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Big Ten Roundup: January 24th, 2011

Team W L Poss. Off Eff. Def. Eff. Eff. Margin
Purdue 6 1 64 1.19 1.01 0.18
Wisconsin 5 2 57 1.19 1.03 0.16
Ohio State 7 0 63 1.14 1.00 0.14
Illinois 4 3 63 1.14 1.06 0.08
Minnesota 4 3 61 1.09 1.08 0.01
Michigan State 4 3 64 1.05 1.06 -0.01
Penn State 3 4 60 1.09 1.11 -0.02
Northwestern 3 5 65 1.08 1.14 -0.06
Indiana 1 6 64 1.09 1.20 -0.11
Iowa 1 6 68 0.98 1.13 -0.15
Michigan 1 6 59 1.04 1.22 -0.18

Scatter plot now lives here.

Ohio State just keeps winning games but it is time to consider Purdue, and maybe Wisconsin, as legitimate title contenders. Purdue lost at Minnesota but the Boilermakers rebounded with a statement win over Michigan State and have blown out the remainder of their conference foes. Wisconsin exploded versus Northwestern on Sunday, scoring 78 points on just 50 possessions, and continues to post gaudy numbers on both ends.

Illinois is stuck between the first and second tier but weโ€™ll lump them along with Minnesota, Michigan State, and, dare I say, Penn State. Michigan Stateโ€™s offense is still bad, third worst in the conference, and Michigan State actually has a negative efficiency margin seven games into conference play. You could say Minnesota survived its treacherous schedule early on but the news that Al Nolen is out at least four weeks is deflating.

The bottom tier has separated itself clearly: Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan. Michigan fans will be upset to see that Michigan not only has the worst defense in conference play but also the worst efficiency margin. Scary times in Ann Arbor.

The real story with these numbers is the offense that has swept the league. Big Ten teams are scoring at an unprecedented (to my knowledge) and alarming rate. Here in our very own corn-fed league of toughness, grit, defense, and rebounding, we are seeing an offensive explosion.

Four teams are scoring over 1.11 points per possession, the same per possession average that the league’s best offense, Wisconsin, produced last season. 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams are averaging over a point per possession and no Big Ten team has managed to hold opponents under the point per trip threshold. In comparison, seven teams topped 1 point per possession last year, and just six managed it in the previous two years. Purdue and Wisconsinโ€™s 1.19 points per possession almost have to regress over the second half of the schedule, but the numbers are still extremely impressive. This offensive explosion isn’t limited to just the top four offenses – three other teams average 1.09 points per possession, which would have been second best in last year’s Big Ten

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