Big Ten Basketball: Week 10 Power Rankings
Two weeks into Big Ten Conference play and there have been many changes in my power rankings.
Teams are being exploited and that will show in the wins and losses column for each squad.
The top half of the Big Ten will see movement in the rankings through the next two months, but the bottom half wont see much change.
This year, there could be a possible seven teams in the NCAA Tournament field, which proves why the Big Ten is one of the best conferences in the nation.
Check out this week's power rankings.
12. Penn State
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Record (Big Ten): 8-8 (0-4)
Reasons for Ranking: The Nittany Lions have just been rocked in Big Ten play. The loss of Tim Frazier has really hurt this team through their first two weeks in the conference schedule. It was positive to see that PSU only lost by nine points on the road to Wisconsin, but then they showed their weaknesses in their next three games—losses to Indiana by a score of 74-51, Northwestern 70-54 and Purdue 60-42. They were dominated in all three games because of a combined shooting percentage of 30 percent from the field. Saturday's matchup against Nebraska at home will be a good test for the Nittany Lions.
Upcoming Opponents: Michigan State (14-3) on Jan. 16 and Nebraska (9-8) on Jan 19.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Record (Big Ten): 9-8 (0-4)
Reasons for Ranking: The main reason for Nebraska's higher ranking than Penn State was due to the tenacity they displayed in two of their four Big Ten games. Although they lost all four games, Wisconsin and Michigan State both pulled out close victories against the Cornhuskers. What was most impressive is that Nebraska only lost to MSU by 10 points in East Lansing, Mich., because of causing 11 Spartan turnovers in the game. However both road losses to Ohio State and Michigan showed why the Cornhuskers are at the bottom of the Big Ten.
Upcoming Opponents: Purdue (8-8) on Jan. 16 and Penn State (8-8) on Jan 19.
USA TODAY Sports
Record (Big Ten): 10-7 (1-3)
Reasons for Ranking: Starting out Big Ten conference play at home with Michigan and on the road at Minnesota isn't easy for any team, especially Northwestern. Both games had the Wildcats losing by 18 points or more. NU finally earned their first victory on the road to Penn State by 16 points. Guard David Sobolewski and forward Jared Swopshire recorded 18 and 17 points, respectively, in the win. But in the most recent game against Iowa, the Wildcats lost by 20 points at home. Their main issue was that they shot 29 percent from the field to the Hawkeyes 46 percent.
Upcoming Opponents: Illinois (14-4) on Jan. 17 and Indiana (15-1) on Jan 20.
USA TODAY Sports
Record (Big Ten): 8-8 (2-2)
Reasons for Ranking: Wins against Illinois and Penn State have shown that the Boilermakers have gotten better over the course of the season. Guard Terone Johnson and center AJ Hammons have done a good job of providing scoring in their wins. Their young roster needs to get more comfortable with the physicality that comes in Big Ten conference play. In the losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, PU was out-rebounded. We shall see if the Boilermakers can get the victories in two very winnable games this week.
Upcoming Opponents: Nebraska (9-8) on Jan. 16 and West Virginia (8-7) on Jan 19.
Matthew Holst/Getty Images
Record (Big Ten): 12-5 (1-3)
Reasons for Ranking: Iowa's first three Big Ten games were probably the toughest of any team in the conference. They lost to Indiana 69-65, Michigan 95-67 and Michigan State 62-59. The losses to IU and MSU were very close games that could've been a Hawkeye win, but they weren't able to close it out. Close losses like that show promise, but if this continues, then their record will suffer. They will have a good test this week with Wisconsin at home, which should be in their favor, but the Badgers have played well so far in the season.
Upcoming Opponents: Wisconsin (12-4) on Jan 19.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Record (Big Ten): 14-4 (1-3)
Reasons for Ranking: Illinois played really well in nonconference play, but they haven't done so well against Big Ten opponents through their first four games. The Fighting Illini lost to Purdue on the road, but then came back to Champaign, Ill., and beat the Buckeyes by 19 points. The next two games really showed that Illinois doesn't play well against really good defenses. UI shot 12 and 14 percent from three-point range against Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. These two games show that the Fighting Illini don't play well, when they aren't having a good game from the three-point line.
Upcoming Opponents: Northwestern (10-7) on Jan. 17.
USA TODAY Sports
Record (Big Ten): 12-4 (3-0)
Reasons for Ranking: The Badgers have won all of their Big Ten games thus far, but they haven't played any competition from the top half of the conference. Their wins have come against Penn State and Illinois at home and Nebraska on the road. UW Head Coach Bo Ryan's defense has worked brilliantly against these opponents. Wisconsin held these three teams to 51 points or less in those wins. Going on the road to face Indiana and Iowa won't be easy games to pull off. But, both games will really show a lot about the fight of the Badgers on the road.
Upcoming Opponents: Indiana (15-1) on Jan. 15 and Iowa (12-5) on Jan 19.
5. Michigan State
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Record (Big Ten): 14-3 (3-1)
Reasons for Ranking: Michigan State has shown that they have continuously gotten better throughout this season. The Spartans lost by 13 points on the road to Minnesota and then beat Purdue, Iowa and Nebraska over their next three games. The reason why they aren't ranked higher is because two of those three wins weren't convincing victories. They should've beat Iowa and Nebraska by more points, especially when you play the Cornhuskers at home and only win by 10 points. However, if the Spartans defeat Ohio State at home this week, then they might bump up a spot.
Upcoming Opponents: Penn State (8-8) on Jan 16 and Ohio State (13-3) on Jan 19.
4. Ohio State
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Record (Big Ten): 13-3 (3-1)
Reasons for Ranking: The Buckeyes did what they were supposed to do against Nebraska, but they weren't able to keep it close against Illinois. Ohio State shot 33 percent from the field and 21 percent from three-point range in the loss to Illinois. However, they rebounded from the 19-point Illinois loss with two victories against Purdue and handed Michigan it's first loss of the season. Although OSU looked shaky in the final minutes against UM, they still pulled it off and held the Wolverines to 53 points. It's not going to be easy to beat Michigan State at the Breslin Center on Thursday, but perhaps they can do it.
Upcoming Opponents: Michigan State (14-3) on Jan 19.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
Record (Big Ten): 15-2 (3-1)
Reasons for Ranking: Minnesota is a very good team because they are aggressive on the offensive boards and play very good defense. They showed how good they can be when they defeated Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois. The Golden Gophers impressed a lot of people with the tenacity and fight they had against Indiana. IU had an unreal first half, when it shot almost 66 percent from the field and recorded 52 points. Then UM came back with their defense and posted 59 points in the second half to only lose by seven points at Assembly Hall. This Thursday, the Golden Gophers have a big game against Michigan at home.
Upcoming Opponents: Michigan (16-1) on Jan. 17.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Record (Big Ten): 16-1 (3-1)
Reasons for Ranking: Michigan dominated their first three Big Ten games against Northwestern, Iowa and Nebraska. The Wolverines won by an average of 24 points and looked like one of the top teams in the nation. However, Michigan had trouble against the Buckeyes in their last game. They weren't hitting shots in the first half and didn't do a good job of defending forward Deshaun Thomas. The second half was a different story. The Wolverines defense tightened up and guard Trey Burke stepped up and almost helped them pull it out. Beating Minnesota on the road won't be easy, but hopefully they can respond to how they played against OSU.
Upcoming Opponents: Minnesota (15-2) on Jan. 17.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Record (Big Ten): 15-1 (3-0)
Reasons for Ranking: The Hoosiers have won their first three Big Ten games because of their depth. IU looked very good against Penn State but let Iowa and Minnesota back into the game down the stretch. Keeping composure in the final minutes is something that Indiana needs to improve on, if they want to do well in Big Ten play. The Hoosiers need to continue to play physical and consistent against the teams in the top half of the Big Ten. IU should be able to win both games this week but consistency is key for them.
Upcoming Opponents: Wisconsin (12-4) on Jan. 15 and Northwestern (10-7) on Jan 20.