Big Ten Power Rankings: December 7

  • 12/07/2017 11:02 am in

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another season, as conference action began last week with each team playing two conference matchups. Here’s where each team stands:

14. Rutgers (6-3, 0-2; 0.82 points per possession in conference play, 1.04 points per possession allowed; KenPom – 112, Sagarin – 105, RPI – 140)

Rutgers begins this conference season right where it ended last year, the basement. It didn’t help that their first two conference games were against Michigan State and Minnesota. The Scarlet Knights are now 6-50 in conference play since joining the league. Their next shot at a B1G win will be on Jan. 3 in West Lafayette.

13. Iowa (4-5, 0-2; 0.96 PPP, 1.08 PPP allowed; KenPom – 85, Sagarin – 94, RPI – 244)

A season that began with promise has hit several roadblocks. It began in the Cayman Islands, where the Hawkeyes finished 7th and dropped games to Louisiana-Lafayette and South Dakota State, and continued with a winless start to league play. Iowa has a shot at a resume-building win tonight, but topping Iowa State in Ames is no simple task.

12. Illinois (7-3, 0-2; 0.97 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom – 99, Sagarin – 76, RPI – 201)

The Illini have yet to beat a top 100 KenPom team in Brad Underwood’s first season, although they came close twice in the first week of B1G play, losing overtime contests against Northwestern and Maryland. For a rebuilding team, the overtime defeats could be seen as encouraging, which makes the close-call vs. Austin Peay yesterday even more disappointing.

11. Nebraska (6-3, 1-1; 0.94 PPP, 1.08 PPP allowed; KenPom – 89, Sagarin – 91, RPI – 55)

How do you make sense of the Cornhuskers? Firmly on the hot seat, Tim Miles’ squad pulled off a major upset over Minnesota just days after being embarrassed by 29 points in East Lansing. The win came in part because of a monster defensive effort, swatting nine Gopher shots and holding Minnesota to 32 percent shooting.

10. Indiana (5-4, 1-1; 0.96 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 84, Sagarin – 80, RPI – 178)

In Archie Miller’s debut season at IU, his team has been making steady progress. A potential setback in Ann Arbor was followed up by a much-needed win against the Hawkeyes in Bloomington. Junior Juwan Morgan continues to blossom, as he’s posted double-digit scoring efforts in five of the last six contests and is now shooting 58 percent on the year.

9. Northwestern (5-4, 1-1; 1.00 PPP, 1.01 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 57, Sagarin – 67, RPI – 128)

A season that began in the top 25 has quickly gone off the rails. The Wildcats brought nearly everyone back from last year’s NCAA tournament squad, yet have regressed significantly. Head coach Chris Collins can disparage the officiating all he wants, but it won’t erase a putrid start that included a 36-point loss to Texas Tech on a neutral floor.

8. Wisconsin (4-6, 1-1; 0.94 PPP, 1.13 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 47, Sagarin – 51, RPI – 90)

Wisconsin has played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, yet have no signature wins to show for it. The Badgers are under-.500 through 10 games for the first time since 2001-02, when they… made the NCAA tournament anyway. Greg Gard’s team, which relies heavily on Ethan Happ, will likely right the ship soon, but their four-year streak of reaching the Sweet 16 is on shaky ground.

7. Michigan (7-3, 1-1; 1.02 PPP, 0.98 PPP allowed; KenPom – 44, Sagarin – 40, RPI – 75)

Kentucky-transfer Charles Matthews made an immediate impact in early non-conference play but was quiet in the loss to Ohio State, scoring a season-low four points. The Wolverines will be tested before conference play resumes, with games in the next week against UCLA and Texas.

6. Penn State (7-3, 1-1; 1.03 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom – 41, Sagarin – 58, RPI – 145)

The Nittany Lions nearly got off to a 2-0 start to B1G play, but couldn’t come back from a 17-point second half deficit to grab a home win over the Badgers. A potential breakthrough could be imminent, but with no non-conference games against top 150 KenPom teams remaining, it’ll have to wait until the calendar turns to 2018.

5. Ohio State (7-3, 2-0; 1.22 PPP, 0.95 PPP allowed; KenPom – 58, Sagarin – 46, RPI – 62)

Ohio State is another case of a first-year coach making an immediate impact. Chris Holtmann has worked wonders for the Buckeyes, beginning his Big Ten career 2-0, including a 25-point win in Madison. Two days after that victory, Ohio State surpassed Michigan despite digging themselves an early 20-point hole. Expect the Buckeyes to regress somewhat, but they’re headed in the right direction.

4. Maryland (7-3, 1-1; 1.10 PPP, 1.13 PPP allowed; KenPom – 40, Sagarin – 34, RPI – 70)

Turgeon’s Terps salvaged a win in the opening week of B1G play, pulling off an overtime triumph in Champaign. Sophomores Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter are both shooting over 40 percent from three on the season, and freshman Bruno Fernando has become a defensive force.

3. Minnesota (8-2, 1-1; 1.01 PPP, 0.93 PPP allowed; KenPom – 29, Sagarin – 27, RPI – 49)

After starting the 2017-18 campaign 7-0, the Gophers have dropped two of their last three. The loss to Miami (Fl.) was understandable, while the spanking to Nebraska in Lincoln wasn’t. Minnesota’s bench has been lacking, as they scored just five points in the loss in Lincoln. A tough road battle against Arkansas looms on Saturday.

2. Purdue (8-2, 2-0; 1.21 PPP, 1.13 PPP allowed; KenPom – 9, Sagarin – 7, RPI – 29)

No Caleb Swanigan, no problem. Matt Painter’s Boilermakers are unbeaten in league play after wins over Maryland and Northwestern. Senior Isaac Haas is shooting 63 percent from the floor and is hitting a career-high 79 percent of his free throws. Next up, three straight games against in-state competition (vs. Valparaiso, vs. IUPUI, Butler in Indy). As Indiana (Indiana State) and Notre Dame (Ball State) have shown, the state’s mid-majors are not to be taken lightly.

1. Michigan State (8-1, 2-0; 1.12 PPP, 0.83 PPP allowed; KenPom – 2, Sagarin – 4, RPI – 5)

The Spartans began the year as the clear favorites to win the Big Ten, and that hasn’t changed after downing Nebraska and Rutgers by a combined 39 points. Sophomore Miles Bridges and freshman Jaren Jackson provide a lethal one-two punch, and guard Cassius Winston has developed into a reliable jump shooter.

Conference play will resume in January, as will the power rankings.

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  • TomJameson

    Dang, it’s hard to see IU at #10. I don’t think that will last, I still think top 5 in the B1G is possible. May need some help along the way, but still possible.

    One think I think is certain. This season might just be the last we’ll ever see IU down that low in the power rankings.

  • TomJameson

    Oh yeah, it’s going to be a treat (or torture … lol) to see these ranking evolve over the season.

  • #4 shorts

    My favorite thing about ITH is seeing fans with positive attitudes like this. I really hope you’re right too. I’d love to see a top half finish and JM making All-B1G.

  • Geoff_85

    ESPN says Indiana is currently 169 in the RPI. Ouuuuuuuch. Louisville and Notre Dame will up the SOS a little bit, but man, that’s a rough RPI ranking.

  • Believe Josh used NCAA’s site for RPI. Still pretty early for RPI, though.

  • Arch Puddington

    Tenth is fair based on what we have done so far. I have said from the start that top half would be the optimistic prediction, and still think so. We do have the advantage of a down year for the conference as a whole, so the opportunity for this team to grow and rise in the standings over the course of the season is there.

  • Geoff_85

    I agree, but this year is a little different since they’ve played Duke, Seton Hall, and 2 Big Ten teams in 9 games.

  • TomJameson

    or even just one

  • TomJameson

    Current rankings, like this power ranking, have numbers (stats) to back them up. As such, can’t really argue against them. I don’t like pre-season rankings because, in some cases there’s a lot of guess work.

    I’ll still hold to my opinion that we’ll make it into the top 5 … and maybe stretch it to 6.

  • Arch Puddington

    Either would be a favorable!

  • Mark Bando

    Wiscy number 8 at 4-6?

  • Ivan Renko

    haha same thought went through my mind. granted they’ve had a brutal schedule… but still. 4 starters gone… reloading year… losing to everyone…

    recency bias maybe?

  • Ivan Renko

    i agree

    last year, 4 teams were at 10-8 to take up the 5th thru 8th spots. it’s going to be even closer this year most likely. might have 7 or 8 teams between 8-10 and 10-8.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    I think for whatever it’s worth, we’ll climb to whatever level it takes to get into the NCAA tournament…

  • RonMlarkey

    Wisconsin ahead of IU is simply laughable.

  • Ivan Renko

    looking through an IU-biased lens, I’m not sure how to justify even NW and Wiscy ahead of IU.

    NW, a veteran squad, got blown to bits by a TT team and lost to Georgia Tech, a team that has lost to both Grambling and Wofford (I know transitive property isn’t a good measure necessarily for basketball, but NW’s loss there is looking worse and worse).

    Wiscy has played the hardest schedule by far, but 6 losses… kiss the tourney good-bye already.

    IU’s win over Iowa is better than any of NW’s or Wiscy’s wins

    edit: i guess PSU is higher than Iowa in KenPom… so not a categorical statement there at the end

  • Fivelefts

    I agree! However.. It seems like EVERYBODY! Plays their best, when they play us! Smh

  • Fifer39

    Ohio State has a legitimate claim to 2nd or 3rd at the moment. Not quite sure either why Josh expects them to regress. Losses against Butler and Gonzaga are no disgrace and even the Clemson loss doesn’t look terrible right now. Holtmann might have been #2 on IU’s list and he’s made an impressive start with limited resources. Their lack of depth might catch up but it’ll be interesting to see whether they or we get back to prominence more quickly.

  • Mark Bando

    I wont be surprised if Wiscy bounces back and has a good season. But for right now 8 seems high.

  • Mark Bando

    Or low that is

  • Ivan Renko

    Wiscy has to play both MSU and Purdue twice. And with the rest of the B1G gauntlet and no top 100 non-conf wins, the outlook is bleak for them IMO. even if they go 12-6 in conference, which would likely be good enough for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, they’ll be sitting at 11 or 12 losses. a team in a down B1G this year with that many losses won’t likely get an at-large.

  • dwdkc

    The game results so far can justify these rankings, given that there isn’t much difference between a lot of teams and the KenPom and Sagarin ratings are a reasonable “tiebreaker” (RPI we should forget, I wish the selection committee would). Not concerned at all however, as the conference games on the floor will change this and the ones at the end of the year are the ones I care about.

  • dwdkc

    I think IU is a bit behind where my crimson-colored glasses predicted they would be before the season, however the entire conference below the top 3 is considerably worse than I expected. That makes 4th place a possibility–admittedly unlikely, but not crazy. 11-7 might get there. I really believe in this coach and personnel limitations aside, I think we can get more done with less this year.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Chris Collins is showing his true characteristics when he blames the officials. Northwestern is on here (BGTV) more than IU so to me they are really in trouble. Give it 2 more losses in 3 games and everyone will see it.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Correct! And that is after we took Duke equally to the last 1:30 in the second half. Wisconsin played Virginia, got smoked. Big difference. Northwestern also. They played Georgia Tech.

  • Sandra Wilson

    While the transitive property may not be a perfect way to measure a team’s standing, there aren’t many other ways to rank them unless every team has played every other team. For example, Wisconsin lost, at home, to OSU by nearly 30 and then beat Penn State, at Penn State. Just knowing that much, and that Wisconsin is 4 – 6 makes it hard to understand PSU ranked 6th. Iowa has no good wins and 2 really bad loses. Rutgers lost to FSU by 5 and MSU by 10, and that was closer than that most of the game. Frankly, I’d rate Rutgers above Iowa, PSU and maybe even Wisconsin. We play at Rutgers in February. That’s not a game I’m looking forward to seeing. One last unrelated question. Why do people on here seem dislike NW and Collins? They aren’t great, but I would guess they’ll be much better by the end of the season and Collins seems to do a good job. I’ve only seen them play once, at Purdue, but I didn’t notice an inordinate amount of yelling at the officials. I’ll also add that I don’t think I’ve ever seen officiating, all over, as bad as it is this year.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Sandra, hello and he must be a good coach based on what they accomplished last year. He constantly rants and his antics however get old really fast. The camera on his father also jumping and moving up and down the aisles during tight games also gets old. Chris has some growing to do but I don’t think they are nearly as good as people thought. Great school academically no doubt.

  • Doug Wilson

    Booo!!! Nobody doing the power rankings realize this is Indiana. The DWil™ metrics has IU adjusted to 4th in the rankings. The Michigan game is going to be erased as early as a trip to Minnesota. The DWil™ metric have adjusted to forecast a few upsets. The DWil™ is loyal driven, not reality.
    OK, The Michigan game was crap. But an IU finish to the season winning there last 6 of 7 games is possible. Ad in a few upsets, and bam! 13-5. I am still standing by my prediction. Why???? Because loosing to Michigan was in my math in the first place.

  • Koko

    I guess we will see how good Wisky’s coach really is.

  • TomJameson

    From your lips to the tournament selection committee’s ears! lol

  • Hardwood83

    The B1G sucks. Mich St is very talented. Purdue has a good team….Minnesota and Maryland are decent, but probably not top 25, IMO. After that? ughhh.
    I believe IU has the talent to finish top 4 in the conference, as we’ve seen in the first half at Seton Hall, against Duke and for stretches in other games. If they play consistently at that level definitely a lot of wins to be had in a crappy conference.

  • Larry Brown

    Holtmann and OSU’s early success are simply STUNNING. Not just a new coach, but guys left the program, they’re starting freshmen and playing all sorts of guys with new roles. People around IU like to say the IU players — many if them upperclassmen — are adjusting to a new coach. OSU hasn’t needed any such excuses. Holtmann has been incredible so far .