Big Ten Power Rankings: January 15

  • 01/15/2018 4:29 pm in

We’re one-third through the Big Ten regular season, and the results have been anything but expected. Two undefeated teams still remain, while only Illinois remains winless.

14. Illinois (10-8, 0-5; 1.01 Points Per Possession in conference play, 1.09 PPP allowed; KenPom – 95, Sagarin – 74, RPI – 149) (Last week: 13)

For the third time in five Big Ten defeats, the Illini fell in overtime. This time the opponent was lowly Iowa, as Illinois blew a 13-point halftime lead to remain winless in conference play. Brad Underwood’s club will have two shots at a victory this week, but both games will be on the road – at Nebraska (Monday) and at Wisconsin (Friday).

13. Iowa (10-9, 1-5; 1.06 PPP, 1.16 PPP allowed; KenPom – 85, Sagarin – 69, RPI – 136) (Last week: 14)

The Hawkeyes picked up their first conference win, dispatching the Illini in overtime. Sharpshooter Jordan Bohannon poured in 29 points, nailing five triples and sinking all 10 of his free throw attempts.

12. Rutgers (11-8, 1-5; 0.85 PPP, 1.05 PPP allowed; KenPom – 133, Sagarin – 118, RPI – 200) (Last week: 12)

Steve Pikiell’s squad has the lowest offensive PPP in the Big Ten, yet nearly knocked off Michigan State in East Lansing, falling in overtime. The Scarlet Knights followed up that effort with a 22-point blowout loss at home to Ohio State. Rutgers will have to traverse the conference schedule without senior captain Mike Williams, who is out indefinitely after suffering an ankle injury over the weekend.

11. Minnesota (13-6, 2-4; 0.95 PPP, 1.04 PPP allowed; KenPom – 68, Sagarin – 58, RPI – 84) (Last week: 7)

The Gophers have yet to reach rock bottom, but they’re getting awfully close. Without starters Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey, Minnesota dropped games at Northwestern and to Purdue by a combined 57 points. Head coach Richard Pitino suggested his team could use a break, but there is no relief on the horizon as they prepare for a week-long road trip to Penn State (Monday) and Maryland (Thursday).

10. Northwestern (11-8, 2-4; 0.96 PPP, 1.02 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 76, Sagarin – 57, RPI – 108) (Last week: 11)

After dominating Minnesota on Wednesday, the Wildcats regressed back to what they’ve been throughout the season, leading to a shellacking at the hands of Indiana. The Wildcats managed to score just 46 points against Indiana on 26 percent shooting, with not a single player reaching double-figures. Now two games under .500 in the conference, Northwestern is running out of time to regroup in time to make a postseason run.

9. Wisconsin (9-9, 2-3; 0.99 PPP, 1.05 PPP allowed) (KenPom – 78, Sagarin – 66, RPI – 140) (Last week: 8)

Wisconsin failed to secure a much-needed road victory in Lincoln, and as a result, the Badgers postseason prospects continue to fade. With five games remaining against Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan, this could shape up to be Wisconsin’s worst campaign since 1998 – the last time they failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

8. Nebraska (12-7, 3-3; 0.96 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom – 81, Sagarin – 79, RPI – 72) (Last week: 10)

The Cornhuskers nearly swept their two-game slate last week but came up two points short in overtime at Penn State on Saturday. A favorable schedule looms for Nebraska, with no games versus Michigan State or Purdue, and just one each against Michigan and Ohio State. Even with the soft schedule, Nebraska will have to clean up their work on the offensive end – they’re currently ranked dead last in conference play in both offensive rebounding percentage (24.5) and percentage of shots blocked (15.7).

7. Penn State (13-6, 3-3; 1.04 PPP, 1.01 PPP allowed; KenPom – 47, Sagarin – 51, RPI – 117) (Last week: 6)

Without junior guard Josh Reaves in action in either of Penn State’s past two games (academic issues), the Nittany Lions were able to survive the week with a 1-1 record. In Reaves’ absence, sophomores Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens picked up the slack in a win over Nebraska, combining to score 46 points on 17-of-26 from the field (65 percent).

6. Indiana (11-7, 4-2; 1.01 PPP, 0.97 PPP allowed; KenPom – 88, Sagarin – 65, RPI – 105) (Last week: 9)

Archie Miller’s club has used a soft spot in the schedule to build up momentum as Big Ten play nears the halfway point. The Hoosiers concluded a two-game homestand with a 20-point beatdown of Northwestern. Indiana is now in for a grueling few weeks, with four of the next seven on the road, including matchups in East Lansing and Columbus.

5. Maryland (14-5 3-3; 1.11 PPP, 1.19 PPP allowed; KenPom – 41, Sagarin – 34, RPI – 47) (Last week: 5)

Through six Big Ten games, the Terrapins defense is far and away the worst in the league, allowing 1.19 points per possession. The Buckeyes torched Maryland on Thursday, posting 91 points at a rate of 1.38 PPP. With season-ending injuries to forwards Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender, Maryland has been forced to rely on sophomore Joshua Tomaic, who scored 11 points in the loss.

4. Michigan State (16-3, 4-2; 1.11 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom – 6, Sagarin – 6, RPI – 30) (Last week: 2)

The Spartans are in a January freefall, losing two of their past three, with the lone win coming in overtime to Rutgers. Michigan State will have to stop the bleeding fast if they want to remain in the hunt for the conference crown. Luckily for Tom Izzo, his team will be the overwhelming favorite in their next three games – vs. Indiana, at Illinois, vs. Wisconsin – allowing the Spartans to regain their rhythm before the schedule picks back up.

3. Michigan (15-4, 4-2; 1.10 PPP, 1.03 PPP allowed; KenPom – 17, Sagarin – 15, RPI – 32) (Last week: 4)

The Wolverines outscored the Spartans by 11 in the second half to push past their in-state foes in their only meeting of the regular season. Star junior Moritz Wagner recorded a career-high 27 points, connecting on three triples while also blocking a pair of shots. With three quality wins on the resume (vs. UCLA, at Texas, at Michigan State), Michigan now find themselves firmly in the NCAA tournament field with plenty of opportunities to boost their status.

2. Ohio State (15-4, 6-0; 1.23 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 16, Sagarin – 24, RPI – 22) (Last week: 3)

In his first year in Columbus, Chris Holtmann has his team rolling with conference play well underway. The Buckeyes boast the Big Ten’s best offense and have won every Big Ten game by at least nine points. This week, Ohio State earned a pair of 22-point triumphs on the back of consecutive 20-point outbursts from junior Keita Bates-Diop.

1. Purdue (17-2, 6-0; 1.16 PPP, 0.96 PPP allowed; KenPom – 2, Sagarin – 1, RPI – 9) (Last week: 1)

Winners of 13 straight, Purdue keeps on humming along. The Boilermakers were tested in Ann Arbor on Tuesday but came out on top after an Isaac Haas free throw in the final seconds. Favored by KenPom in all but one of their 12 remaining regular season matchups, the Boilers are poised for another conference title.

Filed to:

  • Drew

    I’m not seeing the logic in having Maryland ahead of Indiana at #5.

  • Ivan Renko

    I tend to agree with you… but their 3 conference losses came against Purdue, OSU, and MSU. Our 2 conf losses came against a bad Wisconsin team and Michigan. To me, it’s who lost to the worse teams?

    overall, maryland has probably played the easiest OVERALL schedule with little to show for it. I think I’d flip IU and Maryland this week in those 2 spots like you suggest, but doesn’t mean much

  • pcantidote

    They play next Monday. That’ll sort it out.

  • Drew

    Our efficiency margins are far and away better than Maryland right now. It’s not a big deal. I’m happy with the team regardless.

  • calbert40

    Third in the B1G in AdjD. I’ll take that all day!

  • Arch Puddington

    So you DO see the logic, you just disagree with it. I will admit that the difference between 4th and 5th doesn’t mean much to me at this point, I’m just glad to see us somewhere other than, say, 12th. We have a nasty stretch ahead, so I won’t be surprised if we drop some. On the other hand, an unexpected win or two would be pretty big for both our “Power Rank” and our long term prospects.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I remember RMK liked to break the B1G season into shorter stretches, and set goals for those stretches. I think there is a reasonable, albeit challenging, goal to win 2/3 games. Then see where we are at. I’m not ready to jump with both feet into the coolaid theory that IU has turned the corner – but I sure hope they have!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    You are correct and boy oh boy is this a big stretch with the Big Ten season.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    So big – win 2/3 and play consistent with the level of the last 3 and- then a reasonable goal of 2/3 again…. meaning we won at least 2 against top 15 teams… then 8-4 in the conference and suddenly everyone starts talking about seeding… lose 2/3, then 2/3-3/3, and sadly talking about whether in the NIT.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Absolutely agree with you. I think or hoping this team puts everything together for this stretch. Beating Northwestern by 20 is a big start. By the way, with Northwestern losing all momentum from last year I wonder how that will weigh on Chris Collins. I bet he move on.

  • vicbert caladipo

    What are the odds that fridays game is called fairly? 5-1……20-1…….100-1

  • PBzeer

    The two early games left us with 16. I break them down into 4 game segments. 3-1 in the first, now, we just need to go 3-1 for the rest. But even going 7-5 over the last 12 gets us to 11-7. Keep playing defense like we have been and a lot of things become possible.

  • Koko

    This piece did not include the Maryland loss last night…they are 3-4 at this point. I agree for now the places should be reversed.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Yeah – I felt Collins, regardless of being happy, should have moved on up last season while the coals were hot. I just feel that NW’s ceiling is lower than the ceiling at other places — regardless I’m surprised by this season for them.

  • Oldguyy

    Count your blessings; at least it’s not at the Kohl Center.

  • IUBizmark

    Love this write up. Two things:
    1) The Purdue numbers are different in the write up and in the table for their defense.

    2) Obviously the numbers on PPP aren’t adjusted for strength of schedule, so I’d expect the road for us to get tougher there. That being said, Archie has the defense getting tuned up and I’m optimistic a lot of the oddities and wrinkles that teams have used against us will be less effective because we’ve seen most of those tactics.

  • Dave Carnes

    The difference will be big at the end of the year.Even on a down year we get 5 teams in the dance