Big Ten Power Rankings

Jed Conklin | Associated Press

1. OHIO STATE

Last time around: 1

This week: SC-Upstate (Dec. 14), at South Carolina (Dec. 17)

Without Jared Sullinger in the lineup at Kansas, the Buckeyes showed that they are indeed beatable. But they’ve already got two top 10 wins in the early season to show for and didn’t worry many voters in the polls this week, staying steadfast at No. 2 in the nation. Sullinger should be back soon, and Ohio State will quickly drift back to near-immortality.

2. WISCONSIN

Last time around: 2

This week: at Milwaukee (tonight), Savannah State (Dec. 15)

Jordan Taylor continues to struggle mightily, still just shooting 36 percent from the floor and now averaging a tick under 12 points per game. But the Badgers continue to win, and most recently, came away with an impressive ‘W’ against UNLV on the heels of Ben Brust’s 7-for-7 performance from beyond the arc. You get the feeling that the party can’t last that much longer for Wisconsin, but then again, they won’t be tested until the first week of January. They’ve got time to get Taylor going.

3. MICHIGAN STATE

Last time around: 3

This week: Bowling Green (Dec. 17), UMKC (Dec. 19)

Draymond Green reminded us against Gonzaga on Saturday that he is indeed still a stud. The Bulldogs had only lost six games at their gym in seven years before the Spartans came to Spokane, but Green’s 34 points on 11-of-13 added another loss to the Zags impressive home record. Michigan State continues to rebound at a torrid pace as young guys like sophomore Adreian Payne continue to develop. Their opening Big Ten game on Dec. 28 against Indiana should be a doozy.

4. INDIANA

Last time around: 5

This week: (n) Notre Dame (Dec. 17), Howard (Dec. 19)

Absolutely everyone has heard about Indiana’s shocking upset of No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday, and you could make a case for the Hoosiers being as high as No. 2 on this list, considering they have the conference’s most impressive victory this season. But despite the fact that Indiana is “back” to national prominence, the Hoosiers haven’t played the competition that their counterparts ahead of them have played. If they start out hot in the Big Ten slate, expect them to move up this list – and fast.

5. MICHIGAN

Last time around: 4

This week: Arkansas Pine-Bluff (tonight), Alabama A&M (Dec. 17)

The Wolverines grinded out a good win against Oakland at a neutral site and continue to be among the best in the country at shooting from the perimeter. They won’t be challenged again until Big Ten season, but before then, Michigan will look to get through its growing pains quickly, especially on defense, as young players like Trey Burke and Evan Smotrycz have been enigmatic early on. The continued development of Burke will be key in Ann Arbor.

6. PURDUE

Last time around: 6

This week: (n) Butler (Dec. 17), IPFW (Dec. 20)

The Boilermakers have had plenty of close calls this season against easy opponents (Western Carolina, Iona and High Point, specifically), but their only losses have come against Xavier and Alabama. They’re grinding out victories when it matters most, and Robbie Hummel continues to do well in his return season. Maybe it’s just a hunch, but Purdue seems to me like another team that can’t keep skating through for long.

7. ILLINOIS

Last time around: 7

This week: UNLV (Dec. 17), Cornell (Dec. 19)

Shocking, I know, to see the Big Ten’s only other undefeated team (aside from Indiana) ranked this low, but having watched the Illini’s poor showing against St. Bonaventure last week, I think the No. 7 spot is justified. Meyers Leonard and Sam Maniscalco are key cogs for this team moving forward, and a matchup with UNLV on Saturday should give better insight into where Illinois belongs. But the fact that they’re this low is more a testament to the depth of the Big Ten than anything.

8. MINNESOTA

Last time around: 8

This week: Central Michigan (tonight)

Minnesota continues to trudge along by shooting the lights out and have had the benefit of not playing a single game away from Minneapolis till the Big Ten slate starts. The Gophers are shooting near 50 percent, but have already been hurt by the loss of Trevor Mbakwe, dropping to 195th in the nation on the boards. They’ll fight for a tournament bid at some point this season, but I just don’t see them doing it without Mbakwe.

9. NORTHWESTERN

Last time around: 7

This week: Texas Southern (Dec. 15), Central Connecticut State (Dec. 17), Eastern Illinois (Dec. 18)

The Wildcats haven’t played since their Dec. 4 drubbing at the hands of Baylor, and after an easy week coming up, they’ll take on Creighton and Ohio State, two games that will seriously challenge their shoot-so-you-don’t-have-to-rebound strategy. John Shurna’s shooting percentage is down, especially after his 4-of-19 performance against Baylor. And if that doesn’t hover around 50 percent, Northwestern should be worried.

10. NEBRASKA

Last time around: 10

This week: Alcorn State (Dec. 17)

With a decent win over TCU on Saturday, Nebraska continues to hold out at the front of the Big Ten’s bottom tier. But that might not last long once Big Ten season begins. The Cornhuskers will get a rude welcome to the conference, as they begin the Big Ten slate with seven of eight matchups against ranked opponents. Ouch. But good news for Nebraska, at least they get Penn State in the middle of that brutal stretch.

11. IOWA

Last time around: 12

This week: Drake (Dec. 17), Central Arkansas (Dec. 19)

The Hawkeyes were blown out of their own state, losing by 20 to Northern Iowa and 10 to Iowa State. Thanks to Penn State’s abysmal week though, the Hawkeyes move up one spot this week. Good news for Iowa though, sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe is starting to bounce back, shooting over 50 percent from the floor and averaging 13 points and eight rebounds over his last three games.

12. PENN STATE

Last time around: 11

This week: Mount St. Mary’s (Dec. 18)

That was a rough, rough week for the Nittany Lions. With Tim Frazier struggling lately – including an 0-for-12 effort against Lafayette – Penn State went into a free fall, losing to Ole Miss (8-1), Lafayette (4-6) and Duquesne (6-4). Good news for them, Frazier played a decent game against Duquesne, but with the way things have gone thus far, there may not be that much to look forward to in State College when Big Ten season starts

8 comments

  1. Sullinger should be back soon, and Ohio State will quickly drift back to near-immortality.

    Near-immortality? Huh? Was that a reference to how Matta built his first years in OSU by sucking talent from Indiana like a vampire feeds on blood?

    Near-invincibility might make more sense..The “near” part being when they come to Bloomington this year. I would get much more satisfaction from the Hoosiers sweeping the Buckeyes than the win against #1 Kentucky. Matta irritates the hell out of me with his smug sarcastic grins. He needs thoroughly knocked off his temporary perch of arrogance.

  2. Kansas showed us the blueprint for beating OSU – eliminate Sullinger… I don’t think the refs will allow Zeller to get him in early foul trouble. I think the refs are thoroughly lodged in Sullinger’s arse because he’s the preseason Wooden Awardee. But if we are able to get a couple quick fouls on him and then another one early in the second half, just like we did with Davis, then we may be able to pull an upset. I think OSU is a much better team than UK however, so I’m kinda counting on those two losses… I know, I’m sorry.

  3. And you picked UK..And you were wrong. And it was UK constantly attempting to claw back in. You’re a blue lobster. You should be sorry you’re blue.

    No way OSU beats us at Assembly this year. That 3-year party for Matta is over. At OSU will be a much more difficult task though I believe the game will feature more pressure on the Buckeyes since the Hoosiers will already have taken Round 1.

  4. grinded, ryan?

    anyway, i think our schedule is tougher than baylor, marquette, and miss st, if memory serves. all ranked above iu.

  5. I love being wrong about these things. Hope I’m wrong again. I believed UK would win based on the Jones/Watford matchup… wow, could that have gone more in our favor… It was like he was paid to blow the game… and not only is Jones the absolute dawg of the game, but Watford is the HERO!

    However, I didn’t think that UK was a legit number one, just better than IU. I thought/think that UNC is the better team even after losing to them. I always thought that OSU was the better team (to UK). I am fairly convinced that OSU is the best team in the country when healthy, with UNC being a very close second. I’m definitely not sold on Cuse.

    Bottom line, is it possible for IU to beat Ohio State? Sure, just like I thought it was possible for us to beat UK, just not probable.

    Here was my checklist for beating UK
    1. Keep Zeller out of foul trouble – CHECK!
    2. Shoot 40% from 3 – CHECK (60%)!
    3. Shoot 75% from FT line – CHECK (82%)!
    4. IU committing fewer than 12 TO’s – FAILED (18)
    5. Win the battle of the bench – EVEN, statistically. Although I thought our bench played better.

    My checklist will be slightly different for the OSU game, but I’ll wait until we get closer to put it in ink.

    Right now I just hope we don’t have a melt down against ND. I think that there is still enough of a chip on their shoulders where we won’t. One thing is certain though, IU is still in “prove it to me” mode… right where they should be, and right where they’ll thrive.

  6. How do we beat OSU(inspired by Geoff)?

    1. Cody must stay out of foul trouble..Duh

    2. Win the battle on the boards..Duh

    3. Jordy needs twenty..Could happen

    4. Hold ND to below 50% shooting on their 3s…Easy

    5. Shoot above 42% from the field..Easy

    2 Duh + 2 Easy + Could happen = I’m a genius. CHECK! It’s two-of-a-kind and a high off-card. CHECK!

    Wouldn’t you agree that having five things in row makes anyone look smart? CHECK! Oh, and if you want to talk seriously about football, I will gladly send Dustin my e-mail address and we may freely correspond in such manner. Wouldn’t you agree that an element of secrecy always builds credibility? CHECK! Heaven forbid embarrass the other poster by making an outward claim their opinion is of little value. Suggest it, but have some decorum..By saying “we can talk via e-mail” shows you have a level of respect beyond the typical blogger that just calls people “idiots” and “morons.” CHECK! More importantly, the suggestion of not wanting to insult the other blogger, while still arrogantly displaying a viewpoint that your position and breadth of understanding reigns supreme, automatically enhances credibility. CHECK! It’s called being “slick.” CHECK!

    You’re slick, Geoff. I like slick. Oh, and did I tell you I “love being wrong?” Love it..love it…love it. LOL. Unfortunately, a hillbilly from Hahvahd, and a slippery blue lobster, keep beating your predictions. And that’s the only CHECK! that matters.

  7. Top-10 suggested catchphrases for Geoff’s ‘List of Five.’

    10. Hoosiers Stayin’ Alive Five

    9. Five Ways I Love Being Wrong

    8. Geoff’s Royal Flush of Big Red Doubt

    7. The Maine Thrust

    6. Five Toes in Yar..mouth

    5. Geoff Folds Five…It’s not Ben, but they’re still bricks.

    4. A Whining Hand

    3. Cool Hand Fluke (also a good nickname for Jordy in the NBA)

    2. Kid Lister’s List Supreme…It will knock you out!

    1. CHECK! please

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