Michigan claims top spot in power rankings

Now that the Big Ten regular season has come to a close, it’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. Also, did you see my top 10 Big Ten plays from the past week? Watch them and vote for your top play. The latest national polls are out, as well.

1. Michigan (23-8, 13-5) – The Wolverines are one of the three teams that tied for the Big Ten title, they registered a season split against the other two champs, Michigan State and Ohio State, and yet they don’t seem to be garnering as much national respect as the Buckeyes or Spartans. Go figure.
Last time: No. 2
This week: vs. Northwestern/Minnesota (3/9)

T-2. Michigan State (24-7, 13-5) – It’s funny how fast things can change. Just a week ago, the Spartans looked nearly untouchable. Two games later, both losses, that’s no longer the case. More than the losses, though, Branden Dawson’s season-ending knee injury is the biggest cause for concern.
Last time: No. 1
This week: vs. Iowa/Illinois (3/9)

T-2. Ohio State (25-6, 13-5) – As terrific as Sunday’s clutch comeback victory at Michigan State was, the Buckeyes still don’t seem right. William Buford is on one night and can’t hit a thing the next, Jared Sullinger is shooting 43 percent in the last five games, and depth remains an issue. That said, this is a dangerous team.
Last time: T-No. 3
This week: vs. Purdue/Nebraska (3/9)

4. Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6) – When talking the Big Ten’s most improved player, Tim Frazier usually dominates the conversation. Here’s another guy: Ryan Evans. The junior has scored in double figures in 10 straight games and is averaging 12.8 points during the span. On the season, he’s good for 10.7 ppg and a team-leading 6.9 rpg.
Last time: T-No. 3
This week: vs. Indiana/Penn State (3/9)

5. Indiana (24-7, 11-7) – The Hoosiers have won seven of their last eight games, one more than they won during the entire 2008-09 season. Sophomore Victor Oladipo is the biggest reason for the hot streak, averaging 14.8 points and six rebounds, this after reaching double figures twice in the previous nine games.
Last time: No. 5
This week: vs. Penn State (3/8)

6. Purdue (20-11, 10-8) – All Terone Johnson needed was an opportunity, and now he’s playing like a guy capable of assuming the lead role next season — if necessary. Someone will have to become Purdue’s go-to scorer, with Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson out of eligibility, and Johnson (14.8 ppg in last four games) has the size, strength and penetrating abilities to be a force.
Last time: No. 6
This week: vs. Nebraska (3/8)

7. Northwestern (18-12, 8-10) – Senior John Shurna wrapped up the Big Ten scoring crown last week, as expected. The significance? All but one Big Ten leading scorer has earned first-team All-Big Ten honors since 1948. We’ll find out where Shurna lands Monday night.
Last time: No. 8
This week: vs. Minnesota (3/8)

8. Iowa (16-15, 8-10) – How far has Matt Gatens come in the past few weeks? Put it this way: An ESPN-U announcer said he “only has 14 points” late in the second half of Wednesday’s win at Nebraska. True, it wasn’t close to the 26.5 points he averaged in the previous four games, but you know you’re in a groove when someone calls you out like that.
Last time: No. 7
This week: vs. Illinois (3/8)

9. Illinois (17-14, 6-12) – The Illini have lost eight of nine, and if you heard Bruce Weber’s postgame press conference following Sunday’s loss at Wisconsin, you get the feeling he knows his fate. Illinois is an absolute mess right now — five of its last eight defeats have come by double digits! There’s not much else to say, really.
Last time: No. 9
This week: vs. Iowa (3/8)

10. Minnesota (18-13, 6-12) – The Gophers needed Saturday’s win over Nebraska for a couple of reasons. The obvious: Minnesota enters the Big Ten tourney on a winning note. The not-so obvious: the 81 points against a defensive-minded team proves the Gophers can score. This was a team that averaged a putrid 58.3 points in the previous eight games.
Last time: No. 10
This week: vs. Northwestern (3/8)

11. Penn State (12-19, 4-14) – The fact Penn State stuck with eventual Big Ten champ Michigan on a day that Tim Frazier made four buckets and scored 11 points is a silver lining for the pesky Nittany Lions. The underrated Jermaine Marshall scored a career-high 27 to make things interesting Sunday, and he needs to keep hitting from outside.
Last time: No. 11
This week: vs. Indiana (3/8)

12. Nebraska (12-17, 4-14) – Remember how good Nebraska looked in that dominating win over Illinois on Feb. 18? The Huskers were never able to build any momentum from that all-around great performance, as they have lost their past four games by an average of 16.8 points.
Last time: No. 12
This week: vs. Purdue (3/8)

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for BTN.com. Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (27 Comments)
Matt on 3/5/2012 @ 4:18pm EDT Said:

Michigan being #1 is as ridiculous as the officiating in the OSU/MSU game yesterday. You are an idiot plain and simple, and do not know anything about college basketball. Please get a new job clown.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 3/5/2012 @ 5:11pm EDT Said:

    Matt – These are power rankings, not some BCS-like criteria that determines NCAA seeds or anything important. At the end of the day, three teams tied for the Big Ten crown, all three played each other twice apiece, and all three went 2-2 in such games. Against the conference’s top 5 teams, MSU was 5-3, Michigan 4-3 & OSU 4-4. Not sure it’s that crazy to say Michigan is No. 1. And it’s now the postseason, where PG play is so important. I’ll take Burke.

Wm Smith on 3/5/2012 @ 6:43pm EDT Said:

Wow, just wow. Someone actually pays you for this? I’ll try not to swear but maybe you could rent a sports brain’ somewhere.

Thanks and have a good day.

Palooza on 3/5/2012 @ 6:49pm EDT Said:

How does a team gain the #1 power ranking while sitting and watching the two other teams beat each other up, and after losing to Purdue at home the game before?

Doug on 3/5/2012 @ 6:57pm EDT Said:

yep, Michigan at # 1 is a complete joke. Both MSU and OSU played a tougher schedule than Michigan, that’s why they aren’t getting the respect. Michigan eeked out a 1 pt win at home vs MSU but got pounded at MSU, and they eeked out a 5 pt win at home vs OSU but got pounded at OSU. MSU and OSU are better than Michigan, it’s that simple.

Doug on 3/5/2012 @ 7:01pm EDT Said:

The credability of this site just went to 0. Michigan #1 is a complete joke. I guess the rankings and the seed projections prove how wrong you are.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 3/5/2012 @ 7:22pm EDT Said:

    Remember, Michigan only played Minnesota and Nebraska once this season. Also, despite losing at Iowa, it didn’t get the Hawkeyes at Crisler Center. And again, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State were all 2-2 against each other. I’ll take Michigan how it is playing right now over Michigan State, sans Dawson, and Ohio State on a neutral court. We’ll see in Indy.

Doug on 3/5/2012 @ 7:35pm EDT Said:

and once again, Michigan snuck by osu and msu at home while they were dominated at those places. yeah they only played minny and neb once this year but they got to play iowa and psu twice and didn’t have to go to wisconsin. they got blown out in most of their losses and snuck by nw twice in o.t.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 3/6/2012 @ 12:14am EDT Said:

    Doug – They only played Iowa once this season. As for going to OT twice against Northwestern, that’s the same team that beat Michigan State by seven and lost to Ohio State in the final seconds (Sullinger game-winner with less than 4 seconds left).

James on 3/5/2012 @ 7:48pm EDT Said:

If the B1G tourney plays out the way it should, UM will not be getting past OSU on a neutral court. Which is sad because as a MSU fan I’d love to see the two in state rivals battle it out for the championship. Burke is a great PG but they are way too thin up front. I don’t understand how you can think that getting beat by double digits to Purdue at home and barely beating PSU as a sign of good things to come.

Ted Keaton on 3/6/2012 @ 12:08am EDT Said:

Come on man! call guinness book of world records for the most 3pt shots attempted. that’s all michigan does they have nothing else except trey burke. michigan just lost to purdue at home for god sakes. State beat them by 25 at home but purdue had all their starters. Michigan is much improved but if they don’t shoot from 3 well they will lose and yes we’ll see in Indy. Can’t wait!

Doug on 3/6/2012 @ 12:59am EDT Said:

yeah i realized the iowa thing after i typed it, still, i would take msu and osu on a neutral court, michigan needed several questionable calls just to beat msu and osu at home while they were totally dominated on the road. msu beat pu by 25 at home when pu was at full strength while mich got dominated by them. yep can’t wait for indy, i see nw beating michigan on friday while msu is in the final vs osu, what a rematch that will be

4dorr on 3/6/2012 @ 7:51am EDT Said:

Any of the top 4 teams can win the B1G Tourney no matter where they have been seeded. Watch it, have fun, let it play out.

Go Bucks!

Trey's Fan on 3/6/2012 @ 11:02am EDT Said:

If you disagree with Michigan being #1 you are a JOKE!!!! Michigan played there butts off and deserve to be #1 if you dont like it then ol well, the lost to Purdue was just a bad game, can’t win them all, but of course you know due to that you are sitting in the stands, GIVE THESE BOYS THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE AND GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good job Brent Yarina keep talking about the Wolverines!!!

Joe on 3/6/2012 @ 11:30am EDT Said:

I love all the haters from E.L. that go back to their elementary school logic. We all played 18 conference games. All 3 had the same exact record, with identical records against each other. 2 teams limped into a share and 1 team surged into it. We didn’t choke our last 2 games away. You guys should thank Minny for choking against you guys and you should thank us for beating OSU the week before you choked against them. Little brother, child please.

Doug on 3/6/2012 @ 11:37am EDT Said:

hey trey’s fan, obviously you are 10 years old and have never been to ann arbor in your life, so get a popsicle and relax, or are you really tim dolye cause you sure sound like him on the pulse…

Doug on 3/6/2012 @ 12:12pm EDT Said:

Hey Joe, you needed MSU to lose their last 2 games so way to back into a title. Little brother please, who are you, mike hart. Your job at walmart must be hurting your feelings. MSU’s win at OSU and Gonzaga is so much better than anything Mich has done. thanks for playing gangsta. MSU’s and OSU’s last 2 games were so much tougher than Michigan’s. Nice 6 pt win over a horrible horrible psu team, you call that surging? try again sunshine

Scott on 3/6/2012 @ 1:00pm EDT Said:

Cry me a river, Doug. Sparty colors are green…green with envy.

Doug on 3/6/2012 @ 2:32pm EDT Said:

yep real envious of a team that needed sparty to lose their last 2 games. 6 final fours in 13 years, meanwhile Mich hasn’t had one since 1989. that team should be investigated, like rumeal robinson passed his classes….

real proud to have jalen rose whining about putting the banners backed up after the embarrassment they caused, mich should never allow those clowns back on campus ever

TheTruth on 3/6/2012 @ 7:27pm EDT Said:

Michigan State is the Class of the Big Ten and has been for the past 15 years. Ain’t nothing change here.
Ohio State is the new bully on the block and they stake their claim.

Michigan is just having a good year. That’s it. Burke can play.

Thatsh!tCRAY! on 3/6/2012 @ 7:30pm EDT Said:

Even on the down years Michigan State still wins the Big Ten.

Go Cry Blue. All ya’ll do is hate.

Kyle on 3/8/2012 @ 5:05pm EDT Said:

At the end of the day a win is a win and a loss is a loss. But it’s hard to argue Michigan being the best team in be Big Ten. I’ve watched the top four teams play multiple times this year and they definitely had a tremendous year. No doubt an elite team this year. Consider the fact that MSUs two losses to the co-champs were by a combined 3 points while their victories were a combined +30. And aside from the massacre in Bloomington the only other conference loss was to Illinois by 1 in the final seconds. I guess it evens itself out and it is just an article of one objective opinion but I’ll need more than what’s stated to totally agree.

Doug on 3/10/2012 @ 10:48pm EDT Said:

Told ya, Michigan got pounded by OSU on a neutral court, and MSU would have done the same thing to Michigan, the two big dogs are playing Sunday, would have been better for Michigan to lose to Minny, that was a slaughter

Derek on 3/11/2012 @ 6:49pm EDT Said:

What a joke — are you kidding me. As expected, Michigan got smoked and State won the Big Ten title as expected. I’ve lost all credibility with BTN.com and Brent Yarina. I’m shocked BTN actually pays people for this level of commentary and so-called analysis. Unreal…

    BTN.com staff on 3/11/2012 @ 6:55pm EDT Said:

    Derek, good to see you disagreed with these rankings after the Big Ten tournament played out. Of course, if we all agreed, we’d never have any kind of fun debates. That’s why we publish power rankings – to give our snapshot of that moment. Enjoy the NCAA tourney!

Derek on 3/17/2012 @ 2:18pm EDT Said:


I hope you enjoyed the NCAA tourney with your #1 ranked Michigan Wolverines getting knocked out in the first round.

BTN.com — so is that what this website is all about now? Posting ridiculous articles to create fun debate? really?

    BTN.com staff on 3/17/2012 @ 3:09pm EDT Said:

    Derek, thanks for the note. This website is about several things, but one of the things is having a fun, healthy debate about our sports teams. So thanks again for the comment!