Last week, I said that I probably wouldn't do another power rankings until after the holidays and the start of Big Ten play. Well, after Saturday's dumpster fire of a day for the Big Ten that reminded me of the beginning of college football season, I've decided to do another power rankings and try to sort out the mess that is the conference thus far.
Did Tom Izzo just have the worst home loss of his career? Which saint did Rutgers lose to this time? And could IU be a top-four B1G team in this mess of mediocrity? Let's rank everyone and find out.
14. Rutgers (6-5) (Previous Rank: 14)
The Scarlet Knights already had lost to St. Peter's earlier this season. On Saturday, they lost to St. Francis. There are TWO St. Francis universities that play D-1 hoops in fact - one in Pennsylvania, the other in New York. Rutgers lost to the Pennsylvania St. Francis on Saturday, but actually beat St. Francis of New York earlier this season. The Scarlet Knights will need more players than just Kadeem Jack and Miles Mack to step up if they want to compete in the B1G.
13. Northwestern (7-4) (Prev: 13)
Northwestern split games against directional Michigans this week, losing to Central on Wednesday but defeating Western on Saturday. Though the Wildcats have a better record than the next team on the list, I haven't seen any evidence that they should be ranked above them yet.
12. Michigan (6-5) (Prev: 12)
Michigan had a week to recoup from their loss out in Tucson, and responded with another subpar performance against SMU. The Wolverines are struggling to put points on the board, and former Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin has not progressed in the way that John Beilein must be hoping.
11. Purdue (8-4) (Prev: 10)
After a close first half, the Boilers ended up losing to Notre Dame by almost 30 in the nightcap of the Crossroads Classic. Let's see how the good folks at Hammer and Rails are dealing with the loss:
Welp. At this rate I hope Morgan Burke never leaves.
10. Nebraska (6-3) (Prev: 11)
Spencer Hall over at EDSBS likes to say that the best thing a team can do any given weekend is not play, since it guarantees that they won't lose. Nebrasketball has proven Spencer correct. Tim Miles and company haven't played all week, but as a result, they've moved up a spot from last week.
9. Iowa (8-4) (Prev: 8)
The Hawkeyes had their version of the Crossroads Classic in Des Moines on Saturday, and Fran McCaffrey's squad lost 56-44 to Northern Iowa, who may be one of the best mid-majors in the country this season. While losing to UNI is not the end of the world, the Hawkeyes have not been able to put up points the same way they could last year.
8. Michigan State (8-4) (Prev: 4)
FRIEND OF THE SITE Mike Davis did something on Saturday that he could never do at IU - win at the Breslin Center. Despite being 1-8 heading into the game, Texas Southern outlasted MSU 71-64 in overtime. Sparty was without Branden Dawson in this game, but that still was not an excuse to lose yesterday. This could be Tom Izzo's toughest rebuilding year yet in East Lansing. U mad, Tom?
When yo boss promises you a christmas bonus and sends you a membership to the jelly-of-the-month club instead pic.twitter.com/HVKOXFayxL— CHRISTMAS Quarry (@crimsonquarry) December 21, 2014
For a halftime break, let's look at the mid- and low-major teams that B1G teams have lost to this season already:
- Eastern Washington
- St. Peter's
- St. Francis
- Central Michigan
- Eastern Michigan
- Incarnate Word
- Texas Southern
- North Florida
And there's still room for more! Here's the B1G schedule for tonight:
7. Illinois (9-3) (Prev: 7)
Loved the old-school Fighting Illini jerseys Saturday. Loved John Groce's orange blazer as well. But I did not love that it took a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Rayvonte Rice to win the Braggin' Rights game over a subpar Missouri team that is still recovering from the end of Frank Haith era.
6. Penn State (11-1) (Prev: 5)
I've switched the Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers this week. Why? Because Minnesota seems to handle the bad teams better than Penn State does. In addition, Minnesota's KenPom ranking is a solid 70 places higher than Penn State's. But 11-1 is still a quality record for PSU right now, and much like Illinois or Minnesota, at least they did not stumble over the weekend, as they beat Drexel by five.
5. Minnesota (9-2) (Prev: 6)
The Golden Gophers blew Seattle out on Friday, and keep doing everything they need to in these early games, setting them up nicely to get a tournament berth if they keep up the strong play. Hopefully the Louisville game will give IU some good experience when they play Minnesota, since like his dad, Richard Pitino has his team playing great defense and pushing the tempo.
4. Indiana (9-2) (Prev: 9)
So how huge was Saturday's win for the Hoosiers? Robbins had a great look at the attendance woes at the Crossroads Classic yesterday, but despite all the red in Bankers Life Fieldhouse yesterday, this was a neutral-site game for all intents and purposes. Thus, the nine-point win was the best neutral/road victory that the Hoosiers have had since they defeated Michigan to win the conference in 2013. In addition, it temporarily put the Brad Stevens talk aside (which I can assure you existed long before Gregg Doyel mentioned it), and Stevens himself also refuted it to SB Nation's Paul Flannery.
I feel a lot more comfortable about this team going forward (providing we solidly defeat New Orleans tonight), and I'm looking forward to another game against a Georgetown team that gave us everything it could in NYC two years ago. In addition, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan, a Hoosier alum himself, calls this team the most watchable one in college hoops.
3. Ohio State (9-2) (Prev: 2)
Before Kentucky crushed UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic and stomped on any thoughts of Steve Alford returning to IU, OSU lost to UNC on the ugly United Center court after a very cold shooting afternoon. I think the Buckeyes at this point have to be considered a little more well-rounded than IU, so I have them ahead of the Hoosiers, but we'll find out for real when the Buckeyes head to Assembly Hall on January 10.
2. Maryland (11-1) (Prev: 3)
It's tough for any team to come out of Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater with a victory, but the Terps won 73-64 over Oklahoma State, who also had one loss going into the game. Maryland looks to be for real, and could be even better once Dez Wells gets back. I'll be curious what attendance in the Comcast Center will be like though - I know the Terps had trouble filling the building for non-Duke teams when they were in the ACC, but the good record plus the excitement and mystique of new conference opponents may draw more fans to College Park.
1. Wisconsin (10-1) (Prev: 1)
Haven't played since our last rankings. But tonight, they travel to Berkeley to take on Cal, who is 10-1 under new coach (and former Boiler) Cuonzo Martin. Regardless of result in this game, I still think the Badgers are tops in the B1G until another team proves otherwise.