The Big Ten Roundup has been replaced with Big Ten Power Rankings this year at UM Hoops. We’ll take a look across the conference on a weekly basis, rank all 12 teams and attempt to provide some insight about each team.
1. Michigan (8-1, 1.16 PPP, 1.06 Opp. PPP, +.10 EM)
A loss in Bloomington is something of an annual tradition for Michigan. The Wolverines have only won at Assembly Hall twice since 1988.
The Wolverines are only slotted third in the efficiency margin stats, but we’ll give them the edge because they beat the Spartans in East Lansing.
Indiana beat Michigan by eliminating Nik Stauskas from the equation. While that was frustrating for Wolverine fans to watch, Stauskas has been remarkably consistent this season. His stretch of offensive play from the Duke game was as impressive as anyone in the country and he’s only had two games with an offensive rating under 100.
2. Michigan State (8-1, 1.10 PPP, .96 Opp. PPP, +.14 EM)
It was a rough weekend for Michigan State as well, although the Spartans loss to Georgetown won’t hurt in the standings – it was ugly. The Spartans did pick up a huge win in Iowa City on Tuesday which is the reason they are tied at the top of the conference standings. Michigan State leads the way in efficiency margin and only trails Michigan in the power rankings because of a head-to-head loss.
3. Iowa (6-3, 1.11 PPP, .98, Opp. PPP, +.14)
The Big Ten is still a three-team race at the top and Iowa is right there despite dropping three games. With home games against Ohio State and Michigan this week, Iowa has a massive opportunity to makeup ground. Iowa lost at home to Michigan State on Tuesday thanks to a 14:50 field goal drought that spanned the final 10 minutes and overtime up until a Roy Devyn Marble layup with six seconds to play. The Hawkeyes attempted almost as many free throws as field goals, but sooner or later you have to hit some shots to win.
4. Northwestern (5-5, .87 PPP, 1.01 Opp. PPP, –.15 EM)
Northwestern has the worst efficiency margin in the conference, but somehow has five Big Ten wins. This is the same Northwestern team that many wondered whether it could win a Big Ten game after being drubbed by Michigan and Iowa by a combined score of 167 to 118.
Do the stats say the Wildcats should regress toward the bottom of the league? Most definitely. It’s one thing to see a team limp to .500 in the conference while being outscored by .03 or .04 points per trip, but not .15 points per possession.
Northwestern has already won three road games and is 5-2 in its last seven games despite a historically bad offense. Northwestern has the second biggest gap in adjusted offensive efficiency rank (316th) and adjusted defensive efficiency rank (10th) in the country.
5. Ohio State (4-5, 1.02 PPP, .99 Opp. PPP, +.03 EM)
Ohio State’s win in Madison was its first of the season over a team ranked in Ken Pomeroy’s top-50. While it wasn’t quite as extreme as the Buckeyes ridiculous comeback against Notre Dame, the Buckeyes were able to snatch a win that looked unlikely late in the game.
Ohio State has made a habit of these late game pushes (performing the same feat against Notre Dame and at Michigan State before losing in overtime), but was served a taste of its own medicine against Penn State at home earlier in the week.
Win probability graphs from KenPom.com.
6. Nebraska (3-5, .97 PPP, 1.04 Opp. PPP, –.07 EM)
Nebraska was never as bad as its 0-4 record indicated to open Big Ten play, but give Tim Miles credit for keeping his team together and bouncing back. The Huskers have only lost one game at home this season – a narrow defeat to Michigan. It’s back to the road this week as Nebraska looks to avenge its loss to Michigan on Wednesday and travels to Northwestern on Saturday.
7. Indiana (4-5, .98 PPP, 1.00 Opp. PPP, –.01 EM)
Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris and… Yogi Ferrell? It might be time to start talking about Ferrell as a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. His Big Ten numbers back up the talk, but Indiana’s team performance could limit his chances. Here’s an updated Player of the Year tracker.
Ferrell played game-changing defense against Nik Stauskas – denying him the ball and holding him to just one made field goal – and he hit seven threes to carry his team on offense. Was it the best performance of the Big Ten season? It’s definitely up there.
8. Wisconsin (4-5, 1.11 PPP, 1.05 Opp. PPP, –.06 EM)
Three weeks ago Wisconsin was undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the nation. Since then the Badgers have lost five of their last six games including three on their home floor. Early in the losing streak it was Wisconsin’s defense that caused so many issues, this week the Badger offense sputtered to a halt. The Badgers shot just 30% on twos and 21% on threes in a dismal offensive outing against Northwestern and weren’t able to regain their outside shot against Ohio State either, shooting just 3-of-17 (18%) from long distance.
9. Minnesota (4-5, 1.09 PPP, 1.10 Opp. PPP, –.01)
If you lose at home to Northwestern, you fall in the power rankings. That sounded like a good rule, but it seems that everyone is losing at home to the Wildcats these days. The Gophers have a critical week coming up with a game at Purdue and home against Indiana. If Minnesota is going to make a push for a NCAA tournament bid, those are the sorts of games it needs to win. Unfortunately, Andre Hollins could be sidelined until the Indiana game.
10. Penn State (3-6, .99 PPP, 1.06 Opp. PPP, –.07 EM)
Penn State continues to prove there is no bottom to the Big Ten this year. The Nittany Lions started the year 0-6, but have reeled off three straight victories. Pat Chambers’ group got a marquee win at Ohio State thanks to some late game heroics from DJ Newbill and held serve at home to beat Purdue. Newbill was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week and for good reason as he willed the Nittany Lions to victory in Columbus. His game winner over Aaron Craft was a thing of beauty.
11. Purdue (3-6, .99 PPP, 1.04 Opp. PPP, –.05 EM)
Losers of their last four, Ken Pomeroy doesn’t predict the Boilermakers will win another game they host Northwestern in their season finale. Purdue continues to be dominant on the offensive glass, but that’s not enough to make up for its anemic shooting ability.
12. Illinois (2-7, .94 PPP, 1.03 Opp. PP, –.10 EM)
Illinois battled all the way back from a 20 point first half deficit against Iowa only to let the Hawkeyes off the hook down the stretch. To go from 11-2 to 13-9 is a drastic turn of events and it might be too late to salvage the season in Champaign.