Bardo: Michigan owns top spot in Power Rankings

This was quite the week in Big Ten basketball action. With all the shakeups that took place, my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, certainly look a little different. As expected, there’s a new No. 1 following Michigan’s impressive win over Michigan State. This week, the Wolverines get to stake claim to the top stop. Find out where your team lands in this post.

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1. Michigan (15-4, 7-0). Is it possible to ask this question: Are the Wolverines more efficient on the offensive end without Mitch McGary? They can put four 3-point shooters on the floor most times and Nik Stauskas’ ability to break down defenses off the bounce gets Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan layups and dunks. Beating three consecutive Top 10 teams is impressive.
Last Week: 2

2. Michigan State (18-2, 7-1). The Spartans showed a lot of toughness and character in their loss to Michigan. Missing 16.4 rebounds per game with Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson out with injury, Keith Appling and Gary Harris were stellar on both ends of the floor. Interesting next week as Spartans travel to Iowa and New York for battle with Georgetown.
Last week: 1


3. Iowa (16-4, 5-2). Iowa’s victory at Northwestern illustrated yet again why the Hawkeyes have best depth in Big Ten. Iowa shot 52 percent from the floor against one of the better defenses in the Big Ten. Gabe Olaseni continues his torrid pace dropping 14 points and 10 rebounds in only 17 minutes. Zach McCabe and Josh Oglesby scored eight points apiece.
Last week: 3

4. Wisconsin (17-3, 4-3). The Badgers got back to winning ways by dominating Purdue. This was only the fourth time in program history and the second time in a row that Wisconsin won in Mackey Arena. Badgers have next two at home against Northwestern and Ohio State. Win these, and Badgers can stay within striking distance of Iowa and Michigan State.
Last week: 5

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5. Minnesota (15-6, 4-4). The loss of Andre Hollins didn’t seem to matter in the Gophers’ victory over Wisconsin. It did however make a difference in their loss Sunday at Nebraska. Malik Smith tied career-high with 29 points, but DeAndre Mathieu struggled with foul trouble and turnovers. Gophers have a five-day break before hosting stingy Northwestern next Saturday.
Last week: 4

6. Ohio State (16-4, 3-4). The Buckeyes gutted out a tough victory against a desperate Illini team. LaQuinton Ross got a second double-figure scorer in the win as Lenzelle Smith stepped up with 16 points. Ohio State will have a five-day break before hosting Penn State on Wednesday. After Penn State, it doesn’t get any easier as a critical stretch of away games at Iowa and Wisconsin loom ahead.
Last week: 7

7. Indiana (13-7, 3-4). Yogi Ferrell stepped up with 15 of his 17 points in the second half as Indiana beat Illinois to end a two-game slide. Noah Vonleh took only six shots and didn’t let his lack of offensive production affect his ability to get on the glass (14 rebounds). These young Hoosiers will be tested in their next game at Nebraska, where the Huskers are 9-1 this season.
Last week: 8

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8. Northwestern (10-11, 3-5). Shooting only 4-of-24 from 3 against Purdue, the Wildcats were able to make enough shots in overtime to steal the victory. The Wildcats are starting to believe, and the results show winning three of four before losing to Iowa. Their next two games, at Minnesota and at Wisconsin, will continue to test these upstart Wildcats.
Last week: 9

9. Purdue (13-7, 3-4). A chance at a road victory escaped Purdue in overtime at Northwestern. Wisconsin came into Mackey and got their mojo back. Upcoming games at Michigan and at Penn State will test Boilers and their NCAA tourney chances. AJ Hammons can be the X-factor in turning around the Boilers season if he can be assertive consistently.
Last week: 6

10. Nebraska (10-9, 2-5). After upsetting Ohio State and then dropping a heart-breaking game at Penn State to open a busy week, the Huskers cooled off surging Minnesota. Terran Petteway found his groove in dropping 35 points, a career-high in the victory. Huskers found plenty of offense without super sub Deverell Biggs. Huskers could easily be above .500 in conference play.
Last week: 11

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11. Illinois (13-8, 2-6). The losses continue to mount after dropping their sixth straight game, the latest at Indiana. Rayvonte Rice returned to his scoring ways, but his teammates continue not to score. In five losses in this streak, the Illini have failed to score more than 62 points. Brutal stretch continues as Illinois hosts Iowa and Wisconsin in its next two games.
Last week: 10

12. Penn State (10-10, 1-6). The Nittany Lions finally broke through with a home win over Nebraska. Penn State needed four players in double figures to get the win. D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier continue to provide everything on both ends of the floor. Penn State travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State as the Buckeyes try to string two wins together.
Last week: 12

– Team records are through January 26 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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