Big Ten Power Rankings: February 8

  • 02/08/2016 9:35 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the sixth 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 sixth week of Big Ten play (Note: Points per possession numbers in parenthesis are for conference games only):

14. Rutgers (6-18, 0-11, .91 points per possession, 1.24 points per possession allowed) … Rutgers went to triple overtime against Illinois which is almost a win!

13. Minnesota (6-17, 0-11, .94 points per possession, 1.1 points per possession allowed) … The Golden Gophers followed a string of close losses by getting their doors blown off at Northwestern. There simply aren’t many positives for this team right now, other than the fact they don’t have the label of the worst team in the conference thanks to Rutgers.

12. Illinois (11-13, 3-8, .97 points per possession, 1.08 points per possession allowed) … Illinois picked up its third conference win on Wednesday with a triple overtime triumph over Rutgers. It proceeded to be spanked by Iowa on Super Bowl Sunday. Malcolm Hill is a great scorer, averaging more than 19 points a game, but he isn’t enough to carry the team by himself.

11. Northwestern (16-8, 4-7, 1 point per possession, 1.06 points per possession allowed) … The easy non-conference schedule continues to make the Wildcats record look better than the team really is. However, with a win in their only game this week against Minnesota, the NIT is still a real possibility. Ohio State and Illinois are on Northwestern’s schedule this week.

10. Penn State (12-12, 3-8, .95 points per possession, 1.1 points per possession allowed) … Penn State absolutely shocked Indiana on Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. The win bumps the Nittany Lions up a spot in this week’s rankings, and could serve as a momentum booster for Pat Chambers and his squad which has played arguably the toughest schedule in Big Ten play.

9. Nebraska (13-11, 5-6, 1.12 points per possession, 1.09 points per possession allowed) … Nebraska lost close to Maryland and blew out Rutgers, but neither was the story this week. Shavon Shields fell to the floor hard against the Scarlet Knights and was taken to the hospital. He has since been released. The Cornhuskers will look to keep NIT hopes alive against Wisconsin and Penn State this week.

8. Ohio State (14-10, 6-5, 1 point per possession, 1.02 points per possession allowed) … The Buckeyes dropped their only game of the week at Wisconsin, and continue to hover in the middle of the pack. They should have a nice recovery week against Northwestern and Rutgers.

7. Michigan (17-7, 7-4, 1.11 points per possession, 1.09 points per possession allowed) … Talk about a bad week. Michigan had an opportunity to grab two statement wins in its home arena, but got blown out instead in each. The Wolverines had no answer for Indiana during its 28-0 run, and followed it up getting stomped on by their rivals from East Lansing. Michigan desperately needs Caris LeVert to come back.

6. Wisconsin (14-9, 6-4, 1.06 points per possession, 1.01 points per possession allowed) … Wisconsin continues to be the hottest team in the Big Ten. The Badgers, winners of five straight took care of Ohio State in a separator game, and get Nebraska at home before going to Maryland on Saturday. If they can pull off the upset, the NCAA tournament will become very realistic for Greg Gard’s team.

5. Purdue (19-5, 7-4, 1.11 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … Purdue was unable to get a big time road win against Maryland, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The Boilermakers have been steady, and play host to Michigan State in a huge game on Tuesday. For Purdue to stay alive in the conference title race, it will have to beat the Spartans, something I’m not sure it can do.

4. Indiana (19-5, 9-2, 1.13 points per possession, .96 points per possession allowed) … The Hoosiers suffered an ugly loss to Penn State on Saturday right after gathering an impressive knockout of Michigan. The only thing I can say to ease the minds of fans is at least the loss was on the road. While it takes away the storyline of two teams tied for first when Iowa visits town this week, it doesn’t take away from the importance of the game itself. An IU win would help make up for the bad loss, and would give the Hoosiers that big resume building win they need. It won’t get any easier after, as IU gets to face Tom Izzo and Michigan State on Sunday in East Lansing. To stay in the title picture, the Hoosiers need to split this week at minimum.

3. Michigan State (20-4, 7-4, 1.15 points per possession, 1 point per possession allowed) … Michigan State is heating up at the right time again, clobbering Michigan at the Crisler Center. The Spartans can assert their dominance if they beat Purdue and Indiana this week in what will be a crucial week for the conference as a whole. You can never count out a Tom Izzo coached team in big games late in the season.

2. Maryland (21-3, 10-2, 1.07 points per possession, .95 points per possession allowed) … Maryland beat Purdue and remains unbeaten at home this season. The schedule the rest of the way isn’t very difficult for the Terrapins either, as Purdue and Indiana are the lone ranked teams they will face – both on the road.

1. Iowa (19-4, 10-1, 1.14 points per possession, .97 points per possession allowed) … Indiana is the last ranked team that stands in the way of Iowa and a Big Ten title. The Hoosiers will also get two cracks at the Hawkeyes, the first being this Thursday at Assembly Hall. An IU win would keep the door open for themselves and Maryland, as there looks to be too much ground to make up for Michigan State or Purdue to come out on top.

Filed to:

  • BL

    Could easily rank IU behind PU but hey, PU lost at Illinois. This week is huge. PU could eliminate MSU and Iowa could clinch, or …. Go Hoosiers!

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    5 games against top 20 teams in the next month, i just hope IU can h old serve at home. this is gonna be brutal.

  • showjo

    Great wins heavily outweigh bad losses come selection Sunday. Hopefully they can prove that in the upcoming weeks. Can’t afford a late conference meltdown like last season.

  • Lance76

    Every year, many of these teams lose one they shouldn’t. We are about to find out what these Hoosiers are made of. It all starts with controlling the turn overs and playing defense. There are players who need to take responsibility in these areas.

  • inLinE6

    I’m fine with the PSU loss if we win twice this week. And that’s probably the only way to negate that bad loss. The good thing: it’s not a loss in the tournament. I’m sure fans will be pissed if we end the season like that.

  • Arch Puddington

    Last time I had the Hoosiers tied for 5th with Michigan. One monstrous blowout later, I no longer have us tied with Michigan 🙂

    I still see no reason to place us higher than 5th, though. Purdue’s record isn’t so great, but I just don’t think we match up well with them. And there is no getting around the fact that this team has now lost 5 times to teams ranked lower than them, but has not beaten anyone ranked higher than them. By my count we’ve only beaten two teams ranked in the top 50.

    Plenty of chances to prove all that wrong in the next few weeks. I’ve been predicting 12-6 for some time now, and while some people find that too pessimistic, with 4 games against teams ranked in the top 10 — plus a home game against a tough matchup in Purdue — that’s looking better and better all the time. I mean, would you take 3-4 the rest of the way if offered?

  • Hoosier Hall

    I think we are very capable of winning both of these games this week. Penn State has been tougher then their record these past couple seasons and are well coached. Still not an easy loss to swallow but at least it wasn’t Rutgers. My prediction is we win at home and then lose a close one at the Breslin Center. If the basketball gods are into wheeling and dealing, I’d gladly give up the Michigan State game and the one @ Iowa to lay a smackdown on Purdue.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    No, but I would take 4-3, if offered; 13-5 should get us a top 5 seed, assuming we perform decently in B1G tournament. 12-6 would mean we would need to win or take second in B1G tournament to get top 5. Now, for the optimist in me, if we went 13-5 and won the B1G tournament, we get a top 4 seed. We are talented enough to beat all remaining teams on the schedule, but we definitely need to get tougher than we were against PSU and we need to get 60-70% of loose balls on the floor. I think OG will not let his bad game bother him and will get back to his Michigan efforts as long as we don’t put him on a really physical player. Let him redeem himself by locking down Peter Jok. I really think we match up well with Iowa, as long as good Troy shows up. If we have under 12 turnovers each game, we beat Iowa both times.

  • Sandra Wilson

    Aren’t you the one that just said you didn’t believe in trap games ?…..If we win out at home, we’ll get a top 4 finish and a bye in the B1G tourney….If we can’t win out at home, we deserve no more than an 8-9 seed and will probably make a quick exit out….It’s time to SHOW we deserve a higher seed.

  • I also said I don’t believe in ‘trap’ games. You can call it what you want.. We just didn’t play well.. Now whether that ‘s a trap game or not is up to what you want to call it. I call it a mental let down. I just think we were out to lunch mentally. I don’t think we were thinking about Iowa or MSU or anything, we just got our butts kicked. Maybe we’re not as good as we’ve looked on occasion this year. I’m just hoping that wasn’t a sign of things to come this week.. We need top get our crap together and beat Iowa at least.. If we do, then maybe we can feel good about this team again. Right now I don’t think we’re as good as we’ve looked like against Michigan. Maybe Michigan isn’t as good as we thought. We have an opportunity, I hope we take it the next two games.

  • I agree, but it’s pretty hard to refute the fact that we played just terribly in a game we should’ve won.. and won relatively easily.

  • Baby Cakes

    The win over Michigan seemed so amazing… and then MSU walked into Ann Arbor and did the same thing. Gotta think that Michigan fans are going to be all over Beilein… gotta get that recruiting up to par..

  • Arch Puddington

    There is no such thing as a trap game. That is a cliche used by media and the fans to explain the routine occurrence of teams getting upset. And we have played poorly against Penn State for at least three years now. Here are the scores of our last 4 games with them dating back to 2013-14:

    L — 63-68
    W — 79-76
    W — 76-73
    L — 68-65

    So while it was disappointing that we lost, it was also part of a longer trend in which we have struggled against them, both at home and on the road.

    The rest of your post I agree with.

  • Arch Puddington

    Man, 4-3 looks very good right now. And while I’m not saying we can’t do it, it would require us to do win at least one game over a top 10 team, and that is assuming we beat Purdue. Iowa at home will be an interesting start to an important stretch of games.

  • BL

    2-5 hopefully worst case. Feeling like 5-2 is best case; holding serve at home and winning at Illinois. 3-4 most likely; 4-3 preferred.

    Regarding the big boys, on a neutral court, feel like we can compete best against Iowa and PU. Iowa doesn’t have multiple giants like MD and PU. We have a clear advantage over PU at PG. Actually, I need to watch MSU again. At one time I though we matched up well with them but now I’m feeling like they are too rough and tumble for us.

  • Vikas321

    IU is going to be found out in the next month. 5 games against top 20 opponents, with 4 losses I predict. I hope not.

  • BL

    Agree we are “talented enough” to win on any given night, but not talented enough to be favored against Iowa, MSU, PU or MD. Personally, I would consider any win against that group at least a minor upset.

  • Ole Man

    I would agree with you on MSU.
    And once again Izzo has them jelling at the right time.

  • Ole Man

    If IU goes 4-3, they’ll be seeded around the 8-9 line. No way with their schedule and losses that they make it up to a 5 seed–unless they go like 5-1.
    And this team cannot be anyone on any given night.
    The coaching and talent isn’t there.

  • BL

    Mich. did lose LeVert. If TC were at Mich., PU or OS this season, the hating would be unreal. Perspective.

  • BL

    Agree and he can recruit with the best of ’em.

  • SilentBob

    I would take that all day. Before Penn State I may have thought 12-6 a dash to pessimistic. Now that looks to be more than fair, and possibly trending towards optimistic. Nebraska is playing much better than they were earlier and will compete, and since we just lost dropped an egg at Penn State, it wouldn’t be wise to pencil in @Illinois as a win either.

  • Sandra Wilson

    Sorry, you’re completely wrong….You can label them anything you want, but playing a perceived weaker opponent coming off of, or going into a tough game is usually a huge struggle…..The 79-76 game was between MSU and Wis….the 66-65 loss preceded the Purdue game…In 12-13 we beat them 74-51 and 72-49….There are trap games in football as well…..Most coaches can identify them as soon as the schedule comes out.

  • Pianoroark

    Agree with Ole Man in that I don’t see IU as anything more than a 6 seed this year, and that’s if we pull some games out of our behinds in the next couple weeks. 7-9 seed is looking about right to me. I’m projecting we get maybe 2 “signature wins,” and we’ve got our 3 “bad losses” = nowhere near a 5 seed resume, in my opinion, even if we do finish 13-5 in the B1G; the B1G is having a seriously down year, and the selection committee knows that.

    I do, however, believe IU has the shooting talent to beat anyone on any given night (although I’m losing my faith we can pull off a big upset on the road). But of course, as we’ve seen, we can lose to anyone on any given night, too. So, as my grandma on Wawasee would say: “It’s a warsh!”

  • Arch Puddington

    No need to be sorry, we’re just talking about basketball.

    We have lost four games this year against opponents we “should” have beaten.

    Lost to Wake Forest just before playing St. John’s.
    Lost to UNLV just before playing Alcorn State
    Lost to Wisconsin before playing Minnesota
    Lost to Penn State before playing Iowa

    So three of our four bad losses have come before playing a weak team.

    At the same time, we have played weak teams before each of the four best opponents we have played so far. Here are the results:

    Before Creighton, we beat Austin-Peay 102-76.
    Before Duke, we beat Alcorn State 112-70.
    Before Notre Dame, we beat McNeese State 105-60.
    Before Michigan, we beat Minnesota 74-68.

    That’s four “trap” games as you define them, which we won by a combined 119 points.

    So in the eight games that would either confirm or refute the “trap game” theory, seven refute it. Three of our four “bad” losses have come before plying weak teams, and we have beaten weak teams before each of our best opponents thus far.

    It’s a media invention. It makes ESPN guys and fans on websites think they’re offering useful analysis. Some games are easier to get up for than others, but that’s just one of a huge number of factors, both physical and psychological, that go into a team’s performance on any given night. I am certain that if you could go back and analyze a statistically meaningful set of games that would fit your definition of a trap game, there would be no statistical difference in their outcomes than their Kenpom rating would predict.

  • ForeverIU

    I would take Izzo if offered.

  • ForeverIU

    As Arch said in an earlier post, the “trap game” is just mythology. We lost because we’re incredibly capable of sucking.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Ole Man, you remember the formula, win all your home games, go .500 on the road, should put you in contention for a B1G championship. Probably not this year. Given 18 games, that’s technically not possible, but if we could go 5-2, I will bet you a beer that IU gets top 5 seed. Really, the selection committee puts a lot of emphasis on how teams are playing at end of year. I don’t agree that the B1G is seriously down this year. Iowa and Maryland could both get number 1 seeds. Michigan State, IU, Purdue, and Wisconsin are in. Michigan could get back into the mix, that’s 7 teams possibly. Not my definition of a down year. What other conference will have 7 teams in tournament?

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    I agree, I think we can match up really well against Iowa. RJ/OG can guard Jok, CH/Morgan can do a decent job on Uthoff, Yogi potentially can dominate Gisell, RJ/TW can handle Clemmons, hopefully TB/MB can dominate Woodbury and whoever else they play there. As always, if we get good Troy, we will likely win. I just looked at Iowa’s roster, and they have a lot of seniors, kind of refreshing to see kids last the full 4 years.

  • Shooting talent? Look at the last three games.. That appears to be a myth…

  • Yeah, and we lost JBJ… But everyone seems to think we’re as well off, without him. Turns out there’s been games I think we could’ve used him.. though it is very hard to rationalize… because there also have been games he likely would’ve hurt us, defensively.

  • I hope not as well, but you’re thinking about like I am since that PSU debacle. I really hope the prove us wrong, but I’m not very positive about it right now. Hope I’m wrong.

  • BL

    Yes. It would be nice to have JBJ return now and interesting to see how Coach would use him.

  • Sandra Wilson

    Your argument is completely flawed….Losing doesn’t automatically throw it in the trap game category….We just stunk in Maui….You don’t always lose trap games, you just play poorly, which we did against a pathetic Minn….The other 3 games, we could have won with our second five….Those don’t fall into the trap game category….The next trap games on the schedule are Neb. and Illinois….I’d put money on two things…..We won’t cover the spread, and we won’t play well…..Good teams find a way to win these, but they struggle (and yes, it’s mental)….Talk to me after each of these upcoming TRAP GAMES.

  • Ole Man

    Bottom half of the B1G is dragging the conference down. I see two title contenders: Mary and MSU. The others you mentioned may make they tourney, but they are at best pretenders.

  • Arch Puddington

    I don’t think you understand either my argument or the nature of statistics generally. If the trap game as you define it is a real phenomenon, it could be identified statistically in one of two ways:

    1. There would be a trend in which we more frequently lose to bad teams the game before playing a good team. There is no such trend. Even counting the loss against Penn State, we are 4-1 in such games.

    2. A disproportionate number of our total number of losses to bad teams would come before big games. They don’t. Three of our four bad losses have come just prior to playing non-marquee opponents.

    I can’t explain it any more directly than this. If there really were such a thing as a trap game, it would show up statistically. It doesn’t. In our case, we are actually MORE likely to win such games. There’s no harm in calling the loss to Penn State a trap game, but to me there just isn’t anything of substance to such a claim.

    As for the rest, of our games, I don’t think I’ll bother talking to you at all. I’m just here to discuss basketball for the fun of it. You seem to want something much more intense out of it.