Big Ten Power Rankings

The debut of the 2012-13 power rankings, emphasis on power rankings. For instance, do I think Illinois is better than Indiana? No, but the Illini are unbeaten with a neutral court win over Butler and a road win at Gonzaga — IU has neither. With that in mind, feel free to peruse and second guess.

1. MICHIGAN (11-0)
We knew what the Wolverines had in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., but newcomers Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas have added depth and versatility on the wing. The Maize and Blue also have added Mitch McGary to Jordan Morgan on the interior, and that duo’s ability to be a threat in the post may determine Michigan’s fate in the long run.

2. OHIO STATE (8-1)
Only real measuring stick for the Buckeyes was at Duke, where they let a second-half lead slip away. But if the Blue Devils are the No. 1 team in the nation, then OSU isn’t far behind. Fort Wayne native Deshaun Thomas has stepped ably into the go-to role, and Aaron Craft remains one of the nation’s toughest customers at the point.

3. ILLINOIS (12-0)
New coach John Groce has taken advantage of the backcourt talent at his disposal, and the Illini have bought into the same system that brought success to Groce’s Ohio Bobcats in recent years. Whether Illinois can continue to win with such a reliance on the perimeter is debatable, but it’s hard to argue with a resume that has wins over Butler on a neutral court and Gonzaga on the road.

4. INDIANA (9-1)
Hoosiers’ two biggest tests of the season — Georgetown and Butler on neutral courts — have both gone overtime (UNC at home is a distant third), which shows there is still plenty of work to be done. However, IU will get a chance to see what its full roster looks like going forward with the return of big men Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Peter Jurkin and Derek Elston.

5. MINNESOTA (11-1)
Only loss, like Ohio State, is to Duke, only not nearly as close of a game. But Gophers have shown more firepower early this season and less reliance on Trevor Mbakwe than you might have thought. Like Illinois, there is reason to doubt Minnesota, but a New Year’s Eve clash with Michigan State should be revealing.

The Spartans split early-season games with Connecticut and Kansas, then took a bad loss at Miami (Fla.). An otherwise light schedule means it is yet to be determined just how good this group is. Guards Keith Appling and Gary Harris have led the way, but MSU will need other perimeter options — Travis Trice has shown flashes since his return from a concussion and broken nose.

7. IOWA (9-2)
A slow start might have caused some to question the darkhorse tag slapped on the Hawkeyes in the preseason, but four straight victories — including wins over Iowa State and Northern Iowa — are promising. Freshmen Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury have blended well with holdovers like Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, making Iowa better equipped for coach Fran McCaffery’s system.

8. WISCONSIN (7-4)
Injuries have done the Badgers no favors with point guard Josh Gasser (ACL) lost for the year, and Mike Bruesewitz sidelined for two different stints (leg, concussion) so far. The four losses aren’t bad ones — Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette — but the wins don’t stand out either. Some good health and a steadying influence at the point could put Wisconsin on the rise.

The loss of Drew Crawford (torn labrum) for the season may turn out to be a crippling one, as evidenced by the Wildcats’ struggle against Texas State on Monday night. That, combined with the suspension of Jer’Shon Cobb before the season started, robs Northwestern of much of its perimeter athleticism.

10. NEBRASKA (6-3)
The Tim Miles era probably got off to a better start than most imagined, but the Cornhuskers have been waylaid by Creighton and Oregon in their last two outings, averaging just 40 points per game. Finding enough offense to keep winning games in league play will likely be an ongoing problem.

11. PURDUE (4-6)
Another offensively challenged team, the Boilermakers have suffered five losses by single digits, struggling to find the right combination down the stretch of games. They have not won or lost more than two consecutive games this season, seemingly just stuck in neutral with little sign of change on the horizon.

12. PENN STATE (6-4)
Any hopes the Nittany Lions had of escaping the Big Ten cellar were dashed early this season when all-conference guard Tim Frazier went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon in the fourth game of the year. D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall have tried admirably to fill in scoring-wise, but Frazier’s playmaking ability is irreplaceable.


  1. Oh the tough love of a sport writer, #4. However as Dustin says it is only December, and we were exposed, so they will know what to work on.
    I look forward to the Michigan game, but I think Illinois will sweep the hoosiers, there long length at guard will expose Jordy, and Yogie.

  2. For the people who whine when I said Jordy gets abused on D, this was on Peegs, which got it from ESPN:

    “Butler’s Alex Barlow drove past Indiana’s Jordan Hulls for the game-winning layup yesterday in Butler’s upset of the top-ranked Hoosiers. Its no surprise that Hulls got beat there. He is by far the worst defender on the Hoosiers, allowing nearly a point per play (78 points on 79 plays) and one of the worst in the country. Of the 48 players from Power 6 conferences that have defended at least 75 plays this season, Hulls ranks 3rd-worst in points per play (0.987) He has been really vulnerable in isolation, which is the play that Barlow beat him on Saturday, giving up 16 points on 17 plays (7-for-15 shooting).”

  3. Those statistics make no sense… Only 48 players from the Power 6 have defended 75 plays or more??? That’s way less than 1 player per team…

    I also think its strange that holding opponents to 47% shooting in isolation situations is the 3rd worst in all of basketball.

    I’ll have to take a look at that data…

  4. IU only plays Illinois once, Chicago Hoosier, on Feb. 7 in Champaign. So a sweep will be tough for the Illini. And Jeremy, if you want to have Illinois ahead of IU, fine, whatever. But not holding O$U to the same standard is laughable. They have wins over Albany, Rhode Island, Washington, UMKC, NKU, LBSU, Savannah State and UNC-Ashville. Nothing even in the same stratosphere as G’Town or UNC, and it’s not like those are the two best wins you’ll ever see. They lost a close one to Dook. Big deal.

  5. Those are the dumbest stats I’ve ever seen. Besides, I don’t think Barlow drove “past” him, I think he backed him down, too deep for certain.

  6. Laffy, those stats are what is commonly referred to as “bad science”.

    It’s like analyzing the different colors of birds in a tree to determine the best flavor of ice cream.

  7. Barlow never drove past Jordy. He tried and Jordy turned him. I though Hulls did fairly well, 2 rebounds (Vic & CWat had 3) and a steal. No body did well. Like instant replay on drives to the basket.

    Conference will be challenge for him & Yogi. Hope Remy gets a little more play time next 3 games.

  8. Would it be going out on a limb to say Minnesota is my dark horse this year. I think the conference itself is going to reveal a lot.

  9. Barlow definitely did not drive past Hulls, unless an off-balance spin move (where the hell was the help?) to the right and taking a bad shot in the process (yes, even bad shots go in) is qualified as getting “drove on.” I saw a lot of easy, driving lay-ups on Saturday, but that play was not one of them.

  10. Watched the Butler game again last night. It was ugly but not as bad as I thought.

    Hulls had a hell of a game. Five times he was the last one between the basket and a driving Butler player. Think he lost only two of those battles. Cody out near the 3-point line and Jordy protecting the basket? He was everywhere. Biggest problem was switching. Every one got lost.

    Cody touched the ball 9 times (per my count) in the last 8 minutes plus OT.

    When is the last time you saw a air-ball from Vic (I think) from 5 feet. This was the first game no one was able to step-up and make baskets while everyone else was “off”.

    IU had at least minimal control through 30 minutes of the game. Not much of a plus, but this game played at Assembly Hall, the outcome would be different, which could mean some ugly road games.

    Really need Hanner/Peter/Elston in the game and around the basket if & when Cody is defending on the perameter.

  11. They were SO wound up. Better to get the road ‘yips’ out early. They always play better when they are pissed.

    Ron, I think the criticism of Jordy’s defense, both here and in the national media, is a lot more expectation than it is reality. Like the old Tarkanian quote. People assume he can’t play defense so, if his man should score, it’s, “See, I told you so.” Even if, as in the Butler game, he did his job and was let down by lack of back side help.

    The flip side, of course, is he ends up with a handful of steals and (somehow) rebounds almost every game and usually devours his defender at the other end because, they too, don’t expect much out of him.

    Everyone always seems surprised when he has yet another big game when it’s about as surprising as sunrise.

  12. My main concern about this team is whether they can play on the road. They’ve been spoiled by the high they get from the great fans a Assembly Hall, but do they have the mental toughness to play well in front of hostile crowds?

  13. chet – last post was spot on. Jordy gets dogged on constantly for his D, but I think for the most part this year, he’s pulled his weight. Barlow’s drive was very well defended by Jordy, he cut him off and forced him to make a tough move and an even tougher shot. He had no help D at all, but in this case I feel you just have to tip the ol’ hat to Barlow, he made a hell of a play.
    Either way, it does no good griping and whining about it now, it’s over and that game will forever mean much more to Butler than it did for us. I’m sure our beloved Hoosiers have moved on and we should too. I almost feel bad for Mt. St. Marys tonight, it could get really ugly. I hope Hulls has a monster game and when he does, can’t wait to read the posts about how awesome he is again.

  14. Phenomenal1 – yep, but I disagree on one point. It was a much bigger game going in for Butler, but it is a much more important game coming out for IU. IU will learn some very valuable lessons from that loss… More than Butler will learn from the win.

  15. I agree with that, and I sure hope they learned a lesson from it. They seemed to be missing that edge that they usually play with. Butler played smashmouth basketball and it looked like we simply weren’t ready for it. Maybe they needed a loss to get their edge back? I’m anxious to see how they respond.

  16. Jordy on an island again…What else is new? Butler “abused” a hell of a lot more Hoosiers than just Hulls. Two weeks from the beginning of the Big 10 season and some bored sportswriters have nothing better to do than spit on one of the hardest working players in the game. It’s easy to hate on Jordan Hulls because reflection finds so many falling miserably short his heart and determination. What’s to love about a kid that’s forever going to prove he’ll make more of his short side of the stick than some blowhard of privilege fumbling around aimlessly with deceitful words and powers of press his envious long side of the equation?

    Two mirrors of reflection/introspection:

    #1) Some love Jordan Hulls because they say…”Wow..He’s slow, he’s short, he can’t leap very high…That could have been me!”

    #2) Some despise Jordy Hulls because every moment he proves the doubters wrong, defies the odds, gives example to what can be done with nothing but heart and determination in the same world most give up at the start line, and they say….”Wow…He’s slow, he’s short, he can’t leap very high…That could have been me!”

    Big surprise that those living in the mirror of reflection in example #2 need to find something to validate how they could never be Jordy Hulls..Because according to these “stats” Jordy Hulls doesn’t deserve what we couldn’t begin to find in our own hearts to ever become.

  17. Some people spit on players just because they aren’t from the Midwest even if some of our hardest working players fall into that category……..

  18. For those of you that have watched the game again, in the limited playing time of Perea, did he seem pretty quick with his defensive recovery? One more question. Did it look like IU was over playing on defense(more than one man flying to ball) for a good portion of the game. I know some of you have commented on communication and not being prepared, but maybe that was IU’s plan and it backfired? Totally fixable. Maybe someone will chime in on those two questions.

  19. Is Watford from the Midwest? I thought the lazy “Houdini” was from Alabama.

    I don’t spit on guys because they’re not from the Midwest. And if I did, hardly more silly than spitting on a kid because he puts three fingers to his forehead when he makes a 3-point shot.

    I simply believe Indiana needs to stay strong in the local recruiting efforts. I tend to believe that a majority of Indiana fans don’t want their school displaying the state name to become a Calipari hotel, a pipeline for those only seeking their own stage, filled with no real pride in the state traditions evolving from our long love affair with local heroes our storied gyms.

    Nothing wrong with preserving some of that state pride and wanting the best talent in our basketball mecca to see the candy-stripes as embodying those traditions that give something back to the fans. I hope we don’t forever lose that endearing quirkiness in state pride to Butler.

    Does that mean only Indiana kids? Of course not. Once they put on the uniform, they are part of the family. They become more “Indiana” than many once born this Midwestern hotbed for hoops than many that now run from our borders in fear the corniness it all degrade their pious Establishment supremacy.

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