USA TODAY Sports
Another weekly stab at ranking the Big Ten basketball teams, with the latest results and complete mid-conference player efficiency ratings included.
For this week's round-up, I went ahead and ran my efficiency stats for the Big Ten players through 2/4. I've included the results of this last week 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 127 players. For the findings below, I trimmed anyone who played less than 8 possessions per game (like say, Sandi Marcius or Matt Vogrich) to eliminate outliers. So that has cut the number of players listed below down to a "tidy" 102. The full worksheet can be found here.
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
Mean EPPG/EPPS 11.5 / .3041, Median 10.9 / .3026
With outliers included: Mean 9.5 / .2853, Median 11.2 / .2837
(So, essentially, if a particular player is at or above 11 EPPG and .3000 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. Indiana (21-3 / 9-2) L @ Illinois 72-74, W @ Ohio State 81-68
No, I’m not bumping the Hoosiers from the top, even with that Illinois loss. I should, I really really should put MSU on top. That win in Columbus, though... It was a statement game.
Oladipo, Victor 26.7 / 0.5285 1SF
Zeller, Cody 27.2 / 0.5261 3C
Hollowell, Jeremy 5.3 / 0.4079
Watford, Christian 15.5 / 0.3225 9PF
Ferrell, Yogi 13.9 / 0.2901 10PG
Hulls, Jordan 12.6 / 0.2563 7SG
Sheehey, Will 8.7 / 0.2517
Mosquera-Perea, H. 1.7 / 0.1697
Abell, Remy 3.2 / 0.1635
Creek, Maurice 0.0 / 0.0
Personnel notes: Oladipo and Zeller are the toughest 1-2 punch in the conference. And don't sweat Maurice Creek's zero-rating, he's coming back from yet another injury. It's actually more worrisome that he's been needed enough play 10 possessions a game, which I think is largely due to Remy Abell's surprising drop. Jeremy Hollowell is looking like a future star for the Hoosiers, he's got the third-best rating among conference freshmen. Also, Derek Elston didn't play enough possessions to qualify, but expect good things from him in future games as his current rating falls just between Zeller and Hollowell's (.4713)! And don't sweat Watford or Ferrell's low ratings, that's a very good rating for Watford (historically, a career high), and Ferrell is actually doing great for a freshman point guard.
2. Michigan State (20-4 / 9-2) W v. Minnesota 61-50, W @ Purdue 78-65
MSU's chances of getting a piece of the conference title will look very likely if they can take down the Wolverines in East Lansing. If I was confident that Sparty was going to win the game tonight, I'd have them at number one in this poll. However, their depth is so already thin, and Travis Trice is definitely out, and Keith Appling is coming back from an injury, and Denzel Valentine's performance has been tanking lately, so I just don't know what to expect from them defensively against a very good perimeter attack.
Dawson, Branden 20.9 / 0.4493 2SF
Payne, Adriean 17.8 / 0.4079 3PF
Appling, Keith 20.9 / 0.3761 5PG
Nix, Derrick 15.3 / 0.3452 6C
Valentine, Denzel 10.3 / 0.3373
Harris, Gary 14.7 / 0.2837 4SG
Gauna, Alex 1.4 / 0.1497
Trice, Travis 4.9 / 0.1382
Personnel notes: The rotation here is fine, unless someone gets injured and Izzo needs to have Alex Gauna, Russell Byrd, and/or Matt Costello play extended minutes. The last two guys didn't qualify as they don't play enough possessions, but they sure don't do much with the time they've gotten on the floor. In related news, I'm retiring the #FreeCostello tag until further notice.
3. Michigan (21-3 / 8-3) W v. Ohio State 76-74 (OT), L @ Wisconsin 62-65 (OT)
The pressure is really starting to turn up on Michigan now. You can't fault any of their performances, really, and the schedule does lighten up after tonight. After the road trip to East Lansing, they still have to play MSU (again) and Indiana, sure, but both those games are at home, and the only road trips they have to make are to Penn State and Purdue. Even a loss tonight at MSU doesn't take them out of the race by any means.
Burke, Trey 31.6 / 0.5735 1PG
McGary, Mitch 17.0 / 0.5573
Horford, Jon 9.1 / 0.5117
Morgan, Jordan 7.9 / 0.3449 7C
Hardaway Jr, Tim 18.5 / 0.3378 4SF
Robinson III, Glenn 18.4 / 0.3315 8PF
Albrecht, Spike 2.4 / 0.2506
Stauskas, Nik 12.4 / 0.2448 10SG
Levert, Caris 3.0 / 0.1923
Personnel notes: These are pretty impressive and don't include an intriguing performances by Max Bielfedt (.3339) in limited PT. Unsurprisingly, Burke is awesome. Mitch McGary is really awesome for a freshman off the bench, and GRIII is getting crazy minutes for a freshman. The per-game numbers look pretty good for him and Stauskas, so a big part of their lower efficiency ratings is the high number of possessions they play. There's a balance here that needs to be emphasized however, because Michigan is pretty clearly worse off without Jordan Morgan, but McGary and Jon Horford are putting up impressive numbers (Michigan fans are mystified, too). I run these numbers on the stats available, but as always, basketball is not the Davis Cup, it's a team sport.
4. Wisconsin (17-7 / 8-3) W v. Iowa 74-70 (2OT), W v. Michigan 65-62 (OT)
Ben Brust’s stunning half-court shot sent Wisconsin to its third overtime session of the week. So, that’s how Bo Ryan engineers another top-four finish.
Kaminsky, Frank 7.8 / 0.5729
Bruesewitz, Mike 16.6 / 0.3683 3SF
Berggren, Jared 15.8 / 0.3631 5C
Evans, Ryan 15.3 / 0.3476 5PF
Dekker, Sam 10 / 0.3251
Brust, Ben 12.8 / 0.2461 9SG
Marshall,George 4.5 / 0.1868
Jackson, Traevon 5.8 / 0.1455 12PG
Personnel notes: Kaminsky seems to be looking to reprise the Leuer role off the bench, so expect him to be one of the better Big Ten centers in the conference next season. Bruesewitz's revival has been key to the Badgers' front-runner status, as Berggren and Brust's numbers have crashed in-conference.
5. Ohio State (17-6 / 7-4) L @ Michigan 74-76 (OT), L v. Indiana 68-81
It was not a great week for OSU, losing oh-so-close in Ann Arbor before playing very hard but falling to the Hoosiers at home. I'm not sure what OSU could've done better against Indiana, really. It's just a killer conference.
Williams, Amir 11.9 / 0.4266
Craft, Aaron 20.9 / 0.3799 4PG
Scott, Shannon 9.9 / 0.3403
Thomas, Deshaun 19.8 / 0.3383 6PF
Ravenel, Evan 9.3 / 0.3063 8C
Smith Jr, Lenzelle 12.1 / 0.2593 6SG
Thompson, Sam 8.8 / 0.2134 11SF
Ross, LaQuinton 3.5 / 0.1553
McDonald, Trey 1.0 / 0.0996
Personnel notes: DeShaun Thomas' per-possesion numbers are falling, because teams are trying to make Aaron Craft beat them. Thomas has also kept up his scoring by shifting his game more and more outside, but that is also dropping his efficiency as well. There's not much choice for Coach Matta but to have Thomas embrace his role as consciousless gunner, as there's not a lot of offense to be found elsewhere.
6. Illinois (16-8 / 4-7) W v. Indiana 76-74 W @ Minnesota 57-53
What a week. Illinois has put themselves squarely back on the bubble, but they'll have to play nearly perfectly down the stretch to get to 9-9 to ensure themselves a NCAA berth. They should win at home against Purdue, Penn State, and Nebraska, sure. But they have to beat both Iowa and Northwestern on the road, because they still have to travel to Ann Arbor and Columbus. If the Illini go 1-3 on the road, they should still get in, just on the strength of their best wins, but they'd do well to win a B1G tourney game or two to feel secure.
Egwu, Nnanna 15.1 / 0.4181 4C
Bertrand, Joseph 13.7 / 0.3251
Abrams, Tracy 14.1 / 0.3151 9PG
Richardson, DJ 15.1 / 0.2616 5SG
McLaurin, Sam 9.5 / 0.2608
Paul, Brandon 12.6 / 0.2535 7SF
Shaw, Mike 2.4 / 0.2139
Henry, Myke 3.3 / 0.1965
Griffey,Tyler 4.6/ 0.1597 11PF
Personnel notes: Wow, Egwu! Also, DJ Richardson's best showing to date has helped eliminate some of the disappointment from Brandon Paul's tanking ratings. Although these numbers are from before last week, it gives a nice context to compare to the Tyler Griffey that showed up against Indiana and Minnesota against the guy who played the first nine games in the conference. Griffey was not only one of the least efficient big man in the conference's first nine games, he was also likely the least efficient senior (depending on how you count Maurice Creek).
7. Minnesota (17-6 / 5-6) , L @ MSU 50-61, L v. Illinois 53-57
The Gophers are struggling now. Sure, maybe the Illini lucked out a little bit with Willaims out for the Gophers home match, and noone should expect to win in East Lansing, but Minny looks nothing like the team that we once thought was capable of getting a piece of the conference title. Still, even though Gopher fans are freaking out, I'd say wait for a full freakout about your coach. Tubby was without a top player, but Illinois was on a confidence high and just needed this game more than Minnesota. As long as the Gophers take care of business against Wisconsin at home, and they'll be just fine.
Mbakwe, Trevor 27.6 / 0.5669 1C
Otosenieks, Oto 4.3 / 0.4533
Hollins, Andre 20.7 / 0.4374 2PG
Elliason, Elliot 6.7 / 0.4219
Hollins, Austin 20.6 / 0.4184 1SG
Williams, Rodney 16.8 / 0.3527 4PF
Coleman, Joe 14.2 / 0.3103 5SF
Ahanmisi, Maverick 3.3 / 0.2551
Ingram, Andre 3.1 / 0.2479
Welch, Julian 3.4 / 0.1859
Personnel notes: This looks like a very efficient team. Sure, Williams' numbers have taken a bit of drop, but they are still quite good. With Mbakwe and the Hollinses, three of their starters are still top-two. Why aren't they winning? And although the bench is getting a pretty bad name among Gopher fans, boy, was I ever right to key in on Otosenieks last week. #FreeOto
8. Iowa (15-9 / 4-7) L @ Wisconsin 70-74 (2OT), W v. Northwestern 71-57
What's the matter with Iowa? Well, Roy Devyn Marble has just not looked the same since his injury. There's some good news there, as he exploded against the Wildcats. Starting three freshmen was going to be problematic in the Big Ten, but the Hawkeyes' problems haven't been of the up-and-down performances (looking like world-beaters one day, losing ugly the next). No, Iowa has merely not been able to get over the hump. Early missed opportunities at home against Michigan State and Indiana have only been magnified on the road, with wins at Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin slipping away as last minute or even last second shots clank off the iron.
Basabe, Melsahn 13.1 / 0.4305
Clemmons, Anthony 12.9 / 0.3802 3PG
McCabe, Zach 10.9 / 0.3769
White, Aaron 20.0 / 0.3634 2PF
May, Eric 11.5 / 0.3494
Woodbury, Adam 7.7 / 0.3026 9C
Marble, Devyn 12.5 / 0.2605 6SF
Olaseni, Gabe 3.4 / 0.2291
Gesell, Mike 10.1 / 0.2081 12SG
Oglesby, Josh 4.7 / 0.1815
Ingram, Pat 1.5 / 0.1269
Personnel notes: In addition to Marble's problems, Aaron White's efficiency has taken a dive, from an all-conference level to merely very good. Nonetheless, Anthony Clemmons' per-possession rating is shockingly high for a freshman point, and Eric May has seen a nice resurgence in his performance as well. May's PT has also risen so that he is now a valued sixth man in the rotation. One interesting thing to note is that usually two of the Iowa's top three per-possession performers are sitting on the bench when the ball goes up.
9. Northwestern (13-11 / 4-7) L @ Iowa 57-71
Just when you think that Wildcats' season is looking up or down, it immediately takes a surprising turn. A win at Iowa, while nearly meaningless to the NCAA tournament selection committee at this point would've essentially clinched a NIT berth, at least. Not only do the Wildcats lose, Jared Swopshire and Alex Olah suffer injuries that will likely keep them out of the next game, at least. Swop could be out for the season.
Swopshire, Jared 22.5 / 0.4283 1PF
Sobolewski, David 18.8 / 0.3449 6PG
Marcotullio, Alex 10.5 / 0.3186 2SG
Turner, Mike 5.9 / 0.2639
Olah, Alex 8.8 / 0.2612 11C
Hearn, Reggie 12.2 / 0.2465 9SF
Abrahamson, Kale 4.1 / 0.1905
Demps, Tre 4.1 / 0.1362
Personnel notes: Oh my goodness, Jared Swopshire! In the big wins, I'd seen Swop taking guys off the dribble late in the shot-clock, and I'd seen decent, if unimpressive per-game stats. But this efficiency, leading all other power forwards, is quite surprising! Also, Reggie Hearn's stats are depressed due to his first games back from injury. Marcotullio was actually pretty strong off the bench last year, efficiency-wise, so I'm not surprised at his good showing this year. The numbers don't support it, but I still say #FreeCerina, and #FreeKale, too. Get these kids some experience in Big Ten games.
10. Purdue (12-12 / 5-6) L v. Michigan State 65-78 W @ Penn State 58-49
Good solid road win over the conference's worst team. AJ Hammons is a monster, posting better stats than Cody Zeller to this date. He's looking like a new Tristan Thompson with his ability to get blocks and defensive boards.
Hammons, AJ 23.2 / 0.5394 2C
Byrd, DJ 17.4 / 0.3374 7PF
Johnson, Ronnie 16.7 / 0.3181 8PG
Hale, Donnie 6.2 / 0.2533
Johnson, Terone 13 / 0.2506 8SG
Davis, Raphael 8.7 / 0.2484 8SF
Carroll, Travis 3.1 / 0.2383
Lawson, Jacob 2.5 / 0.1594
Johnson, Anthony 4.3 / 0.1516
Personnel notes: Boy, Lawson's production sure fell off a cliff. He looked so good in the non-conference. That, combined with DJ Byrd's resurgence, sure explains Painter's switch to small-ball. And AJ Hammons is just looking like a beast right now. He keeps this tear up, he honestly could jump to the NBA after this season.
11. Nebraska (12-12 / 3-8) W v Penn State 67-53
Well, Nebraska has made it very clear that they are not the worst team in the conference, thank you very much. And hey, they're still .500 overall!
Tyrance, Jordan 6.0 / 0.3614
Almedia, Andre 7.5 / 0.3346
Ubel, Brandon 15.9 / 0.2982 10C
Talley, Dylan 14 / 0.2552 11PG
Gallegos, Ray 14.6 / 0.2422 10SG
Shields, Shavon 10.9 / 0.2358 10SF
Rivers, David 8.7 / 0.2183 10PF
Parker, Benny 4.3 / 0.1429
Personnel notes: A couple of things here: One, Jordan Tyrance has had a nice little run in his first few games for the Huskers, but expect those numbers to drop. Two, without walk-on Tyrance's contributions, you can see that the Huskers have a seven-man rotation, which drops to six if Coach Miles is down Almeida that particular day.
12. Penn State (8-15 / 0-11) L v. Purdue 49-59, L @ Nebraska 53-67
0-18 looms large on the horizon. These last two games were their best chances to break through, and they didn't look competitive in either. Really, the last gasp comes with the home game against Iowa. The Nittany Lions lose that one, andthe odds shift even more significantly towards a "defeated" conference season.
Graham, Jon 6.5 / 0.3278
Newbill, DJ 19.2 / 0.3202 6PG
Marshall, Jermaine 16.7 / 0.2935 3SG
Borovnjak, Sasha 8 / 0.2123 12C
Colella, Nick 6.8 / 0.1648 12SF
Travis, Ross 7.1 / 0.1553 12PF
Maduegbunam, Akosa 1.2 / 0.1079
Taylor, Brandon 2.9 / 0.0785
Jack, Donovan 0.3 /0.0228
Personnel notes: This is just starting to change, but I'm not sure I understand why Jon Graham has been getting so few minutes for so long. He's clearly better at battling in the Big Ten than anybody else in the PSU frontcourt. I would retract my earlier musings on whether Jack should be getting more PT, but there's really nothing to lose by playing him and Maduegbunam more.