Big Ten Power Rankings: January 8

  • 01/08/2018 2:05 pm in

After a brief mid-December hiatus, Big Ten conference play is back, and so are the Inside the Hall Power Rankings. Here’s where each team stands:

14. Iowa (9-9, 0-5; 1.01 Points Per Possession in conference play, 1.16 PPP allowed; KenPom – 88, Sagarin – 77, RPI – 167)

The Hawkeye’s season has begun to go off the rails. On Sunday night, Fran McCaffery was tossed after questioning a series of calls as Iowa lost by 18 in College Park. Iowa currently has the worst defense in the conference, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon.

13. Illinois (10-7, 0-4; 0.97 PPP, 1.05 PPP allowed; KenPom – 87, Sagarin – 66, RPI – 120)

The only other winless team in the Big Ten are the Illini, but that should change before long. Of the four Big Ten games Illinois have dropped, three were on the road, two went to overtime and all had a final margin of 10 or less. Brad Underwood’s team will have a prime opportunity to pick up a win on Thursday when they host Iowa in a battle between squads that are winless in conference.

12. Rutgers (11-6, 1-3; 0.84 PPP, 1.05 PPP allowed; KenPom – 123, Sagarin – 118, RPI – 182)

It took less than two seasons for head coach Steve Pikiell to lift the Scarlet Knights out of the Big Ten’s basement. On Friday, Rutgers used a total team effort to down Wisconsin by four points. How did they do it? By limiting potential All-American Ethan Happ, who finished with just 10 points and was forced into seven turnovers.

11. Northwestern (10-7, 1-3; 0.95 PPP, 1.06 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 71, Sagarin – 59, RPI – 97)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. A Northwestern team that entered the season with Big Ten championship aspirations are now completely out of the NCAA tournament picture. We’re well into January, and the Wildcats have yet to win a game over a Kenpom Top-80 team (0-5). In a 15-point thrashing at Penn State on Friday, Northwestern shot a measly 37 percent from the field on offense, while giving up 30-points to sophomore Lamar Stephens on the other end.

10. Nebraska (11-6, 2-2; 0.96 PPP, 1.02 PPP allowed; KenPom – 81, Sagarin – 80, RPI – 79)

Tim Miles may still be on the hot seat, but his team is holding serve early in the conference slate. A pair of defeats to Michigan State and Purdue have been balanced out by victories at Northwestern and vs. Minnesota. This week may give us an indication of which direction Nebraska’s season will go, with games against Wisconsin and at Penn State.

9. Indiana (9-7, 2-2; 0.99 PPP, 1.02 PPP allowed; KenPom – 91, Sagarin – 74, RPI – 118)

The Hoosiers had a polarizing week. A dispiriting loss in Madison was followed up by a close victory over short-handed Minnesota at Williams Arena. In the win over the Golden Gophers, Indiana posted their second-highest 3-point shooting percentage of the season (42 percent). They’ll need that improved shooting to continue this week in home contests with Penn State and Northwestern.

8. Wisconsin (9-8, 2-2; 1.01 PPP, 1.08 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 77, Sagarin – 63, RPI – 124) 

It’s the Ethan Happ show in Madison. The under-manned Badgers have had to rely on the star junior for the majority of their production. For the season, only five players in the country have a higher rate of possessions used than Happ (34 percent). If Wisconsin can’t find another consistent offensive contributor, their streak of 19 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances may be coming to an end.

7. Minnesota (13-4, 2-2; 1.02 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 48, Sagarin – 45, RPI – 75)

Now without two starters, Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey, possibly for the season, the Golden Gophers are in serious trouble. Minnesota lacked leadership in a shocking home loss to the Hoosiers, and the schedule only gets tougher from here. Only one of the Gophers’ next five games will be played at Williams Arena.

6. Penn State (12-5, 2-2; 1.06 PPP, 1.01 PPP allowed; KenPom – 41, Sagarin – 48, RPI – 114)

Is this the year Pat Chambers’ Penn State squad finally breaks through? Sophomores Tony Carr and Lamar Stephens have looked like stars of late, with the former shooting 49 percent from three on the year and the latter posting 30 points in a dominating performance against Northwestern.

5. Maryland (14-4, 3-2; 1.13 PPP, 1.16 PPP allowed; KenPom – 35, Sagarin – 30, RPI – 49)

With Justin Jackson out for the year, the Terrapins will have to scratch and claw for every win. So far, the Terrapins have found a way to survive without their star scorer as their lone loss in seven games without Jackson was to Michigan State. In a Sunday night thrashing of Iowa, freshman Bruno Fernando picked up the slack, scoring 21 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

4. Michigan (14-3, 3-1; 1.08 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom – 32, Sagarin – 21, RPI – 39)

Michigan has quietly built up a decent resume, winning seven straight since the last power rankings, four of which have come over KenPom Top-100 teams. The latest was a 10-point home win over Illinois, where six players reached double-figures scoring for Michigan. Junior Moritz Wagner broke out of his offensive slump in the victory, putting up 14 points on a 6-of-7 day from the field.

3. Ohio State (13-4, 4-0; 1.22 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom – 33, Sagarin – 33, RPI – 25)

Chris Holtmann has had no problem adjusting to life as a head coach in the Big Ten. His Buckeyes have yet to lose a conference game. On Sunday, Ohio State never trailed in the second half as they knocked off No. 1 Michigan State. After missing the final 17 games in Big Ten play last season, junior forward Keita Bates-Diop has emerged into one of the best players in the entire conference. Bates-Diop could not be contained against the Spartans, scoring a career-high 32-points.

2. Michigan State (15-2, 3-1; 1.16 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 2, Sagarin – 3, RPI – 23)

Even with the loss at Ohio State, the Spartans still remain one of the Big Ten’s elite teams. One thing is for certain, though: the Spartans need more production from their bench, which scored a grand total of four points in their humbling loss to the Buckeyes. Michigan State should bounce back from the defeat quite quickly, with a three-game homestand against inferior teams on the horizon.

1. Purdue (15-2, 4-0; 1.14 PPP, 0.95 PPP allowed; KenPom – 5, Sagarin – 2, RPI – 15)

Last year’s regular season champions are right back in the driver’s seat for another conference crown. Through four games, the Boilermakers have the best defense in the Big Ten and have yet to play a conference contest that has ended within a single possession. Road tests in Ann Arbor and Minneapolis will provide a challenge this week, but Matt Painter’s squad is equipped to handle it.

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  • myrddin

    We should be 4-2 after this week’s games. Anything less would be a disappointment, and we shouldn’t read much into these two wins (if we win them) as far as our overall competitiveness in the conference. I’d say games on the 22nd and 24th this month at home against a decent Maryland squad at home and on the road @ Ill *should* be the games that will be a bit more of a litmus test. And hope springs eternal, but I think Webster’s is going to have to invent new words to describe what Purdue is likely to do to us this year. Not looking forward to those two games.

  • Indiana only plays Purdue once this season.

  • myrddin

    Forgot, because *that should never happen*. Thanks 🙂

    Planning on spending the 24th – 28th dreaming up ways to rationalize the possibility of an IU victory. If I haven’t come up with something by the 26th I’ll start drinking until either I figure it out, or 3:30 on the 28th, or my liver shuts down, whichever comes sooner.

  • Colt

    I felt from the get go that Northwestern would not live up to the preseason hype. Plus having to play their home games at the Allstate Arena doesn’t help. That place is a horrible venue for college hoops.

  • JethroTroll

    My biggest takeaway from this article is using the following phrase in reference to Northwestern: “oh how the mighty have fallen”. That seems like one helluva hyperbole when it comes to a program with one career NCAA appearance.

  • JethroTroll

    There is nothing close to ‘for sure wins’ on IU’s schedule this year. They could lose to anybody in any given night. They could just as easily lose both games this week as they can win them both.

  • myrddin

    Yah I totally get it. All I’m trying to say is that to lose either would be disappointing, but also that we shouldn’t over-react the opposite way to being 4-2 if it shakes out like that.

  • cbags05

    5 though 11 is wide open. Nothing would surprise me too much, but I have a hard time believing that Penn State and Nebraska will continue to surprise. I see us sliding into #7 or 8 by the end.

  • JethroTroll

    Penn St is better this year than they have been, easily the best team under Chambers’ watch. IU is going to have to play well Tuesday to beat them.

  • Koko

    I think you should add the 22nd and 30th in there as well. If you start from the 22nd you can start drinking earlier and make it last till 7:00 pm on the 30th.

  • Kyl470

    Yeah I don’t think anyone was thinking Northwestern as Big 10 champs. I predicted on a post on this site before the season that they wouldn’t finish in the top 8.

  • Tommy Morrsion

    Clark Kellogg (take it as you will) predicted them in the Final Four. Northwestern was a team that was a sexy pick for many to have a strong season.

  • JethroTroll

    Well, there you have it.

  • Ole Man

    Not sure how games in which IU is not favored (unless the line changes and it may for NW) can be considered “disappointments if they lose.
    I can see them easily going 1-1 this week.
    PSU is as real a challenge as they will ever be this year.

  • Sandra Wilson

    If this is the B1G ranking, then how is OSU ranked behind MSU when they just hammered them last night? They are also 4-0 and MSU is 3-1. Don’t give me strength of schedule. Penn State is 6th and lost at home to Rider and does not have a quality win. Nebraska at least beat Boston College, Minnesota (with Lynch and Coffey) and lost by 1 to Kansas. Are these ranked on potential or performance? Just the B1G or overall schedule?

  • JethroTroll

    I don’t think it’s as simple as you make it. It’s a combination of things, including the ‘eye test’, which is subjective and up for debate. But MSU has been so dominant that I personally have no problem with them at #2, but that’s me.

  • Kyl470

    Whose Clark Kellogg? The cereal guy? Just kidding I know who he is. I don’t remember seeing any publications with them higher than 4th in the Big 10. Pretty much everyone had MSU, Purdue, and Minnesota as the top 3 teams coming into the season.

  • Tommy Morrsion

    They started the year ranked #19 in the country with MN and PU right close with them. Most gave nods to MN and PU but Northwestern was right there with them.

  • Ms hoosier

    It all depends on if IU shows up to play hard for 40 minuets

  • Kendall Brooke

    What is the status of DeRon Davis?

  • Jeremy

    Can we get an update on Hartman and Davis injuries.

  • Ivan Renko

    Duke lost @ BC… Duke is still the better team. same goes for MSU losing @ OSU imo. MSU is still the better overall team at this point IMO.

    The power rankings article would be pretty pointless if it was just a mirror of the current B1G standings.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I only see one happy face of a fan in that picture! The woman in the aisle looks happy while everyone else looks constipated or bored. IU won that game also!!! Hoosier fans at the game, c’mon man. GEEEEZZZZ!

  • Sandra Wilson

    Your Duke / BC comparison is not appropriate. BC has 5 losses and is not considered an elite team. They have no quality wins other than Duke. Upsets happen all the time. That’s not what I’m talking about. Would you consider OSU’s win over MSU an upset? OSU beat Wisconsin to death at Wisconsin. They are a good team that has a new coach. It’s taken them a while to get rolling. No, I don’t expect the rating to mirror the standings this early in the season, but I think it would be nice if it made sense based on performance.

  • Sandra Wilson

    Frankly, I expect them to win the B1G. They’re good and they have an incredibly easy schedule. I still think when one team beats another as badly as OSU beat MSU, at least for that week, you rate them higher. MSU also has played only 1 decent team away (OSU). You get freshmen away from home and they look like they did last night.

  • Ivan Renko

    well you sort of explained my exact point for me… “Upsets happen all the time.” doesn’t mean the team performing the upset is the “better” team automatically. i know that’s not what you’re talking about… but by your logic, IU and Nebraska should be ranked ahead of Minnesota since we both have 2-2 B1G records like Minn and we both won the matchup against Minn…. yet we’re not ranked ahead of them.

    besides Duke and now OSU, MSU has absolutely throttled every single team they’ve played. they’re an elite top 5 team, despite laying an egg at OSU (it happens). OSU has 4 losses and is not considered an elite team. that’s all it is.

  • Sandra Wilson

    KENPOM – Didn’t they pick ND over I.U. by 9 and I.U. by 10 over Ft. Wayne?

  • Sandra Wilson

    Aren’t you disappointed any time we lose? Besides, if these guys knew anything, they wouldn’t be working, they’d be multi-millionaires. Heck, we could easily go 0-2, but I’d still be disappointed in both losses. You wouldn’t? Regardless of the line, these are winnable games.

  • Sandra Wilson

    It was me. You were right and I was wrong. I have to admit I can’t figure out this season at all. How can you figure ND beating NC State by 30 with Colson and Ferrell out and then the next game NC State beats Duke. I’m glad I don’t bet on basketball. I’ll try not to ridicule you as much from now on.

  • Missing Moye

    Yep, I’m not feeling very confident about this one.

  • JethroTroll

    You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start comparing ‘who beat who’. Try to explain how Wisky lost to Rutgers the year they played for a NC. You cant, other than accepting the fact that ‘any given night’. And that’s what makes sports so exciting, especially the do or die format of the NCAA tournament. The only way to make sense of it is to look at the big picture. Teams don’t play their best every single game, especially on the road, and most especially in conference play.

  • JethroTroll

    I disagree, but like i said, it is subjective.

  • Ole Man

    Not like some fans mean it, no I’m not.
    I enjoy the games win or lose.
    Wins are fun for sure.
    However, disappointment over a game, particularly one I’m not an active participate in, rarely happens in my life.

  • Ole Man

    They’re generally more right than wrong.
    If IU wins it will be considered an upset.

  • JethroTroll

    No it wouldn’t, especially not at home. The teams are pretty even, and either team winning is far from an upset. Talk about overused terms.

  • sarge

    Haha, I believe that was an oop! Caught Iowa, and the fans sleeping! I am sure they reacted accordingly.

  • sarge

    I agree, it’s an educated guess. That’s why there are odds and different ways to bet.

  • sarge

    I always feel confident, before the games! Game time is when the anxiety hits.

  • sarge

    If we win the next two games, which we can do, we sit pretty well at 5th most likely. As far as the standings are concerned anyway.

  • sarge

    Dangerous, but I feel like the Hall swings things in our favor right??

  • sarge

    I like it! It’s a good opportunity to get 4-2 in conference.

  • cbags05

    I wasn’t saying we are better than them. Just doubting they can break through.

    Edit: I did say that. Lol. Go hoosiers!

  • beppecolo

    Umm…I think she was suggesting OSU over MSU might not have been an upset. OSU looked good! MSU looked like they might have smoked something.

  • Ole Man

    The more overused term by some folks this season is “disappointment.”

  • Ivan Renko

    haha i know what Sandra was suggesting. but the win for OSU, by definition, was an upset.