisconsin (21-2, 9-1, PPP: 1.28, PPP Allowed: 1.05) (Last week: 1)  The Badgers continue to roll, with two wins this past week over Indiana and Northwestern in Madison. But perhaps what’s even more impressive about their run of dominance atop the league is that they’re even outpacing their offensive efficiency ratings from the non-conference season — the only Big Ten team to do so this season and the first since the Badgers did it in the 2010-2011 season. In fact, the Badgers’ overall adjusted offensive efficiency per possession mark this season is on track to being the highest has ever tracked — dating back to the 2001-2002 season. (Next up: Feb. 10 at Nebraska; Feb. 15 vs. Illinois)

Filed to: