Big Ten Power Rankings: February 19

  • 02/19/2018 8:00 am in

Only one week remains in the regular season, and every team still has plenty to play for. The four teams at the bottom are all within a half game, while Michigan State has found a bit of separation at the top.

Since this is the last week of the regular season, seeding scenarios for the Big Ten Tournament have been added. For more information on seeding possibilities, view this spreadsheet from The Only Colors.

14. Minnesota (14-14, 3-12 Big Ten; 0.99 points per possession in conference play, 1.12 PPP allowed; KenPom 102, Sagarin 79, RPI 140) (Last week: 12)

Seed range: 10-14

It was an eventful week for the Gophers, who have now lost 11 of 12. On Thursday, Reggie Lynch dropped his appeal and was expelled from the University. Two days later, Amir Coffey was ruled out for the rest of the season after trying to play through a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, the remaining players dropped a home game to Michigan State by a whopping 30 points.

13. Rutgers (13-16, 3-13; 0.87 PPP, 1.03 PPP allowed; KenPom 142, Sagarin 121, RPI 207) (Last week: 14)

Seed range: 10-14

The Scarlet Knights shocked Northwestern in overtime on Tuesday thanks to a 30-point night from Corey Sanders. Now they’re one win away from avoiding a fourth consecutive last-place finish. Technically, that’s progress.

12. Iowa (12-17, 3-13; 1.08 PPP, 1.19 PPP allowed; KenPom 100, Sagarin 85, RPI 154) (Last week: 11)

Seed range: 10-14

Iowa can score with anyone in the conference. The problem is on the other side of the ball, where the Hawkeyes remain on pace to end the season with the Big Ten’s worst defense in the KenPom era.

11. Illinois (13-15, 3-12; 1.01 PPP, 1.09 PPP allowed; KenPom 105, Sagarin 89, RPI 179) (Last week: 13)

Seed range: 10-14

After coming close time and time again, the Illini finally pulled off the upset they had been searching for, shucking the Cornhuskers on Sunday. Junior Leron Black was superb in the victory, posting 28 points and seven rebounds.

10. Wisconsin (12-16, 5-10; 0.99 PPP, 1.08 PPP allowed; KenPom 90, Sagarin 69, RPI 134) (Last week: 10)

Seed range: 8-13

With Thursday’s four-point win over Purdue, Wisconsin has likely avoided a Wednesday game in the Big Ten tournament. In the upset win, junior Ethan Happ received help from freshman Brad Davison, who scored 16 points and added three rebounds and two assists.

9. Northwestern (15-13, 6-9; 0.99 PPP, 1.03 PPP allowed; KenPom 78, Sagarin 65, RPI 117) (Last week: 9)

Seed range: 8-10

A disappointing campaign got worse last week as the Wildcats dropped a pair of close contests in befuddling fashion. Northwestern choked double-digit leads away in both and now are assured no better than a .500 conference season.

8. Maryland (18-11, 7-9; 1.09 PPP, 1.10 PPP allowed; KenPom 41, Sagarin 32, RPI 67) (Last week: 8)

Seed range: 8-10

Unlike Northwestern, the Terrapins were able to get the job done against Rutgers in a wire-to-wire triumph. It doesn’t make up for the missed opportunity that was a close loss earlier in the week in Lincoln, but freshman Bruno Fernando’s strong play was encouraging nonetheless.

7. Indiana (16-12, 9-7; 1.02 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom 72, Sagarin 56, RPI 101) (Last week: 7)

Seed range: 5-7

Indiana has now won a season-bet four straight after downing Illinois and Iowa. The Hoosiers have guaranteed themselves of a top-half regular season finish in the Big Ten. The upcoming week will provide more formidable challenges against Nebraska and Ohio State.

6. Penn State (19-10, 9-7; 1.08 PPP, 1.02 PPP allowed; KenPom 25, Sagarin 37, RPI 76) (Last week: 6)

Seed range: 4-7

Facing two of the Big Ten’s best, the Nittany Lions more than held their own, dismantling Ohio State before losing a heartbreaker to Purdue. Penn State will have a pair of opportunities for quality wins this week, as they take on Michigan and Nebraska.

5. Nebraska (20-9, 11-5; 1.05 PPP, 1.01 PPP allowed; KenPom 56, Sagarin 64, RPI 60) (Last week: 4)

Seed range: 4-7

The Cornhuskers may have blown their chance at a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament after failing to leave Champaign with a win. Now, not only are they likely on the wrong side of the bubble, but their path to an automatic bid became significantly tougher.

4. Michigan (22-7, 11-5; 1.09 PPP, 1.02 PPP allowed; KenPom 23, Sagarin 16, RPI 28) (Last week: 5)

Seed range: 4-6

John Beilein’s club is peaking at the right time. The Wolverines have won five of six, with the latest coming against Iowa and Ohio State. The second came on an emotional senior day that brought a tear to everyone in Crisler Center. That’s because Austin Hatch was honored at center court before the game.

3. Ohio State (22-7, 13-3; 1.13 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom 17, Sagarin 25, RPI 20) (Last week: 1)

Seed range: 1-3

For the first time since November, the Buckeyes have dropped consecutive games. This time, Ohio State lost on the road to both Penn State and Michigan by double-digits. But the Buckeyes are still safely in the NCAA tournament, and as long as they handle business against Rutgers on Tuesday, there shouldn’t be cause for concern.

2. Purdue (24-5, 13-3; 1.15 PPP, 1.00 PPP allowed; KenPom 6, Sagarin 5, RPI 12) (Last week: 2)

Seed range: 1-3

The suddenly freefalling Boilermakers threw away any chance at a second straight outright Big Ten title when they fell at Wisconsin on Thursday. Three days later, Purdue temporarily stopped the bleeding by scraping past Penn State at home. With star senior Vincent Edwards a late scratch after spraining his ankle in practice, sophomore Carsen Edwards took over, scoring 27 points and recording three steals.

1. Michigan State (26-3, 14-2; 1.14 PPP, 0.99 PPP allowed; KenPom 4, Sagarin 4, RPI 14) (Last week: 3)

Seed range: 1-3

Thanks to a miraculous comeback at Northwestern, the path for an outright Big Ten crown is clear for Michigan State, which has now won 10 in a row. All Michigan State has to do is beat Illinois at home and Wisconsin on the road. Sounds simple, but with the twists and turns this season has already provided, nothing should be taken for granted.

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  • N71

    I’m optimistic about the Nebraska game. They’re a good team for sure but we match up well, they don’t have any Sasquatch types so we should be able to defend effectively. Palmer is a nice player but McRoberts should be able to slow him down.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    Sasquatch types is a funny description. I have nothing of value to add, but I felt it important to note that I enjoyed the imagery.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Hopefully RoJo keeps up his hot shooting, Devonte keeps playing well and within himself. Morgan returns to his superhuman self. Not much made of it but IU would not have won the game on Saturday without Colin’s contributions. 5 assists, toughness under the basket when Morgan and McSwain were on the bench and leadership. Hopefully Nebraska is doubting itself a little after losing to Illinois and we can pin another L on them. Go Hoosiers!

  • Sandra Wilson

    I have never figured out how teams playing each other in a weak league makes them (in this case the B1G) better than people expected. If they are all beating each other, how does that show strength? It may show parity, but if they aren’t beating teams from other conferences, what does that mean? The only real comparison we have is the ACC – B1G challenge and we all know how that ended. Most fans of a particular conference say, well, we’ve improved so much, never considering that the other conferences have also gotten better. I’m not saying the B1G is much worse than the others, I’m just saying there’s certainly no proof that they are equal to the rest or even better than originally projected. I guess we’ll need to wait for the NCAA tourney to see how things go.

  • sarge

    They list the seeds in the power rankings Arch. We finish no worse than 7, so don’t worry about Maryland and Northwestern. Look ahead to Nebraska and Penn State. We stand a real good chance of taking 6th away from Penn State if we win out and can possibly end up 5th, which would be huge if we want to run the table in the conference tournament. Finishing 6th or better is big because we would play a team that has already played a game the day before. Right now 7th gives us a rematch at Wisky, and I for one would love to put them out of the tournament and end their season.

  • sarge

    Just don’t mess with Sasquatch

  • sarge

    I don’t think anybody would want to play Penn State in the tournament. They have giant killer written all over them. What a season they are having.

  • Ole Man

    Fair “questions” that you raise.
    However, a made-for-TV event early in the season is no real measure of the relative strength or weakness of either conference. There is no seeding for example, and most match-ups are made with audience $$$ in mind.
    A better example is the annual media love-in for the Big 12, which is occurring again this year. They get a bunch of overrated teams in who, in all honesty do not belong, and they are gone in the first weekend.
    Oklahoma is a great example of that this year — 16-10, 6-8 in conference, losers of 8 of their last ten — yet, they are being given a 5 seed at this point.
    Both Neb and PSU are better than OK; watch them play. But the “experts” once again have it wrong.
    The ACC is no better.
    The first 7 teams in the Big Ten this year match up with any conference. That’s how even the parity is.

  • Tommy Morrsion

    I’m not so sure. NE has a lot of length. No sasquatch sightings tomorrow, but Roby and Copeland are tall and can give us fits (much like Cooke for Iowa). Their zone is very active which worries me as three point shooting and our guards dribbling to create offense hasn’t been a strength over the course of the season.

  • Apoc

    To further add on to this, the way they are picking teams for the tourney is a travesty. This new “quadrant” based system on the surface sounds great, but once you read into it, it is based on teams’ RPI rankings (we all know how flawed that system is).

  • sarge

    There isn’t a dominant conference, so I don’t understand why even if the big is down that there wouldn’t be more at large picks. Media bias is terrible and they have to eat their words almost every year, yet go unchecked with their babbling the next season as if they never make terrible predictions.

  • Tcuomo

    How good can the Big 12 be if the same team has won 14 years in a row? The Big 12 is gunna flame out again in March.

  • Wheatster

    Sasquatch is undefeated in hide-n- seek lol

  • Ole Man

    Excellent point!

  • Arch Puddington

    Strange season. Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, and even Maryland have all really fizzled. Nebraska, Penn State, and even Michigan have all been surprisingly good, as have the Hoosiers. We have a rough finish, but so do Penn State and Maryland, the teams closest to us in the standings. Maryland and Northwestern play each other, so one of them will drop a game for sure. Penn State plays Michigan and Nebraska, likely to lose at least one. Lots of variables, but it looks to me like if we can win one more game, we have a real shot to finish 6th. Even if we lose both games and finish 9-9, we probably stay where we are (although I haven’t done all the combinations…)

    Anyway, ITH looks smart (as always) for its prediction of 8th. It hasn’t gone the way anyone expected, but as the dust settles, we are in better position than it seemed possible after last season. And props to bball at nick’s and others who have argued that the B1G has shaped up to be stronger than the bracketologists say. Neither Nebraska nor Penn State appear likely to make the tourney, but both are absolutely tournament caliber teams.

  • Arch Puddington

    Some fair points. Beating a bunch of mediocre teams does not by itself make a team great. So I looked closer:

    1. Penn State has beaten Ohio State twice — once by 23 points — played Purdue close on the road, and has destroyed a number of the lower-tier teams in the B1G. Kenpom has them 25th, and his rankings have proven to be the most accurate predictor of tournament performance. All that, plus the infamous eye test, tells me that they are a good team.

    2. Nebraska illustrates your point much more clearly. A quick look at their schedule suggests they have two bad losses — Illinois and St. John’s — but no particularly good wins. Mostly they have taken care of their business against the B1G’s weaker teams. Kenpom has them 56th, which means that
    while they have won a fair number of games, they haven’t been especially impressive doing so. Penn State seems like the real deal to me, but upon closer inspection, Nebraska seems less so.

    And that, in turn, gives me a bit more hope for a victory against them. If DG and RJ can play at anywhere near their best, no reason at all we can’t win, even at their place.

  • Colt

    Purdue was fortunate to beat Penn State. Their poor rebounding will sink them in the NCAA tourney.

  • Hardwood83

    I agree that NCAA as a whole is down, but the B1G still sucks.
    Mich St is very talented, but seems ripe for a tourney flameout. PU and OSU have over-achieved. Michigan is a solid team, but nothing more.

  • AndyCapp

    It will be a travesty if, as Bracketology predicts, the B1G only sends 4 teams through to the NCAA Tourney. While it may not be as dominant as in past year’s, the B1G is certainly not as “down” as the media pundits have proclaimed. Will be a sad joke if this actually occurs.

  • AndyCapp

    I didn’t say that the NCAA is down as a whole so not sure who you’re agreeing with. And I DEF disagree that that the B1G sucks. At this point in time I would pin our top 7 against any other conference and bet we would win the majority.

  • Colt

    Roby is the X factor. He is very talented and when he plays well the Huskers usually fare well.

  • PuddingPuddingPudding

    Sorry, we will not run the table in the tournament no matter what seed we get. A decent season, all things considered. The future is bright.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    That’s bull s and you know that. If you truly believe that then explain why the Big performance is extremely well in the Tournament when all the so called experts declare the Big bad.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    The B1G was a lot worse in November than they are today. I think the media pundits have a hangover from the B1G/ACC challenge. Which is too bad for Nebraska, Penn State and IU — each of which I would argue could hold their own with most teams in the country on a neutral site.

  • vicbert caladipo

    These rankings seem solid although I’d flip flop UW and NW. It’s the bracketologists that have their head up their rears. I can name 3 teams right now that don’t deserve bids. Oklahoma, Louisville, and Kentucky. . OK has been poor for the past 6 weeks. Uk middle of the pack in the SEC. Louisville hasn’t beaten anybody. And these teams as well as several others are firmly in. This quadrant crapola is the making of a lot of upsets of middling power conference teams. I think teams that are playing well at the end of the season should be rewarded more than teams who did all their work early. OK has lost 8-10. No way they deserve a bid. If they lose to Kansas tonight they should be gone. Even if they win I’d have them on the bubble. Playing well at the end shows that team is ready for the dance. These teams fading down the stretch will more than likely be your upsets. The big12 has been over rated for years.

  • sarge

    Whatever man, you believe whatever you want. It’s a possibility, as anything is possible and that is why they play the games. People early in the season assumed Michigan State would just walk to a title too. No need to say sorry, but I believe this team can do it with some luck the way they are playing. Let’s just see what we can do at Nebraska first and talk more later.

  • sarge

    Kansas is good, but not dominant like they are in their league. Big 12 is not competitive.

  • Hardwood83

    What tourney performance? Apparently you misunderstood- we’re talking about this season, not all-time. Otherwise, I guess we’ll have to disagree.

  • Hardwood83

    I responded to the wrong comment (intended for Sarge below). Sorry for the confusion.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Thanks for getting back. Enjoy the game against Nebraska.

  • PuddingPuddingPudding

    I’m as big an IU fan as any…but people need to be realistic.

    Wanted to see what we could do at Nebraska? Exactly.

    We are a .500 team. That’s what we are. A good start by Archie, I love the direction he’s taking us… but zero chance we win the B10 tourney. Not going to happen with this team.