Big Ten power rankings

1. MICHIGAN (15-0, 2-0)
The high-flying Wolverines remain out front with dominating efforts at Northwestern and home vs. Iowa, averaging 94.5 points in the first two games of the Big Ten season. They host Nebraska tonight, then perhaps get their first test at Ohio State on Sunday.

2. INDIANA (14-1, 2-0)
The only team to start the conference campaign with two road games, the Hoosiers took care of business at Iowa and Penn State, setting themselves up nicely as four of the next five games are at home. Indiana ranks first in field-goal percentage defense through the first two league games.

3. MINNESOTA (14-1, 2-0)
Wins over Michigan State and Northwestern at home have the Gophers on the verge of starting conference play at 3-0 for the first time since 1974-75 (not counting the vacated 1996-97 season). But a trip to Illinois tonight and to Indiana Saturday in an Assembly Hall doubleheader will be a stern test.

4. ILLINOIS (14-2, 1-1)
The Illini looked dreadful in a loss at Purdue, only to respond with a thorough dismantling of Ohio State this past Saturday. A big key was 6-foot-11 Nnanna Egwu, who had 16 points and eight rebounds vs. the Buckeyes. If he can provide an inside presence, Illinois just might have staying power.

5. MICHIGAN STATE (12-3, 1-1)
Like many Big Ten teams, the Spartans were Jekyll and Hyde from a loss at Minnesota to a win over visiting Purdue. However, they move up this week more as a result of Ohio State’s unimpressiveness than their own achievements. The jury’s still out on this squad.

6. OHIO STATE (11-3, 1-1)
There’s time for the Buckeyes to change their verdict, but so far every time they play a quality opponent, the scoreboard doesn’t rule in their favor. Whipping Nebraska at home was expected, but the loss at Illinois was a listless effort. Next three games at Purdue, home to Michigan and at Michigan State could be pivotal.

7. WISCONSIN (11-4, 2-0)
As usual, the Badgers aren’t going to win any style points for digging out a home win over Penn State and a road win at Nebraska. But they’ve found their way to a five-game win streak and 2-0 Big Ten start. Center Jared Berggren has six blocks in two league games, anchoring a defense allowing just 46 points per contest.

8. IOWA (11-4, 0-2)
It’s been a brutal schedule to start the Big Ten campaign for the Hawkeyes, with a home loss to No. 5 Indiana and a road loss to No. 2 Michigan. Next up is a home game vs. Michigan State, then the schedule lightens a bit. With freshmen at key guard spots and center, the Hawkeyes will be better late this season.

9. PURDUE (7-7, 1-1)
An upset win against Illinois was the first real sign of life from the Boilermakers this year, and they had a solid showing at Michigan State before fading late. Center A.J. Hammons had 20 points and seven rebounds against the Spartans, which could be a real boon going forward.

10. NORTHWESTERN (9-6, 0-2)
The Wildcats knew they were in for a tall task to open league play but were blasted by Michigan and saw more of the same in the second half at Minnesota. Games at Penn State and home to Iowa give them a chance to regain their balance, but the defense has to be better for Northwestern to score enough points to win.

11. PENN STATE (8-6, 0-2)
The Nittany Lions were competitive and scrappy at Wisconsin, though not so much when they hosted Indiana on Monday. There are some nice pieces for second-year coach Pat Chambers to work with, but he needs them to all get clicking at the same time in order to find the win column.

12. NEBRASKA (9-6, 0-2)
Averaging just 42.5 points in losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin, with a road trip to Michigan and Michigan State up next, doesn’t bode well for the Cornhuskers. It’s looking like a long Big Ten season in Lincoln for first-year coach Tim Miles.


  1. Did anyone see NBCSports’ initial mock bracket? They have Duke as the overall #1, with Mich, L’Ville, and Kansas the other #1s. That’s fair, I guess. I think most people arond the country would agree that right now it’s a tossup between KU and IU for the fourth #1 seed. Plus, UNC and Gtown both lost, again, so our résumé is looking weaker than it did a few weeks ago.

    My gripe is that they have us in the southeast as a #2 with Duke. Don’t they usually rank each seed and pair them accordingly? That would mean that, basically, they have us as the #8 overall seed with AZ, MN, and ‘Cuse all ahead of us.

    Thoughts, anyone?

  2. Pun, that is crazy and the bracket right now especially is crazy. We will know a lot more in about 2 weeks. I have seen Duke play 3 games and I think they are beatable and I feel Louisville is undisciplined and beatable as well. Kansas I have not seen a full game. Michigan is tough, real tough and I am a bit shocked. We will see how Michigan does when the Big 10 starts getting tougher. I am not sure what to make of IU at this point. I thought they would be a little more dominant this year on a whole. I know the crowd at Iowa was tough but they barely escape with a win and they put on cruise control in 2nd half vs PSU and lost focus. That Butler loss still baffles me and when I think about the way Cody banged last year in the Big 10 compared to all this year vs low level comp and vs Butler…he should have had some 30 point games and really be commanding the ball but we should be feeding him too. Zeller has decent stats but does not look dominant like I thought he would. I love Jordy and Wat but it scares me the way they can disappear. I expected more out of Hanner and Hollowell but maybe more playing time will help. The positives are the defense…can you imagine where we would be if we payed D like last year. Also, how about Oladipo and Will…I know they are a little brash, especially Will but wow those guys can play. One last positive is Yogi gets better by the game. I would say in the end we will get a #1 seed along with Michigan and Duke…the other is a toss up between Kansas and Louisville!!!

  3. I love how people always call other teams “over-rated” and “beatable” when we’ve looked like crap most of our games.

    Did you see how Georgetown got destroyed once again?

    Our schedule looks more lame all the time…..

  4. Laffy, not sure how you feel but I don’t feel IU is over rated but do feel they are beatable…right now. I do feel Louisville is over rated and beatable. Just my opinion…no more no less. Laffy, what should I have said…what would have made more sense in your opinion?

  5. I think we’re vastly over-rated and would not be surprised if we don’t make it to the Sweet 16. As always, it depends on match-ups.

    Say what you want. I just think the “they’re beatable” is kinda dumb because EVERY team is “beatable.”

    And I just laugh at people who call other teams “over-rated” when our team hasn’t looked great for almost the entire year all while people were screaming we didn’t get all the # 1 votes.

  6. Laffy, sorry you feel that way. It is just the way I would talk to my buddies in the bar or my dad at Christmas…did not know it sounded that bad…my bad. What ever happened to giving your honest gut opinion on here and not catching flack?…guess I should have known those days were over a little over a year ago!

  7. J Pat–

    No biggie. It wasn’t “that bad”……it’s just something I find amusing as most fans do it from most schools.

    And if you think that is “catching flack”, you better never ever call a player soft or HH will stalk you 24/7/365 calling you every name in the book.

  8. And if you don’t call a player soft he’ll just say that you did so he can give you flack… 🙁

  9. We may not get to a Sweet 16 this year..That’s really not a very difficult bet…Every year there are plenty of teams that don’t live up to expectations at tournament time.

    There are also a select number of overachievers that gel at just the right moment and create some of those upsets..Our Hoosiers of last year were wearing that slipper.

    The difference between last year’s Hoosiers and this squad? If we don’t stub the toe..If we play to our potential and develop some chemistry on the floor..If we don’t have players more focused on personal showboating than tasting all the glory a potential lifelong memorable prize at the end…If we get to that same Sweet 16 as last season’s teams, I don’t think we’re stopped the rest of the way.

    I almost see the NCAA tournaments as two journeys…The journey to the Sweet 16 is by far the most difficult. If you get through the upset-minded, “tough as nails nobodies” that have no reason to be tight, have everything to gain and nothing to lose for their programs never drenched in limelight…get through those early rounds, it makes the latter half of the tournament much less heavy on the expectations and the odds of winning the final prize far more within the grasp.

    If IU makes it to the Sweet 16, then I believe they live up to the hype. The biggest battles are belief. Beyond the Sweet 16, the second half of the journey, belief takes root. All teams are feeling more of an equal pressure with most Cinderellas being eliminated by that point. If IU gets to the same door as last year’s team, I truly believe they are the odds-on favorite(at least in my mind) to take it all.


    I think there just hasn’t been a big opportunity for that signature win this year. We shouldn’t have lost to Butler(water under the bridge), but would the perceptions have changed drastically if we had come away with an easy victory against the Bulldogs? Nobody would have been on here claiming it was a “statement game.” Even if we handle Michigan at home, it will not have the impact of last year’s victory over #1 UK.

    The true tests for this team begin in February. This just isn’t a season set up for dramatic singular moments. There won’t be anything happening(pre-NCAA tournament)that will make for an ESPY award. The back half of our Big 10 schedule is brutal..Finding that “statement game,” a win on the road against MSU or Michigan, will be much more difficult than the grabbing of glory that came with beating UK at Assembly Hall last December.

    Four of our next five games are at home…Big games. Collectively bigger than one win against UK last year. There will be a wide share of losing on the road by all the top contenders in the conference this year. Not stumbling at home is crucial to finishing high in the standings. Tennis analogy? Don’t get broken..Don’t lose a game on your serve because the Big 10 season will play out like a classic Nadal-Federer match..It will be a war and will likely be decided on a tie-breaker in the seventh game of the sixth set.

  10. If IU does not learn to do a better job on defensive rebounding, all the above discussion will be irrelevant. I think this team’s single biggest concern is defensive rebounding and giving opponents second chance points. The defense has improved, as evidenced by the opponents’ shooting percentage and the stats on deflections, steals and etc. But rebounding needs to be much better. If Crean and staff can enhance that particular skill, whether through better technique or changes in the roster, IU will go deep in the tourney. If rebounding remains the same, it could be a short dance.

  11. Biggest single concern? Stop trying to impress NBA scouts.

    This team needs an identity. They need to want the banner more than personally absorbing and head-swelling that goes along with all the slobbering over the chatter a few select members receive about their rising draft stock…Stay away from the Establishment brainwashing.

    The best coaches in the game shut their teams off to that garbage..It’s all garbage..POY hype..Draft hype. When you play a team game at the college level you have a final chance in your life to do something for the guys on the bench as much as for yourself.

    This team has the collective talent to be more as a group light years beyond anything approaching what a few are individually capable at the next level.

    It would be so much healthier if they could just shut that world out and play ball. Turn off the Twitter accounts ..Turn off the Facebook pages…Turn off the hype. Turn off the self-promotion and the gloating every time you make a play. Just play ball and win for that guy on the bench that was dealt a different hand…the guy named Austin Etherington..the guy named Maurice Creek..the unsung true heroes more than your glorious self. Play for something bigger than what is piped into your ears 24/7. Play as if you are irrelevant and deserving of nothing until the final net is cut down. Then hand the first clipping to Mo.

  12. Thanks Geoff. Just got hit by a nasty case of the flu. Every damn joint in my body ached yesterday..Damn knuckles were even sore. Must have put the old noggin in the right funk for once. Nothing like a good flu to kill some old piss-poison.

  13. HforH, I agree with your point in general, but I don’t see any IU players trying to impress the NBA scouts. Certainly Zeller plays as if he could care less. He’s almost too unselfish and has been criticized for not “demanding the ball” more often. VO is not trying to impress anyone but the guy he’s assigned to guard. Yogi is too smart to believe that he is a candidate for the NBA next year and is obviously still a bit reluctant to shoot from outside. The only player that might have been trying to impress NBA scouts so far this year would be CWat, but I think he got over that quickly and realized that allowing those thoughts to distract him was a mistake.

  14. This team is, for the most part, too unselfish to say they’re just trying to impress the scouts. If i were to guess, I’d say that HH is mostly referring to Three-Fingers-to-the-Head Sheehey. I’m a big fan of his play and the energy he brings, but not at all fond of the showboating. His antics seem more designed to impress his twitter followers than the scouts. I just wish he’d act a little more like he’s been there before.

    I can’t recall who it was, but there was an NFL coach this year who caught some flak for offering his players something like $500 each time they scored a TD and just handed the ball off to the refs. No dances, no look-at-me baffoonery. Just do your job and get ready for the next play. I love that idea. Clearly Coach can’t offer that kind of incentive to his student athletes– and you have to be careful trying to temper the enthusiasm of your energetic players– but I’d like to see him reign in some of the post-basket gorilla theatrics we see a little too often.

  15. It wasn’t intended to be an indictment of anyone. More of a philosophy and a statement about cultural trends and the hype that can destroy a stronger and more meaningful purpose to why you put on the uniform…

    I’m plenty content with some not being moved or inspired. The compliments from Geoff felt sincere and I’m glad he recognized where I was going with it.

    Wow…Gotta give Nebraska a lot of credit for their heart tonight.

  16. I think Calapari offered $100 not to showboat after a dunk.

    Turned out they had better offers.

  17. Harvard, I didn’t think it was an indictment of any one person. Indeed, I too thought you made some great points. I just see Sheehey as the main culprit in an ever increasing hey-look-at-me mentality that runs counter to how Crean (and probably most of us) wants our team to play.

    The identity I think CTC is looking for is a team that plays with a hungry togetherness, who appreciates their individual roles in a greater purpose, yet also plays with a poise and maturity that tells our opponent “this ain’t our first rodeo, clown.” The showboating only serves to undermine that.

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