Big Ten Power Rankings

Here’s some blizzard fodder between trips to shovel the driveway.

1. MICHIGAN (12-0)
The Wolverines are now the lone team in the conference not to stub its toe, off to their best start since the 1985-86 season. Other than finding out if Michigan can keep its focus against the bottom half of the league, we likely won’t learn too much about this team until a Jan. 13 trip to Columbus.

2. INDIANA (11-1)
Since the loss to Butler, the Hoosiers have systematically dismantled a pair of opponents and shown the kind of offensive efficiency many expected. With Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Derek Elston officially back — and Peter Jurkin also available — there’s a lot more frontcourt depth as IU enters the part of the season where it will need those bodies most.

3. OHIO STATE (9-2)
The Buckeyes got another shot at an elite team when they hosted Kansas Saturday, but the offense went missing at key moments. That left OSU with strong showings but no wins against top 10 teams. Figuring out a way to get easy baskets when the jumpers aren’t falling will be key for Ohio State entering league play.

4. ILLINOIS (12-1)
Missouri exposed the weakness of the Illini, dominating the backboards and the points in the paint en route to handing Illinois its first loss of the season. This is the first taste of adversity this season, so how the Illini respond — first, at home against Auburn, then in the Big Ten opener at Purdue — will be revealing.

5. MINNESOTA (12-1)
The Gophers have continued to chug along during non-conference play, but after a nine-day layoff will open conference play against Michigan State. Minnesota has done it so far without shooting the 3 particularly well — just 32.2 percent — but have limited turnovers (14 per game) and allowed less than 60 points per game.

Saturday’s victory over a rapidly improving Texas team was one of the best of the season for the Spartans, who got a monster effort out of Derrick Nix, which could spell trouble if he can maintain that level of play with consistency. The offense remains questionable, though more points in the paint could help cure that ill.

7. IOWA (10-2)
The Hawkeyes will enter the Big Ten season with a six-game winning streak, and they’ll be well-rested too, getting a nine-day layoff before hosting Indiana. Freshmen Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury are showing signs of maturity, and with the exception of some cold shooting from the 3-point line, Iowa looks to be hitting on all cylinders.

8. WISCONSIN (8-4)
Wins over in-state rivals Green Bay and Milwaukee have the Badgers optimistic that the season might finally be turning in their favor, and the schedule helps them out with Penn State and Nebraska to open league play. The productivity off the bench might be the main concern for a Wisconsin team that typically has plenty of interchangeable parts.

Already injury-riddled, the Wildcats played Sunday without Reggie Hearn (ankle), who will need to heal quickly if Northwestern has any hope of getting off to a good start in the Big Ten. Games against Michigan and at Minnesota make for a rugged beginning. Slowing down those games and playing solid defense are a must.

10. NEBRASKA (8-4)
The Cornhuskers took it on the chin against Texas-El Paso on Sunday night, with some familiar offensive woes being the culprit. Inconsistency is probably to be expected in Tim Miles’ first season. Expect Nebraska to be far more dangerous at home than on the road, which is where the Big Ten season starts — at Ohio State.

11. PURDUE (5-6)
After a win over Ball State last week, Purdue has one more non-conference game left to try and gather some momentum. Even if they’re successful, a three-game slate of Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State to open the conference campaign will make it tough to sustain.

12. PENN STATE (7-4)
Don’t look now, but the Nittany Lions have won three straight with one more home game left before entering the Big Ten season. But Army, Delaware State and New Hampshire aren’t quite the same as having their first two league games against Wisconsin and Indiana.


  1. The question you need to ask is who on Michigan stops Hulls from scoring, or Vic, Will or Cody,etc? We are leading the nation in scoring. They will have a hard job stopping us!

  2. We “lead the country in scoring” because we played Cupcake City.

    Let’s see what happens when our guys have real athletes guarding them night after night.

    Jordy couldn’t even get a 3 point shot off against freaking Butler.

    And Zeller looked like a girl against them.

  3. hulls will probably guard stauskas. he might spend a little time on chris webber jr. but that’s a little tough for him.

  4. I have never heard so much negative comments about an IU team who is 11-1 vs 1-11 they were just a couple years ago. So I am assuming when they beat some good teams in the big ten it will be luck or home cooking or bad refs for the other teams or will you negative fans flip like you did last year? I will never give up on my Hoosiers winning but to read these comments you would think they were the worst team in college basketball and if you know how to read you would look at the top 25 teams and see they all play cupcakes early and at home. You see what happened to the big orange who were undefeated and ranked 3rd before unranked Temple beat them. They play only cupcakes and did not lead the nation in scoring or winning margin. I will be the first to say they are not for real if they lose most of their road games in the big ten to weak teams but I am betting you all will give them no credit if they win. As stacked as the big ten is to win the league you will have to win all your home games and all your road games against weaker teams. So in 16 or so games we will see who sits on top because I don’t think Michigan,Ohio state,Illinois,Michigan State, or any ranked team will beat IU at home.

  5. Wow! Now they have Chris Webber jr too! Team is getting tougher heading into conference play.

    Hulls obviously will struggle to guard the, not only much taller, but also very athletic guards from UM. They went almost exclusively zone against Georgetown because of the size deficiency and managed to win, but they couldn’t shoot it like at least 5 guys on Mich can. It will be a battle, but this is why I’ve said UM is the only team that is better than IU in the country.

    Laffy… Everyone has played a bunch of cupcakes at this point. IU is averaging 80 ppg against non-cupcakes… Of course there is the 2 overtimes to consider, but yeah the real point is that very team except Duke has played over half their games against cupcakes. We still scored 86 against Butler with Hulls only taking one 3-ptr.

    The only other team in my mind making a case as better than IU is Kansas. They are big, athletic, and McLemore is about to blow up and become a total star.

  6. Syracuse is always over ranked. When the Big East consists only of Syracuse they’ll get a #1 seed for winning it and still struggle.

  7. geoff,

    that’s not tim hardaway’s boy up in michigan. c’mon. just look at him. he’s the spitting image of chris webber. you know, hardaway and webber were teammates at golden state. you know how it went down. loose chick gets passed around at a party and… uh-oh. 3 months later shows up pregnant at webber’s door and gets said door slammed in her face. the she goes to timmy hardaway and he’s a nice guy and a sucker and there you go.

  8. No, Drama Queen, if they do well in the Big Ten, I will not say it’s “luck.”

    I’m just stating facts:

    1) We’ve played Cupcake City

    2) Jordy couldn’t even get a 3 point shot off against Butler, let alone make one. So when someone brags, “Man, can anyone even guard Jordy”, it makes sense to point out how an unranked team completely shut him down.

    3) And Zeller did play like a little girl against them. In a physical game, he had ZERO fouls. And half the other team out-rebounded him. Plus when their big guys fouled out, he didn’t take over and dominate like “the best center/player in basketball” should have.

    4) Of course “all the top teams play cupcakes.” But it’s how many of them…..and where. We didn’t have a SINGLE true road game. Not one. And Duke played THREE Top 5 teams mixed in with those cupcakes. MSU always plays a tough schedule mixed with those cupcakes. Crean is doing the team NO favors by scheduling so EASY before Big Ten season.

  9. According to the RPI, IU’s SOS is 48th, while MSU’s is 93rd… They haven’t played a tough schedule. Not sure what we can do when UK dumps the series and trades our game for Duke at the last scond. As Chet has said, when it comes to scheduling it takes 2 to tango. When you are putting together a schedule 2 years out it can be tough to figure out which mid-majors teams are going to be decent or not. I honestly think that if we re-up the UK series or replace it with another big series then our scheduling will be fine. When you’re in the Big Ten you have enough tough tests along the way to get you ready for the tourney.

  10. I’d like to know it jumped from the 200’s to the 40’s so fast.

    And what it is after Friday’s game.

    btw…..most people say Pomeroy is the most accurate when it comes to this stuff….and he has our SOS at 284.

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