Big Ten Power Rankings

Andy Colwell | Associated Press

1. MICHIGAN STATE

Last time around: 1

This week: Iowa (tonight), at Northwestern (Jan. 14)

Tom Izzo’s crew grinded out a solid win thanks to the clock at the Kohl Center to send Wisconsin on a three-game skid, as the Spartans are starting to look more and more like Big Ten favorites. Their post players are rebounding at an extraordinary rate, good enough for eighth in the country, and Draymond Green is putting himself in All-American discussions, in my opinion. They have a tough road matchup upcoming with Michigan a week from now, but other than that, January is shaping up to be a kind month to the Spartans.

2. INDIANA

Last time around: 2

This week: Minnesota (Jan. 12), at Ohio State (Jan. 15)

Again, you can make a case for the Hoosiers at the top, but I came away less impressed than most by their road win over Penn State. No doubt, Penn State played one of its better games all season, but the Hoosiers turned the ball over way too much (16) and allowed 82 points to a team that boasts the worst field goal percentage in the Big Ten (and one of the worst in the country). The defense, for as much as it’s been a focus, has slid a little bit, as Big Ten opponents are averaging almost 76 points against the Hoosiers. That being said, the offense is shooting the lights out right now, hitting 16 3-pointers against the Nittany Lions. January 15th is a date that could help decide the trajectory of Indiana’s season.

3. OHIO STATE

Last time around: 3

This week: at Illinois (tonight), Indiana (Jan. 15)

The Buckeyes are still the most talented team in the Big Ten, and I expect them to be neck-and-neck with Michigan State for the Big Ten title (with Indiana not too far behind). They showed their utter dominance over the weak of the Big Ten in the last week, blowing out Iowa and Nebraska, following their loss to Indiana. Jared Sullinger is looking more and more dominant with a double-double and another near-double-double in those two games, so much so that you wouldn’t even know that William Buford has been in a pretty bad slump. The question is will they remain consistent against better competition?

4. MICHIGAN

Last time around: 4

This week: Northwestern (Jan. 11), at Iowa (Jan. 14)

Michigan came into Assembly Hall and gave the Hoosiers a challenge almost equal to the challenge that Ohio State did the week before. Trey Burke struggled, but still put up decent numbers, and Tim Hardaway Jr. showed in the Wolverines’ next game that he’s still capable of taking over a game. With talent that’s only getting better, Michigan has a lot to look forward to. However, the Wolverines have yet to play Ohio State and Michigan State, and my bet is they aren’t on the same level as those two teams, especially on the road. The end of January/beginning of February is a gauntlet, and if it can get through that relatively unscathed, Michigan might move up.

5. ILLINOIS

Last time around: 7

This week: Ohio State (tonight)

It’s not quality wins that have the Illini moving up, but the fact that they won games while the rest of the Big Ten slid gives them a two-spot bump. Illinois still doesn’t have a quality win outside of beating Gonzaga in Champaign, and lucky for Bruce Weber, the Illini have one of the more balanced schedules in the Big Ten with just one set of back-to-back ranked opponents. D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul have struggled as of late, but watch out for freshman Joseph Bertrand who has exploded onto the radar in Illinois’ last five games. As he gets more and more minutes, the Illini might be more and more of a threat. Till then, I still think they’re a tier below any team ahead of them.

6. PURDUE

Last time around: 5

This week: Wisconsin (Jan. 12)

Purdue had one of the ugliest losses in the Big Ten this season when they were embarrassed in a 20-point shellacking by Penn State. The loss came right after an impressive 15-point win over Illinois, but no one remembers that now. The Boilermakers have a lot of holes still that we’ll see exposed more and more frequently as the season goes along, most glaring of which is their inside presence. Robbie Hummel and Co. need a win badly over the reeling Badgers, as the road only gets harder from here on out.

7. WISCONSIN

Last time around: 6

This week: at Purdue (Jan. 12), Penn State (Jan. 15)

I had initially intended on the Badgers falling farther than just one spot in these rankings, but I can’t help but think that Wisconsin is better than every team in the Big Ten’s bottom half. No doubt, the Badgers are free-falling right now with three straight losses coming at the hands of Iowa, Michigan State, and Michigan. The loss to the Wolverines was especially embarrassing, as Michigan beat the Badgers at their own game, keeping them to just 31 percent from the floor. Someone needs to step up on offense for Wisconsin, as Jordan Taylor is proving week after week that he’s no longer capable. I think Ryan Evans could fill that role, but as of right now, things aren’t looking good for Bo Ryan’s team. They need a win on Thursday even worse than Purdue does.

8. IOWA

Last time around: 8

This week: at Michigan State (tonight), Michigan (Jan. 14)

The Hawkeyes are now officially everyone’s dark horse in the Big Ten race. But that bandwagon might just slow down considerably in the next few games. Iowa faces Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan at home, and Purdue in West Lafayette, and it’s likely that they’ll be 0-3 in that period. I’ve doubted Fran McCaffrey’s team before though, so anything is possible. But it’s tough for me to ignore early losses to Northern Iowa and Campbell when I put Iowa in the same conversation with Purdue, Wisconsin, or Illinois. The Hawkeyes still have a few good teams to beat before I fully jump on the bandwagon.

9. NORTHWESTERN

Last time around: 10

This week: at Michigan (Jan. 11), Michigan State (Jan. 14)

Northwestern tallied its first Big Ten win, against Penn State, and is now 1-3 in-conference. The Wildcats still have the potential to score in bunches, and if they get hot, their capable of outshooting some Big Ten teams. But the more and more I look at this team, the less and less I think an NCAA Tournament bid is a possibility. They’re still awful on the boards, and their shooting has slowly slid as they get deeper and deeper into the Big Ten slate. John Shurna is still a top-flight shooting talent, but he hasn’t been able to carry Northwestern yet this season. The next two games will be a measuring stick, but I don’t think the Wildcats will move up this list much more this season.

10. MINNESOTA

Last time around: 9

This week: at Indiana (Jan. 12), at Penn State (Jan. 15)

There are plenty of Big Ten teams reeling in the past week or two, and Minnesota appears to be one of them. Rodney Williams has stepped up to play power forward and found some success, registering extraordinarily high rebounding numbers (26 total) in his last two games. He looks like a lock there, but the Gophers haven’t been able to get much else going around him. That ineptitude peaked in their recent matchup with Purdue, as the Boilermakers dominated the Gophers at their own court. That’s never a good sign, and Minnesota will likely lose its next game (at Indiana) and possibly the one after (at Penn State). That could be a crushing blow going forward.

11. PENN STATE

Last time around: 12

This week: at Nebraska (Jan. 11), Minnesota (Jan. 15)

No one is denying that the Nittany Lions are one of the hardest playing teams in the Big Ten. They played out of their minds in their recent loss to Indiana, almost coming back at the end, despite the Hoosiers’ fantastic shooting from beyond the arc. Pat Chambers’ team also registered one of the more shocking wins of the season, dominating Purdue at home in State College. Talent will keep this team in the Big Ten’s bottom half, but if Chambers’ can get some more talent out of the Philadelphia area, this could be a team on the rise in years to come. I’m on the Pat Chambers bandwagon.

12. NEBRASKA

Last time around: 11

This week: Penn State (Jan. 11), at Wisconsin (Jan. 15)

Speaking of reeling teams, the Cornhuskers looked like they would assimilate to the Big Ten in their non-conference slate, but the transition has been an excruciating one, as of late, as Doc Sadler’s team lost its first four Big Ten matchups. To be fair, those were against teams in the Big Ten’s upper half, but the Cornhuskers don’t look to be an intimidating opponent going forward, even on their home court. I still think with someone like Bo Spencer, Nebraska is likely to steal a few games, but its just not in the same class as most of the rest of the conference.

35 comments

  1. Off-topic, but if there were a journalism award for “Best Newspaper Sports Forum/Blog,” the Scoop would beat any site in the country by a landslide.

    I like to go to other blogs to see what people are saying about their teams around the country – hockey, NFL, baseball, college hoops, you name it – and I avow that there is nowhere I have seen that is as intimate, quirky, passionate, in-depth, and unique as the Hoosier Scoop.I roll my eyes from time to time about the soap-opera type ramblings and confessions of the Scoop’s many characters, but in the end they bring such essential color to the site. The Scoop is a reflection of Bloomington: a hodgepodge of small town sports-loving Indiana culture and the flavorful eccentricity of one of the best and most unique college towns anywhere.

    To the Geoffs, JPats, Harvards, Clarions, Tsaos, Podunkers, southport65s, Steves in Ottawa, and Beat Purdues of the world, thank you for your contributions…along with the hard work of Dopirak and Ryan, they are what make this site worth visiting.

  2. Wow, what a compliment. I definitely peruse a few other blogs and fan sites when researching items for my comments, and I haven’t seen anything near what I have experienced here. I went onto a huge UConn fan site about a week before the season started and their werent ANY recent comments… Seriously, like nothing had been discussed since August. FROM THE FAN SITE OF THE DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPS!

    By the way Harvard, I will be writing a 100% positive post tonight. There will be no “…, buts…” in it at all. Stay tuned.

  3. Ryan – I agree with your comments in respect to IU… But I. Fairness to the defensive ppg they have played the best offensive teams I the conference to date. It will be interesting to see if that turns around when they aren’t playing OSU, MSU, and Michigan.

  4. ryan,

    you are not going to win any sports journalist awards if you keep writing “grinded” as past tense for grind. you writed that last week, too. as know the standard for sports journalists is lower than for real journalists, but come on. much like indiana’s defense, your writing has slided recently.

  5. But ground out is a baseball term, duh.

    As for the defense, I think we will pick it up with new opponents.

    This blog is great except for everyone voicing their opinion against VJIII. How dare you be negative! Just kidding.

  6. more funny stuff Harvard, even if it isn’t accurate.

    I never said Hulls’ had peaked. I did say the following:

    1. Hulls is short
    2. Hulls is slow (both true in the context of Div 1 bball)
    3. Hulls won’t be an NBA player

    Hulls will certainly play a starring role in my Purely Positive Post, coming soon to a blog near you.

  7. chet,

    you can find websites that will justify any sort of bad grammar. that doesn’t make it correct. i’m sure apologist.com will tell you that sticktuitiveness and trickeration are acceptable. i’ve seen the movie “the king’s peach” 6 times so i’m pretty much an expert.

  8. No real issue with the rankings. My rankings would be based in who I think wins on a neutral court. I think I’d still have OSU second and IU third.

  9. Whoa…look…at…. what… Brandon…Paul…is…doing…against the Buckeyes…

    OSU is not going to be happy when we roll into town.

  10. The knock on IU is that we haven’t had a significant road win (and we haven’t, but we’ve done pretty well on the road so far). Ohio State, nor anyone else in the B1G has been able to get a significant road win. For a while, it looked like Iowa and Michigan State’s road wins at Wisconsin were big, but since Wisconsin is looking to be less than expected right now, not sure those can count as significant.

    The B1G is ranked as the toughest conference this year and it looks like wins and loses are going to be very hard to predict! There’s a lot of games yet to be played, but right now the top spot seems to be up for grabs and IU is very much in the race. I agree with Ryan that Michigan State should be first in the power rankings right now, tho (not an acceptable spelling of though anywhere except maybe on blogs even though it has enough letters to get the correct sound across).

  11. coachv, it’s kind of like ‘hanged’ versus ‘hung’ when you’re executing someone (which happens all the time in my household). Language is fluid or else we we all sound like Shakespeare. The written word is derived by the manner in which the spoken word is commonly utilized. Whatever makes you comfortable. I do lexicon analysis for a living.

    I’m not saying your statement is wrong, I’m just stating the nature of language.

  12. So does the Illinois victory over Ohio State make IU fans more confident going into Columbus, or much more nervous?

    I could go either way, and I’m not sure how to feel. Will the Buckeyes head home and be so steamed that they just take it out on Indiana, or have they been sufficiently exposed?

    It was anothef Craft turnover that essentially sealed OSU’s fate in the final seconds.

  13. They will be ready. Matta is no idiot and they will be POed. Still Value City does not offer them anything like the 6th man AE offers the Hoosiers. They rarely fill it and the college fan base in Ohio is 85% OSU FB. VO and RA need to platoon and drive Craft nuts. He is prone to the jitters at clutch time and against strong D pressure. If IU takes it are they top 3?

  14. chet,

    a nice way of saying we lower the bar until wrong is right. why american education is sinking into the abyss. kind of like kentucky recruiting ethics.

  15. I positively believe Geoff thinks the chances of an IU victory at OSU our statistically somewhere approaching a cold day in hell.

    I’ve been more amazed at how the premier center in the Big 10 that has been smothered with praise as a top draft NBA pick is being outplayed by guys that have about as much game a Ewe Blab.

    And Craft has been turning the ball over in crunch situations to rival the kid on our roster Hoosier fans can’t take enought afternoon potty-mouth breaks over.

    I would love a win in Columbus, but it’s not crucial. OSU has shown their team is vulnerable as any. Confirming my views a many weeks ago, no team will find the road a cakewalk.

    The most vital thing for the Hoosiers is to not lose focus and energy at home…No hiccups at Assembly Hall and don’t look beyond any game. Play like a cat burglar on the road…keep yourself understated and leave your opponent unsuspecting as you stay close and snatch the victory by stealing the jewels of overinflated confidence the teams at home with minds eslewhere.

    Keep the mentality the world you operate in is full of Seth Davis and Doug Gottlieb doubters that have little respect for your short-lived success….(emphasis on short). The day of your high ranking is short..The road with no bumps is short. Your NBA talent on your roster is short. Your time to enjoy your “big guy on campus” strut you’re unable to conceal from your proud face while walking to class is short. That 7th in the nation ranking is a trap from the East Coast, ACC-lovin’ establishment that dominates sports media and they have purposefully given you false recognition as to suck you into the natural human tendency to bask with your feet up on the recliner and sit on your thumbs in the comforts your fortunes. Don’t buy into it, Hoosiers. Our own town is full of those transplants from South, and East, and Northwest, and Northeast. They love you, but they hate you. They only want you so good…Strong enough, but not strong enough to beat Duke, or NC, or MSU, or Kansas. This town is infected with rodents that hide under floorboards and assemble at night to spite Tom Crean and conspire on words his future failure. You are garbage, Indiana. You’re not that good. You’re not worthy that ranking. You are the underdog of all underdogs. You have one recruit you ride as savior. You have a dorky short white kid for a point guard that is slow as molasses and will have his jock left on the floor when tournament time comes. When Cody leaves for the NBA, the circus will be back in town and your coach will leave a very wealthy man.

    Beware, Indiana. They are slimy and they are slithery. They dispise the birthplace of basketball and they are chiseling away that chip on your shoulder with all that fattened-up praise.

  16. chet,

    a nice way of saying we lower the bar until wrong is right. why american education is sinking into the abyss. kind of like kentucky recruiting ethics.

    hope you enjoy sticktuitiveness when it ends up in webster’s.

  17. I tend to agree with Chet. Language first flows from our mouths, and the rules and the writing come afterwards. I get bothered hearing “Her and her sister are IU fans”, but I’ve known even distinguished doctors and professors to talk like that.

    Off topic:
    Hey Dustin and Ryan- who is in charge of the Scoop app updates? Tell them it would be nice to be able to leave comments through the app itself. As it stands, you have to pull up the actual website.

  18. I have no business nitpicking..You would nee a language landfill for the amount of spelling and grammatical errors in my posts. Just hold your nose while digging through the garbage for a lost piece of jewelry.

  19. Actually Harvard, I think the Hoosiers have a slight chance, which is sunnier than a cold day in hell. I wouldn’t be shocked by the win as I was on New Year’s Eve.

    Once again you exaggerated grossly…
    1) Sullinger was not outplayed by Leonard, he had 21 & 5 while shooting well, including 2-2 from 3- pt range. Leonard had 14 & 5…

    2) I don’t specifically remember Uwe’s skill set, but I know that Leonard is considered a first round pick right now and his stock is rising. He is currently listed as the #5 center prospect on ESPN (Cody is #2).

    You are right about Craft, which is part of what gives me hope. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that if Craft were playing for IU, and performing how he has lately, that we would be plenty opinionated on him as well.

  20. Sad your New Year’s Eve was such a letdown.

    I didn’t look at the final stats..I saw most of the second half and didn’t see much dominance displayed by Sullinger. Curious, did you watch the game? I just thought Leonard got in his head a bit …He also pulled him away from the bucket to hit some very timely buckets from about 12 ft.. That’s a part of Cody’s game I still haven’t seen..Be nice if he could keep his defender honest and display a timely jump shot.

    Hope you got to see Paul coming from the blindside of Sullinger with the sweet rejection during one of OSU’s crucial final trips.

    What happened to the positive post you were promising? I was looking forward to the new fragrance.

  21. Come on now… Stop with the whole being let down by a Hoosier win…

    I didn’t get to but the last two minutes of the game. So I did see that sweet rejection, along with 2 ridiculous 3’s.

    Leonard is going to be a tough test for everyone. He is really showing improvement and a new confidence. They both played well last night. Hard to say a guy that shot almost 60% from the floor and stepped out to hit 2 bombs, and ended up with 20+ points was having a real hard time out there, but again I didn’t see the game.

    I hope to have enough time tonight for my purely positive post. Last night was not the night and since I’m no longer on my mini-vaca I can’t do it during the day… But I promise you, it’s coming. Right after Dustin’s piece on Sandusky…

  22. Ewe was a first rounder, something like #17.

    As far as east coast bias, if a team from the ACC or the Big East had our record with wins against #1 and #2 we’d be in the top 3. Shoot, any OTHER team in the Big Ten might. NC State should break into the top 25 with another win.

    Sullinger is a GREAT player and seems to be a classy young man. He stepped right up to the plate to praise the Hoosiers without complaint or whining. I like him.

    As far as language, the spoken word predates the written by a thousand years. I’m not promoting slang but rural South Carolina slang sounds a lot more like the King’s English than anything spoken in a Fortune 500 conference room. It’s just the way it is. If we got dropped into London around 1400 AD we wouldn’t understand a damned thing they were saying.

    If you ever want to be bored to tears by linguistics, neurolinguistics, lexicons, pragmatics, audition, speech acoustics, neurological development, and so forth and so on, I’m your man. I can get prisoners in solitary to beg me to leave.

  23. Chet, Your personal slant in the 2nd half of post #28 was rich reading. I also agree about Sullinger.

  24. Sorry, no love for Sullinger. I’m not a fan. I think Matta’s personality rubs off on the entire team. It looks like they’re all from Smirksville. The complements feel like the type of teachers I could never stand that would put on display with public praise a not-so-bright student when they give slight surprise a hint of something above the pigeonholed lower expectations already carved out for the stereotypes infected upon the entire classroom. Make big display of comparisons their almost as “normal” the rest of you without caring one bit to examine other gifts so as to treat a person more naturally on equal level. It’s what we love to do.

    Sullinger’s compliment feels the same…”Those Hoosiers are pretty good, but they’re not in my classroom…not in my league”…I just assume have the respectful handshake or the sour grapes after I show him kindly his fall off the perch of his assumed superiority…I heard his father also gave some heartwarming words for the Hoosiers. They do it because they have already put a ‘W’ in the column for the game in Columbus. Matta started his role at OSU by nabbing two of the top players from Indiana that played at a high school for a coach that had a longstanding grudge against Indiana. They’re pretty good at feeding the post at OSU and pretty good at feeding BS at a microphone.

    Once we start spanking them on a regular basis, those rosy compliments will be a thing of the past. Spank in OSU and you won’t see the “dumb” kid in the classroom made to look like one of the geniuses again.

  25. HforH, it’s probably nothing but did you notice the two guys in the white car behind you today?

    It’s probably nothing.

    I was a white car. A four door, I think.

  26. Seeing the obvious is not what I’m into, Chet. I saw glory, guts, and gumption in Jordy when others see your 4-door white Impala. I see his leadership and more latent skills…I see his hours on the practice court to perfect that dead-eye shooting touch. I see the poise and determination. I see two more years of college in his game and leaving him to prove himself rather than what I see as predetermined.

    I do love to watch the best-of-the-best, but I’ve never been mesmerized by the obvious. I like to search for what the pigeonholing eye doesn’t care to see. Never been into ranking kids. I think it’s all bad for the sport and gives a lot of the prima donnas inflated heads that don’t need more swelling; it leads to that kind of crap you saw in the Cincy vs. Xavier game. You best use that brush on those that want to highlight shortcomings and predict ceilings as low as their own onto others. Not what I’m about. It’s all good.

    You love me, Chet…Right?

  27. actually Harvard, we all see the guts and gumption and other stuff too, we just aren’t offended by the obvious. Not sure why you are.

    I could literally write a 15 line paragraph praising a player, but in one of the sentences make some obvious point about a bad play or short-coming and that’s all you’ll see or talk about for 3 months…

    and to blow up another thing you said… I am pretty sure there isn’t a single player on Xavier or Cincy that predicted to be drafted or have a future in the NBA. I don’t believe there is a single McDonald’s All-American on either team. On the flip side, UNC, Duke, OSU, MSU, and Kansas all have those types of highly hyped players and I have never sniffed an incident from any of those programs or kids.

  28. On Sullinger, I agree with Chet, a great ballplayer and appears to be a good man. I heard him speak in the press conference after Illinois (I think) and he’s certainly well spoken, not self absorbed. He does think highly if his team and tema mates, but that is a ‘good’ isn’t it…or did that change?

    As for English…, when I began to learn it at age 13, all I knew was what my Aunt Angelica had taught me. “One little, two little, three little indians…four little….” That was until Miss Wilson made me diagram 1,312,427 sentences…all of them after school. I’d build her a monument anywhere.

    Actually, language structure and the ‘freedom’ of creativity it permits say a lot about who we are as a people. But, as in everything else…chaos is next to that freedom of creativity, as Gary is next to Chicago.

  29. Yikes!!!…just look at that freedom of keyboard creativity in the first paragraph; should be ‘of his team… and team mates’.

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