Big Ten Power Rankings

1. OHIO STATE (6-0)

Last time around: 1

This week: Duke, tonight; Texas Pan-American, Dec. 3

The Buckeyes are still the class of the Big Ten and no matter the result of their matchup with Duke tonight, Ohio State is alone at the top of the conference. With Kansas approaching in a little more than a week, the Buckeyes will get another pre-Big Ten challenge to boost their stock. Jared Sullinger is he we thought he was, averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds, and William Buford has stepped into a scorer’s role. There’s no stopping the Buckeyes right now.

2. WISCONSIN (6-0)

Last time around: 2

This week: North Carolina, Wednesday; Marquette, Dec. 3

Not many teams have had an easier schedule than the Badgers to this point, but they’ve shown their dominance in those games with their closest margin of victory being a 17-point win against BYU. That changes tomorrow night as Wisconsin takes on North Carolina, and it doesn’t get any easier — three of the Badgers’ next four opponents are ranked. That’ll be the measuring stick for this team, as guys like Jordan Taylor — who’s averaged just 11 points and six assists thus far — get into a rhythm.

3. MICHIGAN (5-1)

Last time around: 3

This week: Virginia, tonight; Iowa State, Dec. 3

The Wolverines went through their Maui gauntlet and had to be satisfied with the result. They beat No. 8 Memphis by 12 points and UCLA by 16, while dropping a back-and-forth affair with No. 6 Duke. Sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is making the strides many expected him to, averaging 17 points per game, but it’s been point guard Trey Burke who’s been the pleasant surprise for John Beilein’s team, taking the team over in Maui. His development could bring Michigan to the next level.

4. MICHIGAN STATE (4-2)

Last time around: 4

This week: Florida State, Wednesday; Nebraska-Omaha, Dec. 4

Speaking of a gauntlet, the Spartans’s masochistic start to the season—with games against North Carolina and Duke—gave Michigan State the most difficult start of any team in the NCAA. Since then, they’ve blown out opponents by 20 points or more. Michigan State is still a very young team, with guys like Brandon Wood and Branden Dawson playing significant minutes. But they’re also talented too, as big guy Draymond Green is in double-double range early. The Spartans are a tough team to predict, but their effort against Duke was enough to put them toward the top of the Big Ten.

5. PURDUE (6-1)

Last time around: 5

This week: Miami (Fla.), tonight; Xavier, Dec. 3

I know the Boilermakers have one loss and have been played too close by teams like High Point, but the talent is at a higher level in West Lafayette than the other teams below them. Robbie Hummel looks like he’s back to form, and that’s a dangerous weapon for Matt Painter and Co. Additionally, Ryne Smith has shot a ridiculous percentage from the floor — 52 percent from beyond the arc — and looks to be one of the Big Ten’s biggest threats from 3-point range.

6. INDIANA (6-0)

Last time around: 6

This week: N.C. State, Wednesday; Stetson, Dec. 4

The Hoosiers are absolutely nipping at Purdue’s heels, but with one of the worst strength of schedule ratings in the conference, Indiana will need a win over N.C. State to move into fifth. That doesn’t mean they haven’t looked on point this season, as the defense is improved and guys like Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey have stepped up their games immensely. Cody Zeller will need to continue to play at a high level, but IU looks more and more like a postseason-bound team.

7. NORTHWESTERN (5-0)

Last time around: 8

This week: Georgia Tech, tonight; MVSU, Dec. 2

The Wildcats aren’t shooting particularly well. They aren’t crashing the boards that well either. But regardless, they’re winning games against decent competition and their best players—John Shurna and Drew Crawford—have put the team on their backs. When they play teams with a post presence, it might get ugly, but for now, they’re getting by on their perimeter game. That’ll change next week as they take on No. 8 Baylor, but until then, we don’t know how the Wildcats will look against a physical team.

8. ILLINOIS (6-0)

Last time around: 9

This week: Maryland, tonight; Gonzaga, Dec. 3

The Illini have had a laughably easy schedule, playing teams like Richmond and Illinois St. a little too close for comfort. Brandon Paul isn’t playing up to his preseason billing, which should be a concern, but guys like Meyers Leonard and Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco have stepped in and looked the part as legitimate contributors. We’ll know more as the Illini start to play tougher competition in the coming weeks.

9. MINNESOTA (6-1)

Last time around: 7

This week: Virginia Tech, Wednesday; USC, Dec. 3

You have to feel bad for the Gophers, as forward Trevor Mbakwe went down with an ACL tear and will miss the entire season. That loss all but eliminates them from NCAA Tournament contention, considering Mbakwe was the lifeblood of Tubby Smith’s team. Austin Hollins has taken a step forward and can score, but if Minnesota stands any chance, it’s going to need a bigger and more physical contribution from 6-11 forward Ralph Sampson III. Until that happens, the Gophers will be grasping for straws.

10. NEBRASKA  (4-1)

Last time around: 11

This week: Wake Forest, Wednesday; Creighton, Dec. 4

The Huskers have benefited greatly from the addition of LSU transfer Bo Spencer who has taken on a scorer’s role on offense. The senior guard is still not shooting that well from the field (just 41 percent), but his presence has been felt. They still don’t have the firepower to contend with more talented teams, but Nebraska is taking steps forward. A bigger contribution from Jorge Brian Diaz could mean a lot heading into Big Ten season.

11. IOWA (4-2)

Last time around: 10

This week: Clemson, tonight; Brown, Dec. 3

With a pretty easy schedule to start, the Hawkeyes were handily defeated by the likes of Campbell and Creighton. Iowa’s schedule won’t provide many more road bumps until Big Ten season, but it’s clear that Fran McCaffery needs to find more scoring and better shooting from the rest of his lineup. Matt Gatens has done his part with 17 points per game, but Melsahn Basabe has yet to take the step forward that was expected, taking just four or five shots per game.

12. PENN STATE (5-2)

Last time around: 12

This week: Boston College, Wednesday; Ole’ Miss, Dec. 4

Guard Tim Frazier has really stepped into his role as a leader on this team, averaging 19 points per game, good for third-best in the Big Ten. Unfortunately for Frazier and the Nittany Lions, there still isn’t much talent around them. Frazier leads the team in rebounds as well, as Penn State doesn’t have a semblance of a post game. It’s going to be tough sledding against the Big Ten, especially after losing their only tough games this season by 20 points or more.

37 comments

  1. Really? Purdue has more talent than IU? Maybe I am a little too close to this one to have the proper perspective, but I will take our roster – thank you…

  2. For Iowa, Melsahn Basabe has been a major disappointment. I guess he gained fifteen extra pounds of “muscle” in the offseason, but it’s just slowing him down on offense. On defense, he looks like a guy who benefited a LOT from playing alongside Jarryd Cole. He hasn’t just not taken a step forward, he’s taken at least a couple of steps back.

  3. Send that pipsqueak journalist with the weekly changing hair back to Michigan. Not only will we spank Purdue, we’ll spank his beloved Wolverines. I’ve watched Purdue. They lost too much from their roster. We have momentum, experience, a top post player, and a gigantic chip on our shoulder in our favor. Purdue is done with their short-lived glory of being perceived as stronger than Indiana in hoops. Of course, that’s all they’ve really had is perception. I imagine a Michigan fan transplanted to Bloomington perceives the five banners hanging from our rafters as belonging in Ann Arbor.

  4. I agree, Chet. Richmond always looks tough come tournament time. I put Illinois ahead of Purdue(5th or 6th overall and behind the Hoosiers).

    Of course, it’s all meaningless crap. This will all be ironed out on the court. I like the fact the Hoosiers still aren’t getting much respect….it adds to the sugary sweet taste of revenge that has boiled in my blood the last three years(especially against schools like Wisconsin that have shown no class in piling on points against our football team).

  5. He calls out Ryne Smith as having a “ridiculous” 3 point percentage, but Hulls is equally as good at this point at 53%.

    We’ll prove ourselves on the court…

  6. I have watched scUM 3 games this year. They are much better than I originally thought prior to the season start. They are solid at 3rd and because thay are so athletic could challenge Wisky for 2, who are not as athletic. Even OSU should not take them to lightly as they are a handful and like IU just need to gel.

  7. Chet, I never said Richmond was laughable, just that Illinois’ schedule has been laughably easy. They played Richmond too close though, especially considering Richmond is one of the worst shooting teams in the country at 38 percent.

    And the reason I rank Illinois so low is because the players who were supposed to step up (mostly Brandon Paul), haven’t really done so.

  8. Yeah, OK. Read that sentence, though, and you tell me how it sounds. Because of my profession, I sometimes nitpick people who write for a living. I generally like what you write and I really like your attitude. You seem to genuinely enjoy the games and it comes across.

  9. I see what you’re saying. And I appreciate the nitpicking, don’t worry. Thanks for your comments.

  10. Do strong teams from smaller conferences, or conferences not as apt to get national attention and TV time, schedule traditionally tougher outside opponents from powerhouse conferences before their in-conference schedules begin so that they may give favorable impressions to the NCAA when “bubble” teams and seeding assignments are decided? I haven’t looked at Richmond’s schedule, but can it be possible that their shooting percentage in this very young stage of the season can be somewhat down because the higher level of competition than normally seen is a shock to the system?

    Conversely, wouldn’t you expect most of the Big 10 schools(other than a school like MSU that makes a point to schedule very strong opponents before the onset of conference play) to have somewhat higher shooting percentages because they’re playing teams that don’t have the horses and athleticism to defend and match up?

    Once schools get into the meat of their season, percentages probably move toward the middle of a bell curve depicting the teams truer marksmanship.

    If guys like Sheehey and Hulls can get good looks against teams like OSU and MSU, or hit heavily defended jumpers against some of the best All-American talent in the league(don’t get me wrong, I think both of these guys are very talented and could easily approach All-American, or All-Big 10, consideration before all is said and done in their college days) and still maintain numbers over the 50% mark, that will likely tell us a lot more than the numbers after 6 games against opponents that just can’t match up across the floor.

    Be interesting to see if we can figure out a very athletic team tonight. With our added depth, and much stronger inside presence, I like the Hoosiers chances.

  11. Ryan, I read that sentence the same way Chet did…

    HforH/Hooper – Richmond hadn’t played anyone above mid-major calibre leading into Illinois game. However, they play in the A10 with is hardly a pushover league… The Spiders are a tourny regular and the conference usually gets 3-5 teams in the NCAA’s… St Joe’s, GW, Umass, Temple, and Xavier have all made deep tourny runs… Not sure why they would be considered an easy win.

    One thing I do think is “laughable” is the opinion that Hulls could approach All-American status. Like I’ve stated before, I love Hulls and I’m glad he’s running our team, but he won’t sniff AA status, and with guys like Taylor, Craft, Yogi, Maniscalco, Burke, Appling, and Lewis Jackson around this year and/or next he’ll have a hard enough time cracking B1G consideration. Don’t take that wrong… I still love our little guy.

  12. The season is young. Almost everything printed stated that the B10 was going to suffer a down year. As of today, according to Sagarin, the B10 is the #1 conference, the ACC is #3 and the all powerful Big East is #5. B10 bb is played at a very high level of competition.

    It took several years for the world to accept the SEC as the best football conference, I believe that the same will happen with B10 bb. In my opinion the ACC has always been over-rated. The B10 has been at or very close to the top of the bb world for a long time.

    No guarantees for IU the next five years, too much luck involved. It will be interesting.

  13. Geoff-

    I guess you’re right about Hulls. I just think what the kid gives the Hoosiers by just being on the court, especially his confidence and leadership, is immeasurable. But you’re right, that kind of intangible stuff will never get the votes of a stat-driven honor primarily centered around scoring and likelihood a game that can transform to the next level. He’s a totally “lights out” shooter and if this team was structured to play a style more like Butler, maybe his numbers would benefit…And with Yogi coming in next year, he’ll struggle to keep the job. Think he should transfer? Butler? ISU?

    Did you look at Richmond’s games on the horizon? Wake Forest and another very tough opponent?…too lazy to look it back up. Why do you call me Hooper? Is this a “Jaws” reference?

  14. Yesterday in the Mbakwe ACL article you thanked Dustin for supporting you… But his response was directed at (and quoting) Hooper’s posts. You then used those quotes to insinuate that he agreed with your “over the top” analysis.

    So I was assuming you forgot to change your tagline and commented under the wrong name…

    My bad if I’m wrong and you just somehow misread DD’s post.

  15. One thing I do think is “laughable” is the opinion that Hulls could approach All-American status.

    Talk about eating crow. I think Jordy looked All-right to me tonight…LOL

    And where’s Clarion? Does he still wish to throw Watford on the bus?

    Great win…Big shot by Watford…and what daggers from Hulls. Great allaround team effort.

  16. Shouldn’t part without mentioning Zeller. What poise for a freshman. I loved his expression at the end of the game..just another day at the office.

  17. Ernie DeGregorio (remember him), Bobby Hurley (God, I hated that guy). Scott Skiles (Michigan State, really?), Tom Coverdale. Basketball tends to come up with these short, (supposedly) slow kids who shouldn’t be able to match up but somehow they do. Add Jordy to the list.
    Jerry Tarkanian had a great line about that kind of player when he was discussing Steve Alford before the UNLV/IU matchup in the Final Four, “He’s a lot quicker than he looks but, then, white kids always are.”

  18. Bryce Drew? Hulls and Skiles have the same ice running through the veins. Glory, game, guts, and gumption written all over their grumpy faces.

    Maybe Dustin will finally give me some kudos on ScoopTalk for recruiting Remy. Somehow I doubt that.

    Chet, you know your hoops. Geoff is sure quiet. I remember when bloggers were talking how Hulls couldn’t handle supremely athletic guards…That’s a comment that is looking laughable. Don’t you just love how the TV analysts are always swallowing their assumptions when it comes to Hulls growing skill set. Every time a new face covers a Hoosier game, they seem to come away wondering why they haven’t heard more of this kid.

  19. HforH,

    You can read my comments over on the “live discussion” header if you want to see my “crow”. I do remember saying “I love Hulls and I’m glad he’s running our team”… so I don’t have a lot of apologizing to do.

    Jordy was great tonight, and I hope I see that type of performance on a consistent basis. To my previous point here are the statistics (ACC/B1G challenge) of the other PG’s I mentioned above that he will be competing against for B1G honors:

    Appling – 24/7, 3 3-ptrs, 5-5 FT’s (W)
    Maniscalco – 24/2, 5 3-ptrs, 7-7 FT’s (W)
    Craft – 17/5/8 (W)
    Burke – 11/4/4 (L)
    Jackson – 15/4/2 (W)
    Taylor – 18/4/4 (L)

    Pretty good numbers for everyone against the ACC… Obviously we love Hulls’ performance, but he essentially falls in the middle of all of this.

  20. Did you like my Remy remix? Isn’t he like a red corvette? American made, solid, and quick…But yet there’s that street muscle about him too..You need those guys that give you quiet swagger..He sure brings a lot of poise for a first year player. Second game he has come off the bench and drained his opening 3-point shot…Gotta love the rocks in the jock.

    I’m not really into following other guards in the Big 10. I don’t care about their numbers. My main point is that this team does not function without Hulls. Without his leadership, I doubt the Hoosiers would have kept their composure when the game looked like it could easily slip away in the second half.

    If you’re having a tough time putting him into an elite category of guards in the Big 10, that’s fine. Lean on statistics. Jones put up decent scoring numbers the last 3 years..Did it make the team better? Decision making, clutch shooting, controlling tempo, not forcing possessions…The list goes on..and on…and on when it comes to assets Hulls brings to floor that won’t reflect in the scoring column of a stat sheet. And do you take any of those guards you listed over Hulls when a contest balances on draining a couple game-winning free throws?

    Maybe you didn’t eat crow…Maybe you just nibbled on a bit of your own small toe.

    I thought Watford played a solid game. Does the momentum even turn without that huge three he hit? Big shot..very big shot. I also thought he held his ground very well on the defensive glass. Ohhhhh Clarion….Where are you? Harvard Business School is waiting to feed you some business.

    22 wins(reg. season + Big 10 tournament)…I was at the number after week one and I’m stickin’ to it.

  21. hfh or hooper or ?,

    Kudos to CW for taking advantage of the benefit he was projected to get from the arrival of Zeller. I project though he will have more performances mirroring the 1st 7 games than he will of the 8th game. It is possible the thought of pine time might be nurturing thoughts of a refocus. But yes last night he produced as he is expected to and that level of performance from him will have more to do with the season being 22-W’s vs 17-W’s than probably from any other player. But if that was offered as a bet I would not care to partake. *8-0*!

  22. Clarion-

    Kudos to the entire team for the benefit all are extracting from the arrival of a legit post presence. It’s funny how on blogs people play their cards so safe. So frail their egos formed around an insistence to never be perceived as wrong, they without second thought, turn on their floppy tongues instead of just giving back a bit of true fair praise when it is deserved.

    Let’s all look forward to Clarion’s ballsy prediction to watch Watford sub-perform the rest of the year. Sometimes you just can’t break a horse it’s intractable nature . Clarion is meant to be free. Speaking of saddling up a lazy prediction with no heart…It’s time to put on my Stetson and board the Watford choochoo to Lexington. I do deClarion, I’m looking forward to it despite such soft men of little faith(other than Chet) in our skilled roster at at this dude ranch.

  23. I dude deClarion, I put an apostrophe where it dude not belong.

    Possessive form: its intractable nature.

  24. The rest of the team has been taking advantage of the addition of CZ. But like a said kudos to Watford for getting 1 out of 8 games right.

  25. You keep riding that bucking pony. Have you heard Geoff wants to trade Jordy for Taylor… and then Yogi? I suppose you would also ride that slouchy rundown hypothetical horse to your Brokeback prediction ranch of failure. Is there no faith in our roster? I must give you a song of faith.

    The Watford ship is sailing and he ain’t on it.

  26. He has adequately achieved expectations in 1 of 8 games. It still remains the Watford ship is sailing faster than he can swim. I am confident he will relapse to prior performances in 3 of the next 4 games.

  27. Clarion-

    Have your opinion… for this may be a rare time you almost approach my negativity on a good day. I’m sorta tired of arguing with you. Watford got off to a slow start. Was he not coming off a foot injury? Did Jordan Taylor for Wisconsin have an injury to account for his slow start to the season?

    No matter..I’ve always liked Watford’s game and his calm demeanor on the court. He doesn’t move on the court like a clumsy tattooed lumberjack(Elston?) and, in my novice and humble opinion, I think it’s often misconstrued as laziness. I’ve done my share of throwing Hoosiers under the bus. I’ve thrown VJ under the bus more times than is warranted. Whether your opinion of Christian’s drowning in a talent unrealized sea comes true or not, I can’t chastise you for taking aim at what seems to be a very good young man. I can only hope he proves you wrong. If you’re a Hoosier fan, I would imagine you hope the same.

  28. He has already proved his worth over 2 full seasons and his 3rd season is proving the same as those 2 did. He simply cannot be counted on to get the job done on a consistent basis. It is a mindset he does not possess. He has gone from a “has to be starter” to, part of the rotation. Soon he and VJ will be sitting on the bench together wearing the same seat belt. It is kind if a shame as he has much more to offer physically than Jones.

  29. I love Elston. He has the look of a guy that might show up at an opponents home after the game and kill his family. That demands respect.

  30. Taylor’s slow start has more to do with who they were playing and the margins of victory. Pretty sure he didn’t feel the need to dominate against Kennesaw State, Wofford, and UMKC in 30 and 40 point blow outs, so he let his teammates get a flow. He didn’t shoot double-figure shots in any of those games and had 17:1 assist to turnover ratio in 91 minutes… if you want to call that a slow start be my guest. In his last 3 games against Bradley, BYU, and UNC he is averaging 17/4.5/6, which despite his poor shooting percentage shows his activity is coming back around with better competition.

    Here’s the deal… I am not actively calling Wisconsin looking for a trade, but if they happen to call me…

  31. uninteresting, non-stat of the day…

    Taylor and Hulls have 3 things in common:
    1. first name Jordan
    2. start at PG for B1G teams whose colors are shades of red and white
    3. both from towns named Bloomington

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