B1G Basketball Power Rankings: Feb. 25

By Michael Citro on February 25, 2013 at 12:00p
21 Comments
Too much of this for Sparty. #Swoon

There are just two weeks left in the B1G’s regular season and, while things aren’t exactly settled completely, we’re starting to see our 'best picture' of the likely final standings and tournament seedings. (Dig our topical Academy Awards reference!)

The Indiana Hoosiers got their Bachman-Turner Overdrive on, takin' care of business in East Lansing. With the win, Indiana closed in on both a B1G title and a No. 1 NCAA seed in March.

The Spartans went from contender to yet another longshot chasing Indiana with their loss Sunday in Columbus. It’s not over, but the Hoosiers appear to be a safe bet to capture the 2012-13 B1G title now, although the Buckeyes and Wolverines each get a last shot at Indiana.

Minnesota and Northwestern continue to trend downward, while most everyone else held their position. Ohio State is one of those teams holding its spot, with only its additional loss in B1G play, and the beatdown in Madison, keeping the Buckeyes from rising above Wisconsin this week.

Here are our power rankings for this week:

1. INDIANA (24-3, 12-2)

We’ve reached the point of the season when we can start talking about teams that control their own destiny. No. 1 Indiana controls said destiny in the B1G after nipping the Spartans in East Lansing Tuesday, 72-68.

The Hoosiers outscored Michigan State 9-2 in the final 2:37 of the game to snatch a crucial road victory. Victor Oladipo scored six of those nine points on a go-ahead put-back, a breakaway dunk off an inbound play, and two clutch free throws to seal it.

Oladipo was outstanding, scoring 19 points, nine boards, five steals and a block. Cody Zeller added 17 points and five rebounds. Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford chipped in 12 points each for the visitors. Indiana won this game with defense down the stretch, despite almost derping away a late three-point lead.

Will Sheehey fouled Gary Harris in the act of shooting a triple. Harris, who entered the game as a 76% free throw shooter, missed the first of three with four seconds to play. He made the second and intentionally missed the third, but Oladipo rebounded and sealed the game with two freebies.

The Hoosiers visit the Golden Gophers at Williams Arena tomorrow night and return home to face Iowa on Saturday.

2. MICHIGAN STATE (22-6, 11-4)

The Spartans will be kicking themselves for the loss Tuesday to Indiana. Harris missed a layup and three of five free throws (one intentionally) in the final minute of the game, and Michigan State as a team scored just two points in the final 2:37.

Harris led the Spartans with 19 points and Adreian Payne added 17 with seven boards. Keith Appling was kept under wraps by Indiana’s defense. The junior point guard struggled, scoring six points on 1/8 shooting (0/4 outside the arc) and 4/7 from the line. As a team, Sparty shot just 27% (4/15) from deep.

Michigan State dropped back-to-back games for the first time all season when the Spartans fell, 68-60, to Ohio State in Columbus on Sunday. Although Sparty shot pretty well from the field (46%) and outrebounded the Buckeyes (31-25), it committed too many turnovers (14) and couldn’t handle Aaron Craft.

Appling had his second straight tough game, hitting only 1/6 and finishing with as many turnovers as points (3). Harris led the Spartans with 14 points and five assists. Payne posted a double-double on 12 points and 15 boards. Derrick Nix added 12 more points and six rebounds.

Michigan State is off until Saturday’s trip to Ann Arbor for Round 2 in the battle for Mitten State supremacy. The earlier beatdown of Michigan is the only reason the Spartans are still ranked ahead of the Wolverines this week.

3. MICHIGAN (23-4, 10-4)

The No. 7 Wolverines played only once this week but made the most of it. Michigan dismantled the suddenly hot Fighting Illini in the second half Sunday, winning 71-58. TTUN outscored Illinois, 43-27, after halftime.

Trey Burke was stellar, scoring 26 points on 8/11 shooting, with eight assists, three boards and a steal. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 13 points and seven rebounds, with Glenn Robinson III chipping in 10 points. The Wolverines held slight advantages in rebounds and turnovers, but their 51% shooting helped the cause.

Michigan hosts Penn State on Wednesday before the rematch with Sparty on Sunday.

4. WISCONSIN (19-8, 10-4)

Jared Berggren and Ben Brust both scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead No. 19 Wisconsin to a 69-41 beatdown of Northwestern Wednesday. The Badgers held the Wildcats to just 12 first-half points and 29% shooting for the game.

Wisconsin crushed the Cats on the boards, 43-19, and outscored Northwestern, 18-3, at the stripe and 27-9 from the bench.

The Badgers have home games this week against Nebraska (tomorrow) and Purdue (Sunday).

5. OHIO STATE (20-7, 10-5)

The No. 18 Buckeyes rode 19 points from Deshaun Tomas and a 16-0 run to crush Minnesota Wednesday, 71-45. Shannon Scott added 11 points, five assists, three steals and three blocks, with LaQuinton Ross tossing in 10 points.

While a 26-point win is nice, Wednesday night may have been more of a product of Minnesota’s ineptitude during its current swoon. The Gophers turned the ball over an unbelievable 21 times and shot only 29% overall and 13% from the arc.

Ohio State’s rebounding and interior play left a bit to be desired and the Buckeyes still did quite a few dumb things and had some prolonged scoring droughts. But they did win big, due mostly to a return to form defensively. Aaron Craft joined Scott with three steals and forced some shot clock violations.

Craft’s career-high 21 points, six assists, three boards and a steal led the Buckeyes’ upset of No. 4 Michigan State Sunday, giving Thad Matta yet another 20-win season. He and Evan Ravenel (10 points) provided unexpected offense to offset Thomas’s 14 points on just 4/16 shooting (2/7 from the arc).

It was great to see Craft finishing at the rim for a change, and if he can do that with consistency, Ohio State can be very effective in the postseason. As Kyle told you, MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo praised Craft, saying, “In the second half, he tore us apart. He beat us every way you can beat us.”

Ohio State played outstanding defense in the second half and outscored Sparty, 43-29, after the break.

The Buckeyes travel to Evanston Thursday to face Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena Gymnasium.

OWWW, MY EYES!The Illini saw too much of Trey Burke and those awful socks.

6. ILLINOIS (20-9, 7-8)

The Illini struggled, but still won their fifth straight game Thursday with a 64-59 home victory over Penn State. D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and Brandon Paul added 16 in a game that was anything but beautiful.

The Illinois bench outscored Penn State’s, 11-0, in the game. The Fighting Illini enjoyed a 23-9 scoring edge from the stripe, despite shooting only 64% from the line. Penn State hit only 56% of its free throws. The Illini were hurt by not rebounding — the Nitts grabbed 11 more total rebounds and seven more on the offensive end — but helped by 31 Penn State fouls.

Richardson, Paul and Tracy Abrams each scored 10 against Michigan, but it wasn’t enough. The Illini led by three at the half, but couldn’t maintain their edge. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak, but dropping a road game against a top-10 team isn’t a sign that Illinois is reverting to the earlier form during a streak of six losses in seven outings.

The Illini are off until Saturday, when Nebraska pays a visit to Assembly Hall.

7. IOWA (17-10, 6-8)

In a game originally scheduled for Thursday but postponed to Saturday due to a winter storm, the Hawkeyes got iced, 64-60, in Lincoln. Iowa blew a 16-point halftime lead and scored only 19 second-half points, falling behind on Dylan Talley’s three-pointer with nine seconds to play.

Roy Devyn Marble scored 18 points for the visitors and Aaron White kicked in 15 points with 13 rebounds. Eric May added 10 off the bench. Iowa outrebounded Nebraska, 38-27, but shot only 37%.

The loss is a tough blow for Iowa, which had won three straight games and was trying to solidify its spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite losing to one of the conference's weaker squads, the Hawkeyes have trended much more upwardly recently than Minnesota.

Iowa hosts Purdue on Wednesday and visits Indiana on Saturday.

8. MINNESOTA (18-9, 6-8)

Andre Hollins scored 11 points with eight rebounds in the loss at Ohio State. Oto Osenieks chipped in 10 points and five boards. The rest of the Gophers did very little.

Hollins outscored all four of his fellow starters, combined. The other four posted nine points, with Joe Coleman and Rodney Williams failing to score. Both were in foul trouble early and didn’t play much.

Tubby Smith’s seat is getting warmer as Minnesota’s struggles continue. The Golden Gophers have lost eight of their last 11 games after a 16-1 start.

To make matters worse, the Hoosiers visit Minnesota tomorrow night. The Gophers will entertain Penn State on Saturday.

9. PURDUE (13-14, 6-8)

The Boilermakers bombed Northwestern Sunday in West Lafayette, winning 74-43. Terone Johnson’s 22 points and six boards led the way, as the undermanned Wildcats were never in the game.

D.J. Byrd scored 13 points, dished out five assists and grabbed four rebounds. Ronnie Johnson and Rapheal Davis added 10 points each.

Purdue shot 53% on the night, including 47% outside the arc. Meanwhile, Northwestern hit just 29%.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Boilers, who will travel twice this week — to Iowa on Wednesday and Wisconsin on Sunday.

10. NEBRASKA (13-14, 4-10)

Talley’s triple pulled Nebrasketball’s feet out of the fire against Iowa, enabling the Huskers to get their third win in the last five games. Tim Miles has his team playing better of late. Talley led the way with 18 and Shavon Shields added 17 points and seven boards.

Importantly, four starters scored in double figures, as the Nebraska bench was outscored, 19-0, by Iowa’s reserves. Brandon Ubel (12) and Ray Gallegos (11) also reached double digits.

Nebraska visits Wisconsin at the Kohl Center tomorrow and travels to Illinois Saturday.

11. NORTHWESTERN (13-15, 4-11)

Reggie Hearn scored 13 in the home loss to Wisconsin, but it took 14 shots to get there. The rest of his team scored only 28 total points.

Remember Kale Abrahamson’s three-pointers at Ohio State? On Wednesday he went 0/5 (0/4 from the arc) and failed to score. Abrahamson will be happy to see the Buckeyes return to the schedule this week.

The curb stomping in West Lafayette Sunday evening was the fifth straight loss for Bill Carmody’s Wildcats. Tre Demps scored nine points on 4/10 shooting and no Cat reached double figures.

If Carmody’s seat isn’t white hot right now, despite Northwestern’s rash of injuries, it should be.

The visit from the Buckeyes Thursday is the only game on the Wildcats’ schedule this week.

12. PENN STATE (8-18, 0-14)

Jermaine Marshall scored 20 points and Sasa Borovnjak added 17 in Penn State’s loss at Champaign Thursday. Two Lions fouled out and four others finished with four among the team’s 31 fouls.

The Nitts also turned the ball over 15 times. Penn State finished the first half with just 20 points.

Despite still being winless in the B1G this season, Penn State has been keeping games much closer of late, and has remaining contests against Northwestern and struggling Minnesota. Unfortunately, both are on the road.

The Nittany Lions host Michigan on Wednesday before visiting the Gophers at Williams Arena on Saturday.

NEW FRIENDS

Maryland (19-8, 7-7)

Maryland’s topsy-turvy ACC season continues. After winning three of four and knocking off Duke to climb into the “others receiving votes” category, the Terrapins fell, 69-58, at Boston College on Tuesday. The Terps missed 22 of 26 shots during one stretch. But they bounced back Saturday with a 72-59 home win over Clemson, improving to .500 in the ACC.

Right now, the Terrapins would be ranked on par with Illinois or Minnesota.

Rutgers (13-13, 4-11)

The Scarlet Knights kicked off the week by blowing a 12-point lead at Villanova Monday night and losing to the Wildcats, 71-63. It was the eighth loss in nine outings for reeling Rutgers. On Saturday the Knights made it nine losses in 10 with a 76-72 home loss to Providence.

Rutgers would be ahead of Penn State in our rankings this week, but perhaps no higher than 11th.

21 Comments

Comments

Conroy's picture

I don't think you can really call OSU's win yesterday an upset; we were favored by 3.5 points.  The Big Ten season has proven it's almost impossible to win on the road against the top teams in the conference, and the order of the top five teams (Excluding Indiana who is pretty clearly number one IMO) is incredibly fluid.

Michael Citro's picture

Just to get on the record now, I will always call the No. 18 team beating the No. 4 team an upset.

d5k's picture

The #18 and #4 are also probably inaccurate.  In fact, on kenpom.com we are now #11 with MSU #12 after the win.  With the remaining schedules it is highly possible for us to end up tied with MSU in conference record.  The AP is still predominantly based on # of losses adjusting a bit for quality of conference and SOS but not getting into any of the messy details like Adjusted offensive efficiency or Pythagorean expectation.
I would basically say it is Indiana > Michigan > MSU ~Wisc ~ OSU right now.

Michael Citro's picture

I may be in the minority, but I think Sparty is a better overall team than Michigan. While I don't expect Michigan State to give the Wolverines the same beatdown they did in the first meeting, I would not be surprised if the Spartans swept big brother this year.

It wasn't David taking down Goliath, but I still think beating Michigan State the way Ohio State has been trending in recent weeks is a slight upset, even at home.

Being behind in the loss column with a trip to Bloomington still to come will make it difficult for Ohio State to jump over the TTUN-MSU loser, but we'll see how it plays out. The rankings today may not be the rankings in two weeks. Right, Northwestern?

RedStorm45's picture

Didn't Sparty just beat the heck out of Michigan?

tennbuckeye19's picture

I would tend to agree. There are levels of upset-ness. Was yesterday's game a huge upset? No. It wasn't unranked OSU beating undefeated Illinois with Matt Sylvester's game winning shot back in 2005, but still, it was an upset.

RedStorm45's picture

MSU was coming off a loss, not really the #4 team in the country.  Not an upset, we were favored and beat the spread.

OSUbucknut's picture

This team responded this week really well.  They need to finish the season strong and continue to get better.  I would really like Smith Jr. to stop shooting the 3.  I know he plays great defense but I would rather have Thomas put up a shot with 2 defenders on him.  Amir Williams played a little tougher this week and we need that to win big games.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

OK, but just so you know, Smith is a better shooter than Thomas according to percentage, both total fg and 3 pt fg.

d5k's picture

Smith gets almost all his shots when he is basically open whereas the offense runs through Deshaun (and the defense obviously keys on him).  Smith is a decent shooter but there's a lot more to it than shooting %.  That said, if we have to have someone be the open shooter in the corner I would rather it be him than pretty much anyone but ADV and maybe Q.  Thomas wouldn't be open in such a scenario.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Sure there is and I have two things in response to this: 1.) someone who shoots (and plays more) in a game more frequently is more likely to be in a rhythm.  Hence DT is more likely to have a better shooting percentage because he takes 1/3 of the teams shots. 2.) The OP said that he'd rather have DT taking shots with 2 guys on him than Smith shooting, negating the defense keys on DT statement.
I think Smith gets dogged on here too much and many people just want to hate on or blame someone.  I don't think the team is perfect and I don't think Smith is perfect, but sometimes you can't really blame anyone or anything for not being perfect.  Smith generally plays good defense, he doesn't really turn the ball over that much, and he's one of the few players on the team that can rebound.  
That being said, it's not just Smith that gets the blame, seems like everyone has their scapegoat on this team, it's everyone but DT.  I mostly defend Smith and the other players on the team and have most of the year because when you look at the stats, DT doesn't look that much different than everyone else.  Everyone says that we have no shooters, but DT is only 4% better (total FGs) than Craft, who is the worst of the starters.  I'm not trying to call out DT, but when everyone attacks every other player on the team, I think they need some perspective on how good DT really is on paper (granted he is the target of opponents' defenses) and how little defensive effort he actually puts out.  Again, I'm not trying to call out DT, just saying that he's being given a free pass and probably shouldn't be because he, like our team and every player, is not perfect.
 
 

Buckeye06's picture

Yea this is a crazy poll; You have Wisky ahead of OSU cause they beat the living crap out of them last weekend, but lost to MSU at home and only scored 47 in that game.
 
Is Wisky better than OSU in 10 games?  Could they legit go 5-5? probably; I may have them tied at 4 as of right now

Squirrel Master's picture

I think the rankings are based more on record than quality. Right now Wisky is 10-4 in the B1G and OSU is 10-5.
but quality wise, OSU has some good wins including a split with Wisky.
I think OSU might still have 1 more lose on their schedule at Indy. So in order to get the first round bye in the B1G tourney, need one of MSU, UM and Wisky to get at least 2 loses to get a chance. Especially since OSU split the series with all 3 of them.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

d5k's picture

MSU has @Mich, Wisc left.
Wisc only has @MSU other than bottom half teams.
Mich has MSU, @Indiana
OSU has @Indiana
Either MSU or Michigan could easily lose 2 but not likely both obviously.  But regardless I am fine with 12 wins and a 5 seed in the conference tourney if that's how it ends up.

Jack Fu's picture

Michigan already played at Indiana. They still get MSU and Indiana in Ann Arbor.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I'm hoping OSU can still play themselves into a first round bye in the B1G tourney. They need to finish 4th in the conference, which is within reach, and could get some help from the teams in front of them in the standings depending on their W's & L's in their remaining games. Here's a look at their remaining games:
IU - @Minny, Iowa, OSU, @UM
MSU - @UM, Wisky, NW
UM - @PSU, MSU, @Purdue, IU
Wisky - Nebby, Purdue, @MSU, @PSU
OSU - @NW, @IU, Ill

OldColumbusTown's picture

I realize that most of the time you want to get that bye, but with this team (and with the fact as a #5 seed they'd be playing Penn State) they may be just as well off playing on Thursday and trying to get themselves into a rhythm.
Based on the fact I expect them to beat Northwestern and Illinois, and hoping that they play/compete well with IU regardless of the outcome in Bloomington, they could be on a role going into the B1G tourney.  An easy win against Penn State, hopefully allowing a lot of guys to play and no one needing to go 32 minutes or more in the game, may do them a world of good.

Timotheos's picture

If we beat IU, we can stake a claim to being better than Wiscy. As of now, we only have two really good wins this year.

d5k's picture

That's 2 more than a lot of teams right now.  But I would also call Wisconsin a very good win as they are a top 15 team imo.  @Indiana would be a huge win if we can somehow pull it off.  Not hugely disappointed if we don't since I think Indiana is the #1 overall seed.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Maybe I value head-to-head a bit too much, but as far as I'm concerned, OSU is 1-1 vs MSU, 1-1 vs Wisc, and 1-1 vs TSUN.  Watching those games, OSU could be the 2nd best team in this conference right now.  We just don't know it yet - though I get the sense that this team is on their way to playing their best basketball of the season.  
IU is undoubtedly #1 in this conference...they won in East Lansing, they won in Columbus, and they'll probably win in Ann Arbor.  If the good guys could somehow pull off a win in Bloomington, though...that #1 becomes very doubtable.

Class of 2010.

Timotheos's picture

I don't know, we have looked ugly doing it:) You're right they are playing their best basketball, though.