Big Ten Power Rankings


Last time around: 1

This week: Ohio State (March 4)

With a chance at the outright Big Ten title in Bloomington, the Spartans were run out of Assembly Hall, handing them their first loss since the end of January. Michigan State looked absolutely one-dimensional in that game as Keith Appling disappeared and Draymond Green was forced to carry the entire load. Green has basically run away with Big Ten Player of the Year, but he can’t do it all alone. I still think the Spartans are the favorites to win the Big Ten Tournament. But Tuesday night’s game certainly brought up some serious questions going forward.


Last time around: 4

This week: Illinois (March 4)

The No. 2 through No. 5 spots in these rankings is an absolute crapshoot at this point in the season. I can’t even make that convincing of an argument to put the Badgers at No. 2 other than the fact that they beat Ohio State on the road in an impressive win. Jordan Taylor is back to All-Big Ten form, and that defense is still as stingy as can be. But that being said, I’m not sure the Badgers can maintain that against a good offensive gameplan. They lost a head-scratcher to Iowa (a lot of teams have done that this year), and have lost to three of the other four teams in this top five. Who knows what to expect.


Last time around: 2

This week: at Northwestern (tonight), at Michigan State (March 4)

It kills me to keep the Buckeyes this high on this list, especially considering their recent stretch of three losses in five games. Something’s not right in Columbus. Jared Sullinger has been just an above average big man over the past five games (or 10 games, even), and without him playing at a high level, Ohio State is vulnerable to huge letdowns. William Buford will need to step up his game to keep the Buckeyes as postseason contenders, but something tells me they’re prime upset material.


Last time around: 3

This week: at Illinois (March 1), at Penn State (March 4)

The Wolverines were on such a tear, beating Ohio State and looking like a possible contender for the Big Ten title. That is, until they got smoked by Purdue on their home floor — the first time that’s happened all season long. Michigan is another unpredictable team, come the postseason, as the Wolverines could very well lose in the first round or could make a run to the Elite Eight. Trey Burke will be the key, but Tim Hardaway Jr. is just as important — when he struggles, so does Michigan’s offensive gameplan.


Last time around: 5

This week: Purdue (March 4)

Of the confusing teams to predict on this list, the Hoosiers are by far the most confusing. They could very well be No. 2 on this list, but losses to Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota have been head-scratchers at times this season. Of course, lump in their three wins over top five opponents — the first time an Indiana team has done that since 1975-76 — and maybe you look at the Hoosiers’ results a little differently. Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo both need to be on for Indiana to be dangerous, but if they are, this team has plenty of weapons to be dangerous in the postseason.


Last time around: 6

This week: Penn State (tonight), at Indiana (March 4)

Purdue has won four of five and have a seriously important matchup coming up with Indiana at Assembly Hall next week. Robbie Hummel has looked like an All-Big Ten player (or heck, All-American) in the last five games, and the Boilermakers are heading in the right direction. But how good is this team, really? It’s hard to say, but a big deal has been made about the “addition by subtraction” of Kelsey Barlow. Maybe that’s true, or maybe this team is still just a middling Big Ten squad. It’s hard to tell.


Last time around: 7

This week: Ohio State (tonight), at Iowa (March 3)

They just want to get into the NCAA Tournament so badly, don’t they? Already guaranteed to be one of the bubble specials on Selection Sunday, the Wildcats wouldn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament on a normally strong bubble. But this bubble is weak, and Northwestern has done some things to elevate its stock. The loss to Michigan in overtime really hurt this team’s chances, but a solid performance at Ohio State and a few wins in the Big Ten Tournament could put them over the edge.


Last time around: 9

This week: at Nebraska (tonight), Northwestern (March 3)

Matt Gatens has been on a mission in the last few weeks, and it resulted in two ranked wins over Indiana and Wisconsin, two wins to hang Iowa’s hat on. Then, the Hawkeyes lost to the coldest team in the Big Ten in Illinois. Gatens has scored about 100 points combined in those three games, and he could make Iowa a dangerous opponent in the Big Ten Tournament, especially for any team that sleeps on them. But are they NCAA Tournament-caliber? Nah. Not this year.


Last time around: 11

This week: Michigan (March 1), at Wisconsin (March 4)

Illinois looked like one of the worst teams in any BCS conference over its huge losing streak, but snapping that streak against Iowa reminds us a little bit that the Illini are actually a pretty talented team. They’re at their best when they’re trying to get the ball into Meyers Leonard, who has been on a tear lately, but without another serious weapon stepping up, Illinois is pretty much guaranteed to slip into obscurity the rest of the way. That is, until Bruce Weber’s hot seat comes up as a topic of conversation.


Last time around: 8

This week: Nebraska (March 3)

Masked by Illinois’ terrible losing streak has been Minnesota’s equally awful string of defeats, as Minnesota has lost six games in a row and don’t appear to be slowing down. The schedule has admittedly been quite tough, but Tubby Smith’s team had people talking about a possible bubble bid before the last two weeks. Now, it’s a question of whether the Gophers can make some noise in the NIT. I’m curious to see how Tubby stands with the Minnesota fanbase, but it hasn’t been a pretty few weeks in Minneapolis.


Last time around: 10

This week: Iowa (tonight), at Minnesota (March 3)

Speaking of a crapshoot, you could make an argument for either Nebraska or Penn State to be in the final spot, but I think the Huskers are the more talented team from top to bottom. Bo Spencer is a decent guard, and Toney McCray has potential. But will Nebraska be able to improve much against Big Ten competition and with a geographic disability? It’s tough to tell. But the bottom two is pretty clear cut. That’s for sure.


Last time around: 12

This week: at Purdue (tonight), Michigan (March 3)

Penn State is the unfortunate bottom dweller again this week, and it mostly has to do with the fact that the Nittany Lions’ best win this season came against Illinois and Purdue, two teams in the bottom half of the conference (or at least the middle). Nebraska at least beat Indiana. Sorry, Nittany Lions.


  1. If this is supposed to be a WEEKLY ranking, I think you are way off base.

    In the last week which of the top B1G teams have won and lost?

    Only 1 team in the top 1/2 of the B1G standings has won every game they played in the last week, and you rank them 5th?

    Now if you are looking at the season as a whole, that is a bit different, but you still can’t put UW 2nd. It just doesn’t make sense.

  2. So sick of Michigan being rated in front of IU. it’s been going on for at least 3 weeks, if not longer.

    The Wolverines don’t have to play @ Wisconsin or @ Minnesota this year. Their schedule was a significant degree easier than ours. We had to play @ Wisc, only dodged Illinois on the road. We are clearly the better team – and this is before you consider the fact that we’ve defeated #1, #2, and #5 – Michigan’s best claim is #6, #8, and #9.

  3. Since we’re quibbling about a subjective list, I’ll add my thoughts. These other guys are right, IU is better then Meatchicken and right now I say better then OSU. I think maybe better then Wisconsin too- hopefully we’ll find out next week in the Big 10 tourney.

  4. BTT will set the deck. As I’ve stated before I think IU is dangerous for any opponent to play on a neutral court including in the NCAA.

  5. wow. tough crowd, ryan. i was only going to suggest that you use the expression “head-scratcher” even more often. but, nevermind.

  6. Truthfully, this ‘innovative’ ranking is just a lazy way to fill column inches without having to put much thought or shoe leather into it.

  7. Steve,

    Michigan has beaten Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, and Wisconsin, each of the teams in the top five of these rankings, just to clarify.

    I’m also not saying that Wisconsin is better than IU or Michigan, truly I think both would beat them. But as far as “power” goes in the conference right now, Wisco had one of the best wins (at Ohio State) and was the hottest in the last 7 or so games.

  8. Wisconsin went 0-4 against Iowa and MSU. They are 4-3 in their last 7 games…Three of the four wins involved games against Minnesota and Penn St. The game @ OSU was a big win, but they also lost to OSU at home. Wisco is the hottest team right now?

    I actually think Purdue and Indiana are playing with the most energy and confidence in the last couple weeks.

    Michigan looked extremely flat when they stumbled on Senior Night…Inexcusable. Their last two games are on the road. Enjoy that generous 4th place slot. I highly doubt they will be deserving by the end of the week.

    Outside of a big bump given to Wisconsin, your rankings seem to be more a reflection of conference standings rather than what teams look strongest going into the final week.

  9. I’m sure Dustin has already told Ryan that we are a tough crowd but that it’s all out of love.

    Ryan’s power rankings aren’t as much of a concern to me as the national polls, which somehow still seem to be screwing us over from the Nebraska loss.

  10. Ryan… no attention to the bedwetters.

    If you don’t proclaim our Hoosiers as All-Americans and a LOCK for the Final Four, they’ll soil their pants and whine you “know nothing about basketball.”

  11. I don’t follow it closely enough to have a Top 5.

    I’m just pointing out the in-breds will cry enough tears to fill every ocean in the world if someone doesn’t say IU isn’t “the best program in the land because their mommy said so before tucking them in at night.”

    They act like these “ratings” are THE most important thing in the WORLD and their empty heads EXPLODE if we’re “disrespected.”

  12. I will say this, though.

    People were talking about “huge wins” on Peegs and someone mentioned a team’s win at OSU (can’t remember who it was) and said it was bigger than any of our Top 5 wins.

    That was called “the dumbest post of the year……by FAR.”

    I disagree.

    Winning on the road, especially this year, has been next to impossible…..all across the country.

    Team after team after team after TEAM….and I’m talking GOOD teams….have had MAJOR problems winning on the road.

    So, yes, one could argue winning AT Ohio State can be considered as good as a win as our HOME victories against top teams.

    Who have we beaten on the road? Minny and Purdue? La-dee-da. Not exactly Top 5 programs this year.

    Nice wins, but to brush off a win at Ohio state is just stupid.

  13. Laffy-

    Don’t undervalue the Purdue win. They are hot right now, and beating your arch-rival on the road is never to be taken lightly.

    NC State wasn’t that shabby of a win either.

    Overall the team is 5-6 on the road…not earth shattering, but considering the last three years, very impressive.

  14. Think it’s a pretty tough thing to do right now. Like any list it’s just a jumping off point for discussion, and generally Ryan plops it in between games when you need to generate a little more traffic. I doubt Ryan would be upset that people are challenging his rankings… I sorta think its the entire point.

    So that being said, I think their is universal agreement on who the top 5 teams are, but plenty of debate on where they rank amongst each other. The criteria is also a little ambiguous… Is it based on overall performance, how they are playing recently, or Ryan’s perceptions of how strong a team is despite any recent results?

    Here are the resumes:

    MSU – no doubt #1 right now, although that could change with a loss to OSU. They are 13-4, with 7 wins in their last 8 B1G games and 5-2 against OSU, UW, UM, and IU.

    UW – they are 11-6 overall, but are just 4-3 in their last 7 and only 2-4 against the other 4 teams.

    OSU – they are now 12-5 overall, but just 3-3 in their last 6 and only 3-4 against the other 4 teams.

    UM – they are 11-5 overall, 5-2 in their last 7, and 4-3 against the other 4 teams.

    IU – they have the worst record of the bunch at 10-7 overall, but they are the 2nd hottest team lately at 6-1 in their last 7, and 3-4 against the other 4.

    Based on those resumes and what I’ve watched this year, my top 5 would be:

    1) MSU
    2) UM
    3) OSU
    4) IU
    5) UW

  15. Winning at Purdue was nice. Very nice.

    But I don’t think it compares to winning at Ohio State, even if they are down some.

  16. True- winning at OSU is > then @ PU. But then again Wisconsin lost at home to OSU, MSU, Marquette and Iowa. So does a road win erase a home loss? It’s all opinion, guess I gotta go change my sheets now since disagreeing means I’m a bed-wetter.

  17. Laffy – the only 2 losses that OSU has at home this year are MSU and UW. My guess is that they were saying that UW’s win there was bigger than any of IU’s, since they were a much clearer underdog than MSU.

    That is a pretty fair statement, but I’m not sure I agree completely. It’s certainly a debate that can have meat on either bone (and certainly not the dumbest thing said all year).

    Which of IU’s wins are the most impressive:

    UK – the best “moment” of the year in college basketball and Kentucky’s only loss.

    OSU – we win by 4 in a hard fought battle. OSU was 13-1 and had won 5 in a row.

    MSU – IU had been dominated by them in the first game and MSU was coming into the game as hot as any team in the country winners of 7 straight and 9 of 10 all in the #1 RPI conference.

    UW’s win was by 3 points after being behind basically the entire second half. It is certainly impressive – the 1 “but” is that OSU had been playing great coming into that game, losing 2 of their last 4, including being dominated at home by MSU.

    Based on everything above (and my bias) I will say that IU’s win against UK is the best win of the 4, with the main reason being that no one else has found a way to beat UK all season, regardless of home, road, neutral, or on an aircraft carrier…

  18. BigE….I’m not saying someone is a bedwetter for just disagreeing. That’s Hillbilly’s tactic.

    The people I’m calling bedwetters are those that ACT LIKE THE UNIVERSE IS ENDING if someone doesn’t rate IU high enough on a stupid poll and then act like the person who did it just murdered 100 puppies to get his thrills.

    Barkley said yesterday he wants to shoot those freaks.

  19. I consider IU and scUM nearly equal and/or/maybe IU a nose tip ahead but the Badgers are fully 1 step behind us both. The game I’d most like to see right now played would be PUke and Wisconsin.

  20. By the way Barkley and his remarks/opinions are about as accomplished as his golf game.

  21. Define “millions”…

    Harvard gets millions of toe licks from his starving dog while he gives his opinions.

  22. Laffed-At, Common knowledge a picture is worth a 1000 words, search YouTube for CB’s golf swing and also consult Webster’s to become educated about the definition of accomplished. My opinions are worth every bit as much as yours.

  23. Wipe away the tears, Mr. Victim.

    I didn’t say your opinion was “worth less.”

    I asked you to define “accomplished” so I could try to understand your opinion more.

    If you asked most people, I bet most would say, “Getting paid millions to give your opinion is accomplished.”

  24. I seriously doubt CB garners contracts providing millions for his remarks. Reread post #25 for some free education.

  25. I don’t care what you “seriously doubt.”

    He’s paid 1.5 million a year to give his opinions.

  26. If that is the case he is extremely overpaid. Oh and if so it falls shy of $M’s.

  27. (rolleyes)

    And you’re overpaid for your opinion……and it’s free.

    btw…..last year almost everyone said how GREAT the Big East was (kinda like they’re doing with the Big Ten this year). Chuck said the Big East was going to suck. And he was right (except for U Conn winning it all, which NO ONE predicted, the Big East was horrible). so, to say Chuck doesn’t know what he’s talking about is pretty stupid. Sounds like jealousy to me.

  28. Oh….and last time I checked, Chuck has done it more than one year. So if you add it up, it does equate to “millions.”

    Take off your shoes so you can count higher next time.

    And stop hating Chuck because he called you nutjobs out.

  29. Never saw this coming, with Laffy developing into such a force. Before h was just an occasional name that blended in with the rest- kind of like a southport65 or a Lary Gwaltney. He came out of nowhere and has taken the Scoop by storm.

  30. If you’re going to “win”, you’re going to have to come up with some new material besides crying about “pus” for the gazillionth time.

  31. Why do you guys bother responding to this? His only reason to live is to insult you and yet you keep him going.

  32. I believe my point about the rankings was that they are a ‘lazy’ way evergreen filler material. Personally, I glance at them quickly because they give me a hint about the writer and how deeply he/she may delve into analysis. Other than that, they provide little if any knowledge. Like a Polaroid, it gives you an idea where the team is at that instant but says almost nothing about where it has been, contributing even less about projecting forward. Especially, when the Home and Away issue is dotted with 15-30 point swings. (BTW, the Polaroid effect is also very true of poor use of statistics unless they are looked at using methodologies like Interrupted Time Series analysis.

    Take the very case of IU. Whatever importance we give the win over Kentucky, it happened ‘seasons'(exaggerated but relevant)ago. On the other hand, the losses to Minnesota, Nebraska and Penn State happened within 10-14 days of each other so analysis is relevant to what was going on at that time. (Sheehey’s injury, VJ3 playing at his worse, before the experiment on using Oladipo to control the floor game).

    Indeed, so much had been made of IU reaching 20 wins (only the stock market reaching the 13,000 point barrier was deemed more important on a global scope), that the inference from it should have been easy, especially if you read the player comments about the 20 win mark…Iowa was going to undress us in front of their fans. If any patterns are valid with this team it is the wide range of the swings (which should sound a huge alert as we approach Purdue at home this weekend).

    So much for any fabricated and artificial values in the polls. The truth always shows on hardwood. (It’s called empirical analysis and does not have to be statistical alone, just fact based.

    So back to Mr. Kartje…wouldn’t it be much more interesting, analytical and make for depth to look at the performances (and possibly get commentary) about the possible shift in VJ3, a deeper interview with Watford focusing on his own ‘wide-swings’ and their cause, or some digging and commentary on how various other journalists around the state (Ft. Wayne, Gary, Columbus, Richmond,Evansville, Terre Haute, Lafayette, Michigan City, South Bend, Jeffersonville/New Albany) or around the Big Ten papers see the Indiana resurgence. Or, perhaps and more thoughtful a comparison of the Indiana of November-December 2011:the Indiana of January 2012 and the Indiana of February 2012. What’s changed, why, who.

    So, to be as equally pointless as the ‘weekly polls’, here’s my poll in order as of today: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin.

  33. 8-2 since the inexcusable loss @ Nebraska.

    Talk about an ocean of tears…I do remember quite vividly the haters that were prepared to bury the team…”cry our collective eyes out over this crappy team that got lucky in the early games of the season against top opponents and now are back to their usual lackadaisical loser mentality that will see them falter once again with the horrible coach that has no ability to instill toughness into his lazy and spineless homey hometown hero boys….blah…blah…blah…share some spit…Watford sucks…VJ sucks….Hulls is abused every night…He will never see a minutes playing time when Yogi comes to town…blah…blah…blah.”

    Yeah, since that horrific event in Lincoln that stopped the presses after losses at home to Minny and @ OSU, I’d say they responded pretty well.

  34. Tsao,
    I know I shouldn’t wade in here. But I actually did an in-depth feature about Watford’s swings a couple weeks ago. You can find it here:

    Verdell also just sat down with the media for his sort of senior interview. Working on tracking his dad down and hoping to get a feature done before the Purdue game.

    The access is getting better, and we are getting to do some things we haven’t been able to do in the past. You’ll see more evidence of that this week. But we still don’t get to do whatever we want whenever we want to and sometimes when we make a request, it gets granted but a few weeks after we asked for it. So yeah, we do some things like this to get discussion going on days that we don’t have any new material. Power rankings usually draw a lot of eyes and make for some interesting discussion. And Ryan’s a columnist, so it’s perfectly within his boundaries.

  35. Plus, Ryan’s been doing this all year, and I think it’s a useful addition.
    I say this with all due respect because I’ve enjoyed some of our exchanges. But I really don’t have time for a rhetorical war today where we exchange 1,000-word treatises. Hopefully you enjoy the Watford piece, and hopefully the Jones story turns out. Thanks as always.

  36. Also, everybody. Real quick. I have been kind of letting you guys roll with this insult-fest you have going on so as not to pick sides. But this is getting ridiculous and I’m starting to get e-mails from neutral folks who I respect who say it’s getting out of hand.
    This is a newspaper blog. We try to encourage a free exchange of opinions, and those opinions are certainly allowed to be either celebratory or critical of the home team. Arguing and counter arguing is fine but — and I’m not naming names or picking sides or anything but I just want it to stop — can we please make things a little more civil?

  37. Do a bit of a Google search, Dustin. It takes five minutes. What is happening on Scoop has happened on other message boards where the festering hate boil has lived.

    I’ll happily leave this place, but it will not change the inevitable, nor the despicable tongue of a despicable creature.

    I have not initiated any verbal attacks here. I have never called someone on Scoop an idiot, moron, butt-buddy, spit-sharer, Closet Drama Queen, etc, etc, etc..

    I’m finished here.

  38. Yeah…don’t know how I missed the Watford Story…it’s very good and insightful. His father sounds like a whole lot of man and wisdom and with lots of caring for his son.

    What I found very interesting is Crean’s comment. Little things about TC drive me nuts sometimes; but there is no denying he seems to have a ‘third sense’ for ball players, the gift of visualizing when they perform to a potential they sometimes don’t see themselves. That was obvious in Oladipo, more so in his perception of Sheehey, his work with Elston and now the sights he has set for Watford. Watford, with a father that sounds like a rock and C. Crean peering pushing back his limits is a pretty lucky man with great future prospect. Good article.

    Still feel the same about the weekly rankings. But, since you have influence over the boy would you get him a brush and teach him to dress…(if you’ll post the cost of the brush I’ll pay for it- but he’s got to use it!)

  39. Sorry Dustin. I just read your posts and you can remove that last thing about Barkley. Go Hoosiers!

  40. Dustin…..I asked you both on here and in an email to put an end to it….and never got a response. So, I thought you were fine with it.

    I did none of the insults until Hillbilly went off on me in virtually all of his posts. Of course, I was then blamed for it all while his BFF’s showered praise on him.


    I will gladly stop but I will not be silent if attacked and nothing is done to him.

    Hillbilly, you are a ****ing liar. Period. You started this crap with your “pus” and “boil” crap after I criticized Jordy and you’ve stalked me non-stop since with nothing but personal insults.

    Even after I ignored you, you kept on doing it.

    So take your phony victim act and shove it.

  41. Gentlemen, not going to take any sides in this squabble. I simply want to suggest that if we feel compelled to attack another blogger, we try to elevate the level of discourse by utilizing some class when insulting/attacking each other. I know it can be difficult when emotions flare, but let’s elevate our insult game. When I read “heated” exchanges between bloggers, I’d like to be able to get a chuckle once in a while. Otherwise it’s like looking at a wall of bad graffiti, it gets boring real fast.

    Having said that, if you’re not a Hoosier fan, then f*** off!

  42. I check in here from time to time but rarely post. It’s kind of like the soap operas my wife watches. I can catch a little of one episode and then see a little bit of one six months later and the same character is in the same predicament at the same place as before. I don’t know how many times I have seen “I’m done here I’ll leave wah wah so and so attacked me for no reason wah wah”

    With that I say this with extreme sarcasm,” Please stay on here I don’t know what I would do without your anonymous opinions. Without you the discussions will be worthless and the site will probably have to shut down. DON’T GO”.

  43. I do think Harvard is kind of our poet laureate. Geoff is our Bill Nye or perhaps Carl Sagan (with billions upon billions of statistics), both Cornell guys BTW. HOOSIERPLUS is our kind hearted neighbor. fuhninky is Floyd the Barber, distributing the gossip from the hinterlands. Hoosier Clarion is our principal keeping us from smoking in the restrooms. Podunker is Ralph Nader, he only shows up in election years. OldIUGymnist has become D. B. Cooper. Where has he gone? I think TTG is becoming the wisened old guru up on the mountain.

    I exist only in the form of electrons making me impervious to attack.

    Dustin is a pale, bald man from the future we call ‘The Watcher’.

  44. ^Funny, Chet. Haven’t seen the name Bill Nye in a while. Did you know that he got his start as an actor on the sketch comedy show “Almost Live” based out of Seattle? It was a funny show with a heavy local flair. It aired every Saturday in the half-hour time slot before SNL came on.

    Also you forgot JPat and a few others. I want to say that JPat is Lennie from “Of Mice and Men” but I am not sure.

  45. Chet, Forgot to mention in #54 that the smoking police quip I enjoyed. As an aside it is funnier yet as I was one of the little bastards caught smoking in the restroom. It did tickle my funny bone enough that I had my wife read these last couple of posts. She rather smartly said it must be something about the country air and our age creep.

  46. And if she did, she would, she’d sail
    She’d sail across the sky
    She’d sail beneath the moon’s eye
    She’d sail all the heavens
    And if she did, she would, she’d sail
    She’d sail the waters too
    To islands made of days with you
    She’s sail to any dream come true

  47. Chet, I really don’t care what “you’re buying.”

    Hillbilly throws out more insults on here than everyone else….combined.

  48. Clarion- “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” Carl Sagan disciple. Look him up on Wiki. Interesting, goofy-looking character who has (had?) a show that breaks down science for the layman and makes it interesting. Does goofy and fun little experiments. Chet probably knows way more about him than I do.

  49. Damn, how did I miss him? Thanks HT, I’ll do just that. Sounds like somebody I would have enjoyed watching.

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