Bardo: Illini on upward swing in Power Rankings

That was a fun first week of the Big Ten men’s hoops season? Five teams escaped the week unblemished, including Ohio State and Wisconsin, both of which are undefeated on the season.

Find out where your team lands on my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, in this post.

[ MORE: View the latest college basketball polls ]

1. Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0). The Badgers cruised at Northwestern and survived against the Hawkeyes at home.  Would they still be undefeated if Fran McCaffery didn’t get tossed
Last week:

2. Ohio State (15-0, 2-0). The Buckeyes didn’t have any problem scoring in victories at Purdue and home versus Nebraska. Best opponent this season up next at Michigan State.
Last week: 2


3. Michigan State (13-1, 2-0). Tremendous second half at Penn State, and it was the Gary Harris show at Indiana. The Spartans look like they are finally healthy, and they’ll need all of their strength as the top defensive team in the land (Ohio State) invades East Lansing.
Last week: 3

4. Illinois (13-2, 2-0). High intensity overtime win over Hoosiers and staunch defensive effort against Penn State has the Illini on the upward swing. This is a tough, understated team that continues to impress. 
Last week: 6

5. Iowa (12-3, 1-1). The Hawkeyes held on to beat Nebraska at home, but let a great opportunity at Wisconsin slip through their fingers. They must regroup quickly before a trip to Columbus on Sunday.
Last week: 4

[ MORE: Big Ten Geeks: Did Fran lose it? ]

6. Michigan (10-4, 2-0). The young Wolverines showed great character in winning at Minnesota minus GR3 in the second half. They can’t rest on laurels, though, with trip to Lincoln against an improved Huskers squad. 
Last week: 8

7. Minnesota (12-3, 1-1). Take out Elliott Eliason’s shooting, and the Gophers starters were 8-37 in home loss to Michigan. They did hold on late to beat young Boilers. Looking forward to see how Richard Pitino and his Gophers respond at Penn State and Michigan State this week.
Last week: 5

[ MORE: Ready for this week’s hoops action? Get prepped here! ]

8. Purdue (10-5, 0-2). The enigma that is AJ Hammons continues. Against Ohio State: 18pts/16rebs and 5 blocks.  Against Minnesota: 7pts/1reb and no blocks. Until they can get consistent production from him, they will underachieve.
Last week: 7

9. Indiana (10-5, 0-2). The young Hoosiers play hard, but turnovers led to their demise against Illinois and Michigan State. The good news: Indiana gets the full week to try and right the ship before a challenging trip to State College.
Last week: 9

10. Penn State (9-6, 0-2). If they can put together 40 minutes of their first-half effort against Michigan State, Nittany Lions would be among Big Ten elite. It will be interesting to see how they matchup with Minnesota and Indiana this week. They will have to shoot better than 29 percent, like they did at Illinois, to be competitive.
Last week: 10

[ MORE: Yarina: What a wild opening week of Big Ten hoops ]

11. Nebraska (8-6, 0-2). No lie, Nebraska’s schedule to start Big Ten is brutal. The Huskers have a good opportunity with a young Wolverine team coming to Pinnacle Bank Arena this Thursday, followed by a road trip to Purdue on Sunday.
Last week: 11

12. Northwestern (7-8, 0-2). Alex Olah is starting to learn how to play with contact. That’s a good sign for Wildcat team that depends too much on Drew Crawford’s scoring. The Coach Collins “Baptism by Fire” continues at Iowa and home vs. Illinois this week.
Last week: 12

– Team records are through January 5 action.

About Stephen Bardo
The BTN basketball analyst and former Flyin’ Illini star is a regular contributor to Follow Bardo on Twitter @stephenbardo, read his past posts right here, and use the form below to submit your questions to his Big Ten basketball mailbag.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (6 Comments)
matt on 1/6/2014 @ 9:31pm EDT Said:

the only comments I have this week are…… if Iowa needed Franny Mac to get tossed from a game to get fired up for the #4 team in the country, then they were never ready for a 40 min game against the #4 team in the country. also, don’t count on Dekker and Kaminsky to be nearly invisible for the return game.

John on 1/7/2014 @ 1:49am EDT Said:

My note to Stephen Bardo: Am I the only one who realizes that OSU hasn’t even beaten a ranked team this year?!?!?!?!?!?!? They’ve beaten Marquette, who WAS ranked at the time but is now 9-6, unranked, and have shown that they are not good at all. Their best win has been against 10-4 Notre Dame for God’s Sake! I’m not saying that Ohio State isn’t good, but they sure haven’t done anything to prove that they are….. (This will all be for nothing if they beat MSU tomorrow, but still………)

jeff on 1/8/2014 @ 3:19pm EDT Said:

for John who questions Ohio State. Asked and answered. MSU whipped them early and took the second half off. To OSU’s credit their defense is tenacious and they got back in it while MSU napped, but it was not good enough.

akble on 1/9/2014 @ 8:38am EDT Said:

Still impressed with your Illini after Wisconsin visit? Hawkeyes outplay Badgers and loose close one there and you drop them in your power ratings – Illini go there 4 days later and get blown out. Obviously your pwoer ratings are not based on reality. Illinois will dive now.

Paul Walters on 2/15/2014 @ 9:29pm EDT Said:

Why is Shon Morris allowed to build up every team that plays against Illini and make ho-hum comments about Illini? He should never be allowed to broadcast Illini games in the future!

akble on 2/16/2014 @ 8:48am EDT Said:

Sorry Paul but your argument does not hold much water this year the way Liiini are playing- last nights game against Ohio State was one of the worse games I have seen in B10 since Lickliter coached Iowa. If I was Illini fan I would take ho-hum comments this year