With Ohio State losing a pair of games this past week, there was quite the shakeup near the top of my Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. There also was movement at the bottom, as Northwestern is no longer in the cellar.
Find out where your team lands on my latest list in this post.
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1. Wisconsin (16-0, 3-0). The Badgers held serve at home again with an easy win over then-No. 23 Illinois. Scoring 95 points against the Illini may be the highest point total we’ll see in Big Ten this season. The starting 5 is playing exceptionally well. Throw in Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, and Wisconsin looks to still be improving right now.
Last week: 1
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2. Michigan State (15-1, 4-0). The “Mash Unit,” I mean Spartans continue to find a way with two overtime wins at home. They avoided a near collapse in holding on against Ohio State, and without Adreian Payne against Minnesota, Keith Appling and Gary Harris were stellar. Appling in the Big 10 player of the year thus far.
Last week: 3
3. Iowa (14-3, 3-1). What a week for the Hawkeyes! They absolutely throttled Northwestern without Fran McCaffery, who was serving a one-game suspension, and they won at then-No. 3 Ohio State to record their first win over a top 5 team since 2001. Congrats to Devyn Marble for Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
Last week: 5
4. Ohio State (15-2, 2-2). It was a tough week for the Buckeyes. The comeback to force overtime at Michigan State was tremendous, but they came up short in the end. Aaron Craft’s play in the later part of second half was Big Ten Legend like! Then, costly turnovers late at home versus Iowa cost them dearly. Taking care of rock and scoring from multiple positions will be key for Ohio State moving forward.
Last week: 2
5. Michigan (11-4, 3-0). The young Wolverines are doing a good job of learning on the job with Mitch McGary out indefinitely. The team’s second road conference victory, this one at Nebraska, was a nail-biter as Derrick Walton Jr. clinched the win with a clutch drive to basket. I like Glenn Robinson III showing emotion – it’s the most I’ve see him play with against the Huskers. Michigan seems to be hitting it’s stride at right time.
Last week: 6
6. Illinois (13-4, 2-2). The Illini were thrashed at Wisconsin. It’s been a long time since they’ve had 95 points scored on them in conference play. In Sunday’s loss at Northwestern, Illinois scored 15 first-half points and shot 28 percent. Also, it looked like star Rayvonte Rice injured his groin. The Big Ten’s leading scorer finished with only eight points.
Last week: 4
7. Minnesota (13-4, 2-2). The Gophers got their first taste of the road at Penn State, and Deandre Matheiu made the play of the game to seal the close win and give Richard Pitino his first Big Ten road victory. Minnesota almost upset top 5 Michigan State in East Lansing the next time out, however it fell in overtime. The Gophers have been really good in spurts, but more consistency may allow them finish in top half of Big Ten.
Last week: 7
8. Purdue (11-5, 1-2). The Boilers got their first Big Ten victory Sunday vs. Nebraska. The A.J. Hammons show was on again, with 18 points on 6-9 shooting and 6-7 from free throw line. Two interesting challenges this week, as Purdue travels to suddenly reeling Illinois and hosts Penn State. Sterling Carter is starting to play like coaching staff envisioned before the season.
Last week: 8
9. Indiana (11-5, 1-2). The Hoosiers played as hard as any team I’ve seen this season in beating Penn State on the road. The intensity level of that game was high, and the young Hoosiers stayed consistent throughout. Noah Vonleh carried Indiana as it dug itself a double-digit deficit early. Stanford Robinson, Austin Etherington and Jeff Howard were excellent off the bench in win.
Last week: 9
10. Northwestern (8-9, 1-3). The Wildcats hung tough for a half at Iowa City, but were overmatched by the Hawkeyes in their loss. They had a nice rebound game – without Dave Sobolewski (Concussion) – in beating rival Illinois at Welsh-Ryan arena. Good team defense and a nice offensive spark from reserve Tre Demps allowed Northwestern to get head coach Chris Collins his first Big Ten win.
Last week: 12
11. Penn State (9-8, 0-4). Even with DJ Newbill being held scoreless and Tim Frazier fouling out late, the Nittany Lions still had a chance against Minnesota. John Johnson was picked clean by Deandre Mathieu, however, and that was the ball game. In the Indiana game, Penn State had double digit leads in the first half but couldn’t close the deal. Penn State has not recovered from Princeton collapse, losing five of six since that game.
Last week: 10
12. Nebraska (8-8, 0-4). Talk about heartbreakers, the Huskers let a wonderful opportunity go in front of their loud home crowd against Michigan. Leslee Smith had two cracks at tip-ins at the end that wouldn’t fall. In the next game, A.J. Hammons was the difference and a six-minute scoring drought in second half sealed their fate.
Last week: 11
– Team records are through January 12 action.
|About Stephen Bardo
||The BTN basketball analyst and former Flyin’ Illini star is a regular contributor to BTN.com. 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.|