Big Ten Power Rankings: January 18
The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the third week of conference play and there are more shakeups in the league’s pecking order. Here’s a look at where each team stands after the third week of Big Ten play (Note: Points per possession numbers in parenthesis are for conference games only):
14. Rutgers (6-12, 0-5, .89 points per possession, 1.21 points per possession allowed) … Bad. Awful. Unwatchable. That’s what Rutgers is. The Scarlet Knights haven’t truly been competitive in any of their conference games this season, and I have a hard time finding a game they might win.
13. Minnesota (6-12, 0-6, .94 points per possession, 1.17 points per possession allowed) … Minnesota found a way to keep things close with Indiana, but despite the score, it never felt like the Golden Gophers would actually pull off the upset. They lack a big time scorer and have one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten. Minnesota will travel to Michigan and play host to Illinois this week.
12. Illinois (9-9, 1-4, 1 point per possession, 1.10 points per possession allowed) … Illinois followed up its big win over Purdue with a home loss to Nebraska by double-digits. You simply cannot do that if you want to move your way up the Big Ten pecking order. It can redeem itself with road wins over Indiana and Minnesota this week.
11. Nebraska (11-8, 3-3, 1.16 points per possession, 1.06 points per possession allowed) … Sure, Nebraska won both of its games this week, but those wins came against Minnesota and Illinois. Nothing about that excites me enough to move them up the rankings. Not to mention its other Big Ten win is against Rutgers which should hardly count as a Big Ten win. Beat Michigan State this week and we’ll talk.
10. Penn State (11-8, 2-4, 1 point per possession, 1.13 points per possession allowed) … Penn State picked up a nice road win at Northwestern this past week. With its next two games very winnable, home vs Wisconsin and away at Ohio State, the next week or so could be big for the Nittany Lions.
9. Northwestern (15-4, 3-3, 1.06 points per possession, 1.03 points per possession allowed) … The Wildcats are a tough team to figure out. They followed a win over Wisconsin with a loss to Penn State. The 15 wins is a great start for Northwestern, but it just hasn’t beaten anyone that moves the needle in terms of an NCAA tournament resume. This will be a fun team to pay attention to from afar to see if it can find its way into that discussion. Road trips to Maryland and Indiana provide two opportunities for big wins.
8. Ohio State (12-7, 4-2, 1.02 points per possession, 1.04 points per possession allowed) … Ohio State could not have played any worse in its first two big road tests on the Big Ten. The Buckeyes looked atrocious against the Hoosiers, and even worse against Maryland. This team still has a long way to go.
7. Wisconsin (10-9, 2-4, 1.04 points per possession, 1.02 points per possession allowed) … The Badgers pulled off a big upset against Michigan State, and have been in every game so far in conference, with no losses by more than six. Wisconsin has to rely too much on its leading scorers Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, but this team is no pushover, despite the ugly basketball it plays.
6. Purdue (15-3, 3-2, 1.07 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … There’s a very clear top six in the Big Ten that would all be in the tournament should it start today. Purdue drops to sixth this week more so because other teams are playing so well. The Illinois loss was a bad one, and the Boilermakers non-conference wins don’t look so great anymore as Vanderbilt and Florida have struggled. Pittsburgh is the best win this team has, and while a good win, I’m not sure it qualifies as great.
5. Michigan (13-5, 3-2, 1.13 points per possession, 1.10 points per possession allowed) … Michigan has looked strong as of late, and has done so without its best player Caris LeVert, who is still out with an undisclosed leg injury. The Wolverines have no bad losses, and picked up that signature win by knocking off Maryland. They hung tough against Iowa before the Hawkeyes pulled away in the final few minutes.
4. Michigan State (16-3, 3-3, 1.13 points per possession, 1.04 points per possession allowed) … Iowa just has Michigan State’s number, as it’s responsible for two of the Spartans three losses. Wisconsin, however, is the team that knocks MSU down to four in the rankings. Normally there’s no shame in losing at the Kohl Center, but when it came to deciding the order of these top six teams, the three conference losses stuck out. Tom Izzo will have things straightened out in no time, though, so don’t expect to see them stay outside the top three for long.
3. Indiana (15-3, 5-0, 1.07 points per possession, .93 points per possession allowed) … Surprise! Indiana has continued to win the games it’s supposed to win, something much easier said than done. The defense has improved and the team looks more mature. Having the big boys of the conference later in the season may prove to be a really good thing for the Hoosiers, who will be able to face them at their best. In-game adjustments are being made, and while the offense isn’t as explosive without James Blackmon Jr., the defense is a heck of a lot better. It’ll be tough for anyone to beat IU in Assembly Hall.
2. Maryland (16-2, 5-1, 1.14 points per possession, .95 points per possession allowed) … Maryland suffered its first loss in the Big Ten to Michigan this past week, but it bounced back by blowing the doors off of Ohio State. After a home game against Northwestern, we’ll finally get to see the Terps take on the Spartans and the Hawkeyes.
1. Iowa (14-3, 5-0, 1.17 points per possession, .99 points per possession allowed) … Iowa is riding a seven-game winning streak that includes wins over Michigan State (twice), Purdue and Michigan. There’s no team in The Big Ten that can say anything close to that. There doesn’t seem to be a weakness with this team, and is led by Jared Uthoff’s 18.4 points per game.
Filed to: Big Ten Power Rankings