Power Rankings: Hot again, Illinois moves on up

It’s amazing what a week can do. Just ask Illinois. Fresh off a week in which the Illini upset No. 1 Indiana and tripped up No. 18 Minnesota, John Groce’s team, for all intents and purposes, saved its season. Where does Illinois land on my latest Power Rankings? Find out in this post. Oh, and feel free to send me your thoughts, either in the comment box at the bottom of the post or on Twitter (@BTNBrentYarina).

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1. Indiana, (21-3, 9-2) – The most amazing part of Victor Oladipo‘s career-high 26 points at No. 10 Ohio State: He did it on 10 (!) field goal attempts. No joke, the Indiana junior is averaging 1.7 points per attempt this season.
Last week: No. 2

2. Michigan State, (20-4, 9-2)Branden Dawson is a star as is, but it’s scary to think what he’d do if he faced Purdue every game. In four career meetings, all wins, Dawson is shooting 61 percent and averaging 15.8 points, seven rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
Last week: No. 3

3. Michigan, (21-3, 8-3) – Hate to pick on the guy, but the common theme in Michigan’s three defeats is Glenn Robinson III‘s struggles. In defeat, Robinson is shooting 30 percent and averaging 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds, compared to 60 percent and 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in wins.
Last week: No. 2

4. Wisconsin, (17-7, 8-3) – Entering February, Ben Brust had scored in double figures just once in the last dozen games; in three February games, he’s scored 20, 18 and 14 (including 3 on this remarkable shot) – good enough for 17.3 points per game.
Last week: No. 5

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5. Ohio State, (17-6, 7-4) – Already one of the nation’s elite defenders, all of the sudden, Aaron Craft is becoming a force on the defensive glass. After averaging 3.3 rebounds in the first 19 games, the point guard is averaging 6.5 boards in the last four.
Last week: No. 4

6. Illinois, (17-8, 4-7) – There’s “good” Illinois (wins over ranked Butler, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Indiana & Minnesota), and there’s “bad” Illinois (losses to Purdue & Northwestern). Twenty-five games in, it seems, Illinois is as good as Tyler Griffey is shooting.
Last week: No. 10

7. Iowa, (15-9, 4-7) – Finally, Devyn Marble is back. The talented junior put up a Big Ten career-high 21 points Saturday vs. Northwestern, this following a five-game funk that saw him shoot a painful 18 percent (8-of-44) and average six points per game.
Last week: T-No. 7

8. Minnesota, (17-7, 5-6) – If the struggling Gophers, who have lost six of eight, weren’t already in freefall mode, this upcoming schedule just might do it: vs. Wisconsin; at Iowa; at Ohio State; vs. Indiana. Clearly, Tubby Smith needs to figure out his substitution pattern.
Last week: No. 6

9. Purdue, (12-12, 5-6)For Purdue to be successful, it needs D.J. Byrd hitting shots from outside. Well, on Saturday, the struggling senior compiled one of the worst lines in the Big Ten this season: zero points, one rebound, one assist, four turnovers and five fouls.
Last week: T-No. 7

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10. Northwestern, (13-11, 4-7)Northwestern has had an odd schedule here recently. When it finally tips Thursday at Ohio State, it will be fresh off a stretch that included just one game (71-57 loss Feb. 9 at Iowa) in the span of 12 days.
Last week: T-No. 7

11. Nebraska, (12-12, 3-8) – A year-plus after upsetting then-No. 11 Indiana in Lincoln, the Huskers make their first trip to Indiana’s Assembly Hall on Wednesday night (BTN/BTN2Go). For inquiring minds, Nebraska brings back just 12 points (Talley, 10; Ubel 2) from last year’s upset win.
Last week: No. 11

12. Penn State, (8-15, 0-11) – It’s no secret, Penn State has struggled from the field this season (38 percent overall; 35 percent in Big Ten), but its 14 field goals in Saturday’s loss at Nebraska marked a season low. The 29 percent effort from the field only beat its 26 percent clip at Purdue.
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.

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Show Comments (1 Comment)
1 Post Your Comment
Joe on 2/11/2013 @ 9:14pm EDT Said:

Brent,
This is a good list. I agree with the order of the Top 3. 4 & 5 could be either way.
I think we could have an all Big Ten Final Four. It’s wishfull thinking but hey, the B1G is nasty this year. I would Hate to play Basketball in this conference but Love watching it LOL.

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