Big Ten Power Rankings: February 8
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: Big Ten Power Rankings