Big Ten Weekly Rankings Week 9, with full pre-conference player efficiency ratings

USA TODAY Sports

Another weekly stab at ranking the Big Ten basketball teams, with latest results and the complete pre-conference player efficiency ratings are included.

For this week's round-up, I went ahead and ran my efficiency stats for the Big Ten players through 12/29. I've included the results of this last weekend in my standings, but not in the number-crunching. The what and why can be found here, but my efficiency stats, in a nutshell, try to value each players' contributions (points, rebounds, assists, etc.) and efficiency (how many missed shots, turnovers, etc.). I calculate both per-game and per-possession rankings by taking the box scores from Big Ten teams' games and running them through my player efficiency ratings to determine the individual worth of 137 players. For the findings below, I trimmed anyone who played less than 3 games total (just Nikola Cerina & Wally Ellenson) or 8 possessions per game (like say, Jeff Howard or Chier Ajou) to eliminate outliers. So that has cut the number of players listed below down to a "tidy" 125. The full worksheet can be found here. Let me say that I am quite aware of all the variables, most notably in the varying strength of schedules. This is just to establish how the pre-conference numbers have ended up and how they compare to the in-conference numbers.

Terminology

IPSPG = individual possessions per game, or how many possessions (on worksheet)

EPtotal= the total Effective Production of the player to date (on worksheet)

EPPG= Effective Production Per Game

EPPS= Effective Production Per poSsesion

for reference:

Mean EPPG/EPPS 11.9 / .3521, Median 11.5 / .3525

With outliers included: Mean 11.3 / .3522, Median 11.2 / .3525

(So, essentially, if a particular player is at or above 12 EPPG and .3525 EPPS, they're doing pretty well. If they are below that mark, not so much, but keep in mind that outside shooters tend to get lower rankings and bench bigs tend to get higher rankings. This is why I compare and rank starters by position across the conference).

1.Michigan (15-0 / 2-0) W v.Iowa 95-67

Quick Thoughts: You can't knock the Wolverines down as long as they stay undefeated. I wasn't surprised that they tore up Iowa, as it was the first conference road game for a Hawkeye team with three freshmen starters. And hey, I've got to give some credit to Trey Burke. He really does look like the conference POY so far. I still think we at TCQ were correct to advocate for Zeller to have an unshared B1G FOY last season, based on Zeller's defense. However, Burke is an offensive force of nature. Their destruction of a short-handed NU team was almost pleasant to watch because they play so well. The Wolverines aren't forcing the tempo, they just are always looking for the first good shot, which they hit more often than not, so the only team that might get away with speeding up the tempo would be Indiana. Everyone else should take the air out of the ball when playing these guys. Also, freshman center Mitch McGary is pretty clearly already superior to Jordan Morgan, but with the offense purring this well, I'm sure Beilien won't mess with things.

Player name, EPPG / EPPS, Conference ranking of player by position

Burke, Trey 30.3 / 0.6122 1PG

McGary, Mitch 12 / 0.5132

Bielfeldt, Max 4.9 / 0.4213

Horford, Jon 5.6 / 0.3975

Robinson III , G. 19.6 / 0.3925 7PF

Albrecht, Spike 4.6 / 0.3701

Hardaway Jr, T. 19 / 0.3577 5SF

Morgan, Jordan 12.3 / 0.3548 10C

Stauskas, Nik 15.5 / 0.3244 8SG

LeVert, Caris 6.9 / .3115

Vogrich, Matt 2.7 / 0.1897

2. Indiana (14-1/2-0) W @ PSU 74-51

Quick Thoughts: Two road wins, no problem. Actually, the more impressive thing is that IU got up by 18 early and stayed there despite not rebounding particularly well, turning the ball over too much, and not hitting their free-throws very well. The rebounding and turnovers are no doubt due in part to the effort that Penn State put in. Quick thoughts on the per-possession rankings; 1) Don't worry about Cody ranking third right now behind Mbakwe & Berggren, he's producing more per-game than them, and his efficiency was lowered a bit when he was battling a nasty flu for a couple of weeks. 2) Christian Watford actually has a significantly better efficiency rating in the pre-conference than he did last season. If he's able to stay at about 5th among power forwards, IU should be pretty happy with his performance. 3) Don't worry about Elston's low performance. DJ Byrd had some pretty terrible pre-conference numbers when he was coming back from injury last season and ended up being the conference's sixth man of the year. Elston should be able to help with the Hoosier bench depth, and fans should be patient. Additionally, we should enjoy Oladipo's brilliant performance this season. He's starting to look like a legit first-team all-conference guy, and like he could actually go pro at the end of the year.

Zeller, Cody 27.4 / 0.5865 3C

Oladipo, Victor 26.2 / 0.5801 1SF

Hulls, Jordan 20.6 / 0.4261 3SG

Watford, Christian 18.2 / 0.4192 5PF

Abell, Remy 11.2 / 0.4028

Sheehey, Will 15.7 / 0.3978

Mosquera-Perea, Hanner 6.4 /.3815

Ferrell, Yogi 15.9 / 0.3492 8PG

Etherington, Austin 4 / 0.3371

Hollowell, Jeremy 5.7 / 0.2464

Creek, Maurice 4.8 / 0.2232

Elston, Derek 2.8 / .1603

3. Minnesota (10-1) W v. Northwestern 69-51

Quick Thoughts: I'm really looking forward to the Gophers' road game at Illinois. The Illini just dominated the Buckeyes on the boards, so I'm really interested in whether they can achieve another big win, or if the statistical profiles play out and Minny feasts on turnovers and offensive rebounds. One caveat about placing Mbakwe as the top-ranked center (no disrespect, he's been great) is that his 30.3 possessions/game place him71st in the conference, well below the median. I would look for his per-possession efficiency to drop a bit as his per-game ratings rise along with the competition (and playing time). The guy I'm really surprised with here is Austin Hollins, who doesn't shoot the ball all that well, but hits his free-throws while accumulating 10 blocks and 30 steals (which, wow!) while keeping above a 2:1 assist-turnover ratio. He has shot up the charts almost entirely on defensive contributions, which was the primary reason I created this sytem.

Mbakwe, Trevor 19.1 / 0.6302 1C

Williams, Rodney 23.3 / 0.4946 1PF

Hollins, Austin 21.5 / 0.4639 2SG

Elliason, Elliot 11.2 / 0.4391

Walker, Maurice 6.1 / 0.4131

Hollins, Andre 18.3 / 0.3989 3PG

Coleman, Joe 15.7 / 0.3525 6SF

Ahanmisi, Maverick 6.7 / 0.3455

Welch, Julian 8.5 / 0.3332

Ingram, Andre 5.6 / 03321

Otosenieks, Oto 4.6 / 0.2768

4. Michigan State (8-2) W v. Purdue 84-61

Quick Thoughts: No one was really surprised that MSU bounced back to trounce Purdue at home. Boiler fans have got all in a tizzy over various whistles and non-whistles concerning elbows and possible punches thrown or not thrown, but MSU was just better at the end of the day. Gary Harris dropped 22 points, going 6-for-8 on threes, which is notable in that Harris has shifted into a role of outside gunner for the Sparties. This will likely keep his efficiency ratings down a bit, but as DJ Richardson showed, it doesn't mean that conference FOY is out of the question. Also, I'd like to know why Matt Costello is getting so little run. He looks like a better rebounder and defender than Alex Gauna, who contributes little other than missed 14-footers, but maybe I'm missing something.

Payne, Adriean 17.4 / 0.5262

Costello, Matt 4 / 0.4682

Dawson, Branden 19.5 / 0.4399 3PF

Appling, Keith 22 / 0.3969 4PG

Nix, Derrick 17.2 / 0.3959 8C

Valentine, Denzel 14.9 / 0.3956 4SF

Harris, Gary 12.4 / 0.2859 10SG

Trice, Travis 8.2 / 0.2642

Gauna, Alex 2.2 / 0.1687

Kearney, Brandon 5.5 / 0.1954

Byrd, Russell 2.2 / 0.1282

5. Illinois (14-2 /1-1) W v Ohio State 74-55

Quick Thoughts: I said it elsewhere, but I'm still very impressed with the way the Illini beat the Buckeyes: with defense, rebounding, and taking it to the hoop. It helped that on a lot of the alley-oops that OSU seemed to be playing some sort of reverse pack-line defense. Maybe Matta was trying to neutralize Illinois' bread-and-butter play, the pick-and-roll run by Brandon Paul. I think that one, excepting another incredible slump, has essentially clinched a NCAA berth. This is how good Paul's been playing, over the last five or so non-conference games, his efficiency rating tanked (from .6234), and he's still the one of the best wings in the conference. Interestingly, the other best per-possession players on this team are bench wings. That's historically unusual, but we did know that Illinois was loaded with perimeter players.

Paul, Brandon 24.1 / 0.4348 2SF

Langford, Devin 3.2 / 0.3673

Bertrand, Joseph 13.4 / 0.3666

Abrams, Tracy 16.8 / 0.3568 7PG

Griffey,Tyler 13.1 / 0.3295 10PF

McLaurin, Sam 10.1 / 0.2975

Egwu, Nnanna 11.8 / 0.2919 12C

Richardson, DJ 14.9 / 0.2849 11SG

Henry, Myke 5.2 / 0.2711

6. Ohio State (11-3 / 1-1) L @ Illinois 55-74

Quick Thoughts: I had been quitely murmuring over here with concerns about Ohio State's offense, and sure enough, the Buckeyes looked terrible in Champaign. They've got to find some reliable options on offense. Craft and Scott are great guards (Scott in particular is posting first-team all-conference level ratings), but DeShaun Thomas can't be the only one capable of scoring 20 points in a game. Maybe it's time to give frosh wing Amadeo Della Valle a longer look now that he's hit 7-of-16 threes? Just kidding, I know Matta will never play more than 8 guys.

Scott, Shannon 21.6 / 0.6022

Thomas, Deshaun 23.6 / 0.4321 4PF

Craft, Aaron 20.5 / 0.3879 5PG

Smith Jr, Lenzelle 17.2 / 0.3756 4SG

Ravenel, Evan 11.3 / 0.3577 9C

Williams, Amir 9 / 0.3397

Della Valle, Amedeo 5.1 / 0.3309

Thompson, Sam 12.7 / 0.3195 10SF

Ross, LaQuinton 10.0 / 0.3096

McDonald, Trey 2.7 / 0.1974

7. Wisconsin (11-4 / 2-0) W @ Nebraska 47-41

Quick Thoughts: I actually hate putting the Badgers this high, but they are 2-0 in the conference. It's hard to imagine a couple of less inspiring wins than narrow wins over Penn State and Nebraska, but I would not be surprised to see Iowa moving up to this spot before long. That said, Ben Brust has been healing from an ankle injury, and if he bounces back as expected, you may yet see Bo Ryan continue his NCAA tourney streak. Now that Jared Berggren's start to drop some nasty dunks, maybe he'll start getting the attention that the efficiency ratings suggest he deserves.

Berggren, Jared 24.7 / 0.6029 2C

Kaminsky, Frank 9.3 / 0.5424

Brust, Ben 22.6 / 0.4663 2SG

Dekker, Sam 15.7 / 0.4399

Showalter, Zak 7 / 0.4285

Evans, Ryan 19.1 / 0.4167 6PF

Bohannon, Zach 3.3 / .3387

Bruesewitz, Mike 13.3 / 0.3348 9SF

Jackson, Traevon 10.1 / 0.2834 11PG

Marshall,George 6.8 / 0.2212

8. Iowa (11-4 / 0-2) L @ Michigan 67-95

Quick Thoughts: I mentioned above that the first conference road game is always tough for freshmen, and to play a really good team like Michigan on top of that probably didn't help. And who knows, maybe Michigan is the kind of team that Iowa in particular just doesn't match up well against. Still, if Hawkeye fans had taken any hopes of being competitive with the top tier of conference teams from hanging with the Hoosiers at home, the blowout at Michigan should've popped that balloon. In terms of efficiency, goodness gracious, Gabriel Olaseni! Sure, he's only playing 17.3 possessions/game, but he's leading the conference in per-possession efficiency, and here's how: shooting 53.8% from the floor, 100% on 14 frees, hitting the glass on both ends while blocking 18 shots and not turning the ball over (only 4 in 8 games). I used to be shocked when Greg Stiemsma lead the conference from the Wisconsin bench, but he's in the NBA now. Olaseni keeps this up over the next couple of years, and who knows? Also shocking, Anthony Clemmons outperforming Aaron Craft to this point. If Clemmons' rating was a stock, I'd be selling now. However, the shifting of Clemmons to start seems to have had positive impacts on both Mike Gesell and Zach McCabe

Olaseni, Gabe 11.5 / 0.6654

White, Aaron 21.6 / 0.4653 2PF

McCabe, Zach 11.7 / 0.4339

Woodbury, Adam 13 / 0.4332 6C

Clemmons, Anthony 12.6 / 0.4135 5PG

Basabe, Melsahn 11.6 / 0.4117

Marble, Roy Devyn 19.1 / 0.3511 7SF

May, Eric 11.1 / 0.3369

Gesell, Mike 12.6 / 0.3482 6SG

Oglesby, Josh 4.8 / 0.1704

Stokes, Darius 1.0 / .1101

Ingram, Pat 1.7 / 0.0657

9. Purdue (7-7 / 1-1) L @ Michigan State 61-84

Quick Thoughts: While young guys like AJ Hammons and Jacob Lawson should give Boilers hope for the future, there's no denying DJ Byrd and Anthony Johnson have been fairly disappointing so far this season. And quick look at the Purdue season box score would seem to suggest that Terone Johnson is the best player on the team, leading them in points and among the team leaders in rebounds and assists, but he's only ranking sixth on the team and 10th among his conference peers. Why is this? He doesn't shoot well on two's or frees, doesn't actually score that much as his 12.5ppg is the lowest team-leading mark in the conference, and rarely gets blocks or steals. I'm not picking on TJ's performance, it's fine, but he doesn't seem to be the guy who can carry this team. Perhaps Painter's recent inclusion of Lawson into the starting lineup shuffles the roles around so that the parts fit better here. The Ohio State game should be a pretty interesting measuring stick for both teams.

Lawson, Jacob 12.2 / 0.4702

Simpson, Jay 5.7 / 0.4487

Carroll, Travis 7.4 / 0.4251

Hammons, AJ 15.6 / 0.4241 7C

Davis, Raphael 6.3 / 0.3312

Johnson, Terone 17.2 / 0.3301 10SF

Marcius, Sandi 4.4 / 0.3277

Johnson, Ronnie 13.4 / 0.2895 10PG

Anthrop, Dru 4.4 / 0.2886

Hale, Donnie 6.6 / 0.2594

Johnson, Anthony 8.6 / 0.2709 12SG

Byrd, DJ 12.1 / 0.2429 12PF

10. Penn State (8-6 / 0-2) L v. Indiana 51-74

Quick Thoughts: Poor Pat Chambers. His guys board like crazy, force turnover after turnover against Indiana, and it's still not even close. At home. It's going to be a long season. Efficiency wise, I would like to see freshman reserve Donovan Jack get a little more time. He can shoot the ball a little and has a penchant for getting a stop or three in very limited time. Also, I don't know what happened to the promise that Jon Graham and Ross Travis showed at the end of their freshmen year, but it's nowhere to be found this season.

Jack, Donovan 3.3/.3621

Newbill, DJ 20.2 / 0.3568 10SG

Borovnjak, Sasha 3.4 / 0.1295 11C

Marshall, Jermaine 15.8 / 0.2925 12SF

Graham, Jon 7.6 / 0.2737

Taylor, Brandon 8.4 / 0.2449 11PF

Travis, Ross 11.5 / 0.2299 12SF

Colella, Nick 6.5 / 0.1724

11. Nebraska (9-6 / 0-2) L v. Wisconsin 41-47

Quick Thoughts: Despite turning in a terrible offensive performance, the Huskers can be relatively cheered by this outcome. Even though they missed the opportunity to steal one from the Badgers, there are several teams as mediocre or worse than UW this season in the conference, so in all likelihood Nebraska will be able to avoid going defeated, as long as Andre Almedia gets healthy-ish. Efficiency-wise, frosh point Benny Parker is not only the worst at his position, but has lowest rating among all starters in the entire conference. Unfortunately, there's not much of anyone else to turn to as reserve guards Mike Peltz and Trevor Menke are posting walk-on ratings, which is fitting as they are indeed walk-ons. On a positive note, Brandon Ubel hasn't done terribly, and his ratings took a jump when he shifted to center last season, so maybe they will again?

Almedia, Andre 12.9 / 0.4459 5C

Ubel, Brandon 19.0 / 0.3859 8PF

Gallegos, Ray 19.7 / 0.3482 5SG

Talley, Dylan 15.5 / 0.2771 11SF

Rivers, David 8.7 / 0.2729

Shields, Shavon 7.9 / .2321

Parker, Benny 11.5 / 0.2274 12PG

Peltz, Mike 4.1 / 0.1644

Menke, Trevor 1.3 / 0.1027

12. Northwestern (9-6 / 0-2) L @ Minnesota 51-69

Quick Thoughts: The Minnesota game was notable for a couple of reasons, although the end result, an 18-point road loss, was not. What was notable was the return of Reggie Hearn and Nikola Cerina, giving Carmody 9 healthy, non-trillionaire players (although Cerina essentially recorded a trillion at Minny). The Wildcats are still a bit short-handed, but they've got enough of a team to be dangerous from here on out. I'm looking for a surprise win from them in the not-too-distant future. And looking over the efficiency rankings, this doesn't look like the resume of a cellar-dwellar. Until you throw out Hearn and Crawford's numbers, of course. With Hearn back, I actually think there's a decent core with Olah, Swopshire, and Sobolewski. They really need one guy to step up in conference play and produce. It probably won't be Mike Turner, who brought a very literal interpretation of "five fouls off the bench" to his play in the Minnesota game. He also missed two shots and had a turnover, suggesting that we shouldn't expect more good things based on his decent efficiency rating . No, counter to these stats I'm looking at Kale Abrahamson as the guy who might make a difference in conference play, if Carmody ever gets tired of yelling at him and lets the kid play.

Olah, Alex 15.8 / 0.4605 4C

Hearn, Reggie 20.3 / 0.4105 3SF

Turner, Mike 8.8 / 0.3632

Swopshire, Jared 17.3 / 0.3528 9PF

Sobolewski, David 18.8 / 0.3489 9PG

Marcotullio, Alex 7.9 / 0.3459

Crawford, Drew 16.7 / 0.3361 7SG

Abrahamson, Kale 4.4 / 0.2462

Demps, Tre 3.9 / 0.2067

Lumpkin, Sanjay 2.0 / .1944

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