Big Ten Basketball: Midseason Report Card for Every Team

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2013

Big Ten Basketball: Midseason Report Card for Every Team

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    The 2012-13 Big Ten basketball season has already been loaded with plenty of full-tilt action, with some of the best teams going head-to-head on a weekly basis...and we are just at the beginning of February.

    Going into Week 14, no less than five conference teams (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Minnesota) are ranked in the AP Top 25. It is possible that Wisconsin may jump up into this week's poll.

    Let's take a quick look at a Big Ten midseason report card for every team.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Overall Record: 8-13

    Big Ten Record: 0-9

    Current RPI: 180

    Quality Wins: Bucknell

    Bad Losses: Boston College

    It's another tough season on the hardwood for the Nittany Lions. When senior guard Tim Frazier went down with a season-ending injury (ruptured Achilles tendon) four games into the year, any hopes of progress went down the tubes.

    Sure, Penn State was 8-4 after their pre-conference games. But that was more the product of a weak early season schedule than anything else. It is possible that the Nittany Lions won't win a single Big Ten game this year.

    Midseason Grade: D-

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Overall Record: 11-12

    Big Ten Record: 2-8

    Current RPI: 86

    Quality Wins: Valparaiso

    Bad Losses: Kent State

    Nebraska's entry into Big Ten basketball has been less than memorable. Last year, the Cornhuskers went 4-14 in league play. And there is an awfully good chance that they will not do any better this season.

    Nebraska is 1-12 against AP Top 25 teams over the last two seasons. You're not going to do to well in this conference if you can't play with the "Big Boys."

    Midseason Grade: D

Purdue Boilermakers

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    Overall Record: 11-11

    Big Ten Record: 4-5

    Current RPI: 128

    Quality Wins: Illinois

    Bad Losses: Oregon State, Eastern Michigan

    The first year of the "post-Robbie Hummel era" has not been great. The Boilermakers have not won more than three games in a row all season.

    A pre-conference loss to Eastern Michigan was embarrassing. But, a recent 37-point home blowout to Indiana was humiliating.

    Midseason Grade: C-

Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Overall Record: 14-8

    Big Ten Record: 3-6

    Current RPI: 92

    Quality Wins: Iowa State, Wisconsin, Northwestern

    Bad Losses: Virginia Tech

    Based on their pre-conference record (11-2), the Hawkeyes looked like they were off to a big year. But, early season victories over Texas-Pan American and Howard don't do much to prepare a team for the rigors of the Big Ten gauntlet.

    Iowa is a year away from making a serious run at the upper half of the conference standings. With virtually everyone returning from this year's team, check back a year from now.

    Midseason Grade: C

Northwestern Wildcats

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    Overall Record: 13-10

    Big Ten Record: 4-6

    Current RPI: 85

    Quality Wins: Minnesota, Illinois, Baylor

    Bad Losses: Illinois-Chicago

    This has been a typical Northwestern hoops season: nice wins against some good teams (see quality wins list above) mixed in with some puzzling blowout losses. The Wildcats have lost four games by at least 20 points.

    If the NCAA grants Drew Crawford a fifth year of eligibility because of his season-ending shoulder surgery, and they also get JerShon Cobbs back from his year-long suspension, look for Northwestern to take steps forward next year.

    Midseason Grade: C+

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Overall Record: 15-8

    Big Ten Record: 2-7

    Current RPI: 37

    Quality Wins: Gonzaga, Butler, Ohio State

    Bad Losses: Purdue

    When Illinois beat Ohio State at home on Jan. 5, and they were sporting a 14-2 record, it looked like the Fighting Illini were on their way. Knocking off both Gonzaga and Butler bought Illinois some hoops cred.

    But now, after dropping five of their last six games, this season looks a lot like so many others for the U of I.

    Midseason Grade: B-

Wisconsin Badgers

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    Overall Record: 15-7

    Big Ten Record: 6-3

    Current RPI: 50

    Quality Wins: Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, California

    Bad Losses: None

    This year's Wisconsin squad is a lot like most Bo Ryan teams: tough-as-nails D and disciplined ball-control O. That's a formula that has worked (and is working) quite well for the Badgers.

    Their win against Indiana was Wisconsin's 11th straight in the series. With a nice stretch run, the Badgers still could be dancing this year.

    Midseason Grade: B

Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Overall Record: 17-5

    Big Ten Record: 5-4

    Current RPI: 10

    Quality Wins: Michigan State, Illinois, Memphis

    Bad Losses: Northwestern

    Minnesota exploded out of the gate this season 15-1, with their only loss coming against Duke in the Bahamas. Then, the Gophers stumbled through four consecutive Big Ten losses, and their early season elite status was in total jeopardy. 

    Tubby Smith has the talent to play with anyone in the conference. Getting the Gophers to consistently execute is another thing though.

    Midseason Grade: B

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Overall Record: 17-4

    Big Ten Record: 7-2

    Current RPI: 17

    Quality Wins: Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington

    Bad Losses: None

    Ohio State doesn't get nearly the love that it deserves. None of their four losses (Duke, Kansas, Illinois or Michigan State) look bad at all.

    The Buckeyes face both Michigan (away) and Indiana (home) this week. Talk about a tough seven days.

    Midseason Grade: B+

Michigan State Spartans

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    Overall Record: 18-4

    Big Ten Record: 7-2

    Current RPI: 12

    Quality Wins: Kansas, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin

    Bad Losses: None

    This is a classic Tom Izzo team: gritty, tenacious and tough. They may not win a lot of style points along the way, but they are stacking up a lot of W's.

    The Spartans have won seven of their last eight games, only losing to Indiana on the road in the new year.

    Midseason Grade: A-

Michigan Wolverines

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    Overall Record: 20-2

    Big Ten Record: 7-2

    Current RPI: 6

    Quality Wins: Minnesota, NC State, Kansas State, Illinois, Pitt

    Bad Losses: None

    Michigan is definitely one of the top teams in the country. Their 20-2 record is not smoke and mirrors. They are that good.

    Trey Burke (pictured) should be at the top of everyone's national player of the year list. He's the real deal. ESPN Stats & Info indicates that Burke is "the only Big Ten player to score at least 15 points in every conference game this season."

    Midseason Grade: A

Indiana Hoosiers

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    Overall Record: 20-2

    Big Ten Record: 8-1

    Current RPI: 9

    Quality Wins: Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Georgetown, North Carolina

    Bad Losses: None

    Indiana started off the season ranked No. 1 and, after beating Michigan over the weekend, will be back in the top spot when the polls come out this week.

    The combination of a much improved defense (holding opponents to 37.5 percent shooting) with their high-octane offense makes the Hoosiers a tough team to beat.

    Midseason Grade: A