Power Rankings: Burke, Michigan bolster case
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1. Michigan, (15-0, 2-0) – The Wolverines have scored at least 93 points in three of the last four games, including 94 (at Northwestern) and 95 (vs. Iowa) to open Big Ten. Times are a changing, as this is a program that has never averaged more than 67 points under John Beilein.
Last week: No. 1
2. Indiana, (13-1, 1-0) – Somehow, many are worried about Indiana’s narrow victory at Iowa in the Big Ten opener. Consider this: Sharpshooter Jordan Hulls went 0-for-10, the worst performance of his career. That doesn’t figure to happen again.
Last week: No. 2
3. Minnesota, (14-1, 2-0) – As the Big Ten Geeks point out, the Gophers are grabbing a nation-leading 50 percent of their misses on way to averaging a ridiculous 16.8 offensive boards. And this is a team that is shooting a respectable 47 percent!
Last week: No. 3
4. Illinois, (14-2, 1-1) – Nnanna Egwu‘s 16-point, eight-rebound effort against Ohio State was, by far, the big man’s best career performance. While the Illini can’t expect lines like that every night, they’d be a real tough team if Egwu became a consistent inside presence.
Last week: No. 5
5. Michigan State, (12-3, 1-1) – Something I’ve thought numerous times watching the Spartans this season: I hope Gary Harris stays in college as long as possible. This wing is something special, and he’s only a freshman, one who has battled injury to boot.
Last week: No. 6
6. Ohio State, (11-3, 1-1) – The Buckeyes are 0-3 against ranked foes. In the losses, they’ve allowed 73 points (at Duke) and 74 (vs. Kansas; at Illinois). Without a true No. 2 scorer behind Deshaun Thomas, they need to keep the top opponents in the 60s.
Last week: No. 4
7. Wisconsin, (11-4, 2-0) – The Badgers are one of four unbeaten teams left in Big Ten play. But Wisconsin fans shouldn’t be without worry. That’s because the wins have come against Penn State and Nebraska, and neither has been very easy or impressive.
Last week: No. 8
8. Iowa, (11-4, 0-2) – Step away from the ledge, Hawkeyes fans. Yes, your team is 0-2 in Big Ten play, but the losses were to No. 5 Indiana and No. 2 Michigan, teams with a combined 28-1 record. Few, if any, expected Iowa to split those first two tests.
Last week: No. 7
9. Purdue, (7-7, 1-1) – Big Ten fans, meet Purdue’s A.J. Hammons. Three days after Hammons’ dud of a Big Ten debut, the freshman went for 20 points (8-of-12 FG), seven rebounds and three blocks against Michigan State’s big and long frontline of Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne.
Last week: T-No. 10
10. Northwestern, (9-6, 0-2) – First, it was JerShon Cobb’s season-long suspension. Next, it was All-Big Ten candidate Drew Crawford‘s season-ending shoulder injury. Then, it was Reggie Hearn‘s ankle. Hearn is back, although it sure doesn’t feel like Northwestern’s year.
Last week: No. 9
11. Nebraska, (9-6, 0-2) – It’s been a question all season: Where is the scoring going to come from? Through two Big Ten games – albeit against solid defensive teams in Ohio State and Wisconsin – Nebraska averages a head-scratching 42.5 points.
Last week: T-No. 10
Here’s a look at the top 5:
1. 34.6 – Michigan’s Trey Burke & Tim Hardaway Jr.
2. 31.6 – Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas & Lenzelle Smith Jr.
3. 30.6 – Illinois’ Brandon Paul & Tracy Abrams
4. 30.4 – Penn State’s D.J. Newbill & Jermaine Marshall
5. 30.3 – Indiana’s Cody Zeller & Victor Oladipo
Last week: No. 12
|About Brent Yarina||BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.|