Month: February 2019

Big Ten Power Rankings: 2/18/19


Six Stars From the Past Week:

Cassius Winston, Michigan State

James Palmer, Nebraska

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota

Charles Matthews, Michigan

Geo Baker, Rutgers

Six Best Games to Watch This Week:

Purdue at Indiana, Tuesday, 7:00 EST, ESPN2

Maryland at Iowa, Tuesday, 8:00 EST, BTN

Michigan at Minnesota, Thursday, 7:00 EST, ESPN

Ohio State at Maryland, Saturday, 2:00 EST, ESPN

Purdue at Nebraska, Saturday, 4:00 EST, BTN

Michigan State at Michigan, Sunday, 3:45 EST, CBS


In parentheses is their current standing in the Bracket Matrix.

1. Michigan (BM: 2 seed)

Highs and lows for the Wolverines this week. They had a good chance to sit alone atop the conference standings after Purdue lost at Maryland, but Michigan played their worst game of the season at Penn State on Tuesday night. Offensively, they were actually pretty good, but they couldn’t slow Myles Dread down on the other end and they were abused on the glass by the Nittany Lions. Of course to make matters worse, they were without John Beilein the entire second half.

They responded with a dominant first half performance on defense against Maryland. They let Aaron Wiggins loose a few times in the second half for some open shots, but otherwise they kept the Terp shooters under wraps. Michigan continues to overcome their own shooting woes by giving opponents even greater shooting woes.

This week: at Minnesota, home for Michigan State

2. Michigan State (BM: 2 seed)

The Spartans scored the biggest win of the conference title race in the last few weeks on Tuesday. Adding in losses for Michigan and Purdue on the same night, it only magnified the importance of MSU’s victory at Wisconsin.

It looked for a minute like MSU was going to give the big win right back with an extended slow start at home against Ohio State. Things were looking a little bleaker after Nick Ward hurt his hand – looks like that may be serious – but they completely locked up the Buckeyes in the second half and won comfortably.

This week: home for Rutgers, at Michigan

3. Purdue (BM: 3 seed)

It looked like Purdue might put themselves firmly in the driver’s seat for a championship after they took an eight-point halftime lead at Maryland. That did not hold. The Boilers had their worst shooting half of the season in the second half and it appeared as if the shooting frustrations carried over to the other end of the floor. All of a sudden they started giving up easy buckets to the Maryland bigs on seemingly every possession.

The Boilers were extremely careless with the ball at home against Penn State, but they overcame a slow start and built a big second half lead with some strong bench contributions and Carsen Edwards actually making some good decisions with his shot selection.

This week: at Indiana and Nebraska

4. Wisconsin (BM: 5 seed)

The only game this week for the Badgers was the home loss to Michigan State. Wisconsin had their chances to win, but they didn’t get a good shooting night from anybody besides Nate Reuvers. Ethan Happ was able to score 20, but the Spartans forced him to take 20 shots doing it and Happ had six turnovers, which usually means it’s going to be a long night for the Badgers. They’re just 3-8 in Happ’s career when he has five or more.

We’re also now at six straight games that D’Mitrik Trice has been held to a single-digit scoring total. It only happened four times in the first twenty games. Trice hasn’t seen his shooting percentages drop off a cliff, but his usage rate certainly has gone down. I know Badger fans have their issues with some of Trice’s decision making at times, but the offense has undoubtedly been worse the less it involves Trice.

This week: home for Illinois, at Northwestern

5. Maryland (BM: 6 seed)

The Terps scored a big win over Purdue on the back of an A+ defensive effort in the second half. Purdue simply couldn’t guard Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith on the other end and the freshmen wings knocked down quite a few big shots to get Maryland the lead initially.

Only Aaron Wiggins could repeat his shooting performance on the road at Michigan, however. Everyone else went 3-16 from three in Ann Arbor. The Terps were able to do good work on the offensive glass, but it didn’t matter much with 16 turnovers.

This week: at Iowa, home for Ohio State

6. Iowa (BM: 6 seed)

The Hawkeyes keep flirting with some not so good losses, but they keep dodging them with some very timely shotmaking. I imagine the ends of these games are incredibly fun for Iowa fans, but I’m guessing the constant stress of these games isn’t going to go away with the polarization of Iowa’s offense and defense.

Speaking of polarizing, I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone run as hot and cold as Isaiah Moss. He may give you 25 or he might give you 2. You never know and they’re about the same likelihood.

This week: home for Maryland and Indiana

7. Illinois (BM: N/A)

I’m not sure anybody wants to see the Illini right now. They were never going to be fun with the way they attack and try to force turnovers on defense, but now they’re starting to score the ball pretty well, too. They’re not a tournament team unless they win the BTT, but they’re playing a lot better at the moment than some of the Big Ten teams that are still in the NCAA conversation.

This week: at Wisconsin, home for Penn State

8. Ohio State (BM: 9 seed)

I’m not sure what has happened to the Buckeye offense, but it’s been a downhill slide ever since they scored 77 against Michigan State at home back on Jan. 5. That slide was punctuated by the 44 point effort they had against the Spartans on Sunday, with OSU only mustering 13 in the second half. Playing at home is worth something, but it’s not worth 33 points on offense.

They made mention during Sunday’s broadcast that Chris Holtmann had to recruit Keyshawn Woods three times before he finally got him to commit to Holtmann’s program. Holtmann finally got him to say yes to OSU and this has without a doubt been the worst season of Woods’ career. Tough break.

This week: home for Northwestern, at Maryland

9. Minnesota (BM: 10 seed)

The Gophers got their turn with IU and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Minnesota was on a four-game losing streak, fresh off the controversial heartbreaker at Nebraska.

The Gophers are still flirting with the bubble a bit. Going 2-0 this week would relieve a lot of stresses. They’ve proven it’s not likely they repeat their 12-22 three-point shooting effort against the Hoosiers, but Minnesota needs to keep finding different ways to win.

This week: home for Michigan, at Rutgers

10. Rutgers (BM: N/A)

Rutgers was this close to being 6-8 in league play until Joe Wieskamp defied physics with a prayer of a three from the corner. Earlier in the week they won their second Big Ten road game of the year, which has been no small feat for the Scarlet Knights.

This week: at Michigan State, home for Minnesota

11. Penn State (BM: N/A)

If you watch the Big Ten long enough, you know the Nittany Lions are going to be a real, real problem for at least one of the title contenders when they come to the BJC. They nearly took down Purdue and then led to start to finish this week against Michigan.

The Nittany Lions are actually pretty good when they’ve got Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread going at the same time.

This week: home for Nebraska, at Illinois

12. Nebraska (BM: Second Four Out)

This week’s games couldn’t have come at a better time for the Huskers. They desperately needed some winnable games and they took advantage. Neither win is going to be at the top of their NCAA Tournament resume, but more than anything, the Huskers just needed a win of any kind to get some confidence back. They’re still alive.

This week: at Penn State, home for Purdue

13. Northwestern (BM: N/A)

Things are bad. Only thing keeping them out of the cellar is the fact they beat IU fairly easily a few weeks ago.

This week: at Ohio State, home for Wisconsin

14. Indiana (BM: First Four Out)

Despite some of their wins, including the random Michigan State win recently, nobody has been as consistently poor since the start of the new year. I’m sure they’ll beat Purdue Tuesday.

This week: home for Purdue, at Iowa

Big Ten Power Rankings: 2/11/19


Seven Stars From the Past Week:

Jon Teske, Michigan

Jordan Bohannon, Iowa

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois

Andre Wesson, Ohio State

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Matt McQuaid, Michigan State

Five Best Games to Watch This Week:

Purdue at Maryland, Tuesday, 6:30 EST, BTN

Michigan State at Wisconsin, Tuesday, 7:00 EST, ESPN

Michigan at Penn State, Tuesday, 8:30 EST, BTN

Minnesota at Nebraska, Wednesday, 9:00 EST, BTN

Maryland at Michigan, Saturday, Noon EST, FOX


In parenthesis is their current standing in the Bracket Matrix. Obviously, we have a better idea where the Top 4 stand right now.

1. Michigan (BM: 2 seed)

If there were any hope that the strong shooting performance at Rutgers was a sign the tide had turned, that was quickly put to rest with a 4-17 outing against Wisconsin. But the end result of both games were the same because the Michigan defense doesn’t take a game off. The Wolverines won comfortably at a tough place to play and they beat one of the hottest teams in the country at home.

Maybe the most important development of Saturday’s game was Charles Matthews busting out of an extended slump. Matthews has a tendency to go on these slumps and it undoubtedly holds them back as a team. They’ll need the best version of Matthews if they want to win the Big Ten.

This week: at Penn State, home for Maryland

2. Purdue (BM: 3 seed)

If Michigan’s Achilles’ heel is shooting, Purdue’s is stopping shooters, even average or below-average ones. It’s a rare trait for a Matt Painter team to have, but it’s happened enough times now this year that it can no longer be considered a series of flukes.

This has happened several times in games recently, but Purdue has always had a bigger response of their own. It seems like clockwork that there’s a point in the game where they flip the score by 12 points, or even up to 20 points.

I’m not sure I would count on it at Maryland if I were them.

This week: at Maryland, home for Penn State

3. Wisconsin (BM: 4 seed)

The streak of wins is over for the Badgers, but the streak of good play is still alive. The nine-point loss is a misrepresentation of just how close they were to winning at Michigan on Saturday. Obviously it wasn’t a perfect offensive performance. They couldn’t find many openings for shooters and Ethan Happ only having one assist is a telling stat when you consider he hasn’t had less than three in a game since Nov. 21.

It also bears mentioning that they won the game wire-to-wire at Minnesota, completely locking up the Gophers on their home floor.

This week: home for Michigan State

4. Michigan State (BM: 2 seed)

The Spartans looked like the best team in the league again on Saturday, but they were a bit exposed again on Tuesday at Illinois. Twice this year, the Spartans have faced teams that force a lot of turnovers and they’ve really struggled on each occasion. They were able to win at Florida, but not as fortunate against the Illini. It may not matter if MSU doesn’t see a team like that in the postseason, but it’s something to watch for when the brackets come out.

This week: at Wisconsin, home for Ohio State

5. Maryland (BM: 6 seed)

The only game of the week was an easy win at Nebraska and they were able to do it without a good offensive performance from Anthony Cowan. Cowan did hold Glynn Watson scoreless and as a team, the Terps only allowed the Huskers to shoot 21% from the field.

This week: home for Purdue, at Michigan

6. Iowa (BM: 6 seed)

Well, it’s safe to say Jordan Bohannon was the MVP this week. He hit roughly 100 big shots down the stretch in two games. It was also another outstanding week for Joe Wieskamp.

Obviously both wins this week were fun and exciting, but the same issues persist for the Hawkeyes and it’s all on one end of the court. You can’t be giving up 79 to the worst offense in the league on your home floor. Northwestern is also one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the Big Ten and they were able to grab 10 in Iowa City.

This week: at Rutgers

7. Ohio State (BM: 8 seed)

Every victory is an important one for the Buckeyes as they try to fight off bubble talk, so the ugliness of this week’s wins doesn’t matter much in the long run. The other good news is that Kyle Young is back. And the further good news is that Andre Wesson had double-digit scoring outings for just the third time in his career. If the elder Wesson can start to consistently produce at the level of his apparent confidence, it’ll be a much needed boost to a frequently stagnant offense.

This week: home for Illinois, at Michigan State

8. Minnesota (BM: 10 seed)

The Gophers looked like they were due for some big wins with the way they were playing, but they missed a big opportunity at home against Wisconsin with an ill-timed terrible shooting performance. I’m not sure anyone would’ve won in East Lansing on Saturday. This is a big week for them.

This weekend: at Nebraska, home for Indiana

9. Illinois (BM: N/A)

It’s been a rough year for the Illini, but it was their week in the sun. The Brad Underwood era has had an incredibly rocky start, but you do have to feel optimistic about how well their young Big 3 have played. Whether they can keep all three in Champaign is another story.

This week: at Ohio State

10. Northwestern (BM: N/A)

Wow, what a tough week. Their offense against Iowa was the best its looked for months and it was all for naught after a few brutal minutes

This week: home for Penn State, at Iowa

11. Rutgers (BM: N/A)

They didn’t get a win, but they did score 94 in a road game and their young guys keep getting better.

This week: at Northwestern, home for Iowa

12. Penn State (BM: N/A)

The Nittany Lions are on the board and have actually played three pretty good games in a row.

This week: home for Michigan, at Purdue

13. Indiana (BM: 11 seed)

They’re a tough watch right now. I actually think they defend pretty well most of the time, but the offense is so bogged down. They’re not dead yet from a tournament perspective because of how good their first two months were, but they’re running out of time and their play doesn’t inspire much confidence they can get the wins they need.

This week: at Minnesota

14. Nebraska (BM: First Four Out)

Not a good situation without Copeland. The offense isn’t very good. The defense isn’t very good. We’ve got Tim Miles nearly in tears during a press conference. It’s been a nightmare lately. But they did look on Saturday like a team that wasn’t ready to quit just yet. If they can scratch out a couple of wins at home this week, they might be able to get things going again.

This week: home for Minnesota and Northwestern


Here’s the first installment.

We’re once again evaluating teams that are on the 11 seed line or better from BracketMatrix, with a couple disclaimers. The data was compiled Thursday, so the teams evaluated were from Thursday’s BracketMatrix. Only a couple of teams have changed and they’re probably not contenders anyway.

Odds were gathered on Friday morning from 5Dimes.


Properly Valued

1. Duke +185 (FFI: 1)

The Blue Devils remain the prohibitive favorite and have risen up the FFI after two weeks of padding stats against a weak part of the ACC schedule. We’ll see where they stand after two much more challenging weeks ahead.

2. Gonzaga +710 (FFI: 3)

The Zags are spending January and February maiming teams semiweekly once again. KenPom has them pegged as the best offense in the country and that’s been without a fully healthy Killian Tillie all year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Tillie may not ever be fully healthy this year, as he sprained his foot on Thursday night.

3. Michigan State +800 (FFI: 2)

I don’t know, maybe this blog moves markets after all. They were in the “Highly Undervalued” section two weeks ago, have lost three games in a row (two of them as heavy favorites), and yet the odds have only gotten shorter. The Illinois game – along with the Florida game earlier in the year – has to make you nervous as a Spartan backer. If MSU has to play a team that forces a lot of turnovers in the tournament, it could be another early exit for Tom Izzo’s group.

4. Virginia +865 (FFI: 4)

If you’re looking for a difference between this year’s Virginia team and last year’s, look no further than the offensive numbers. They were Top 25 in efficiency heading into the tournament in 2018, but just barely. This group is currently Top 5 and it has a lot to do with their increased ability to create second chance opportunities. They don’t put up huge point totals, but there’s no need to worry about that, the Cavs dictate pace 99% of the time.

5. Tennessee +900 (FFI: 6)

The Vols were an elite defense last year, but the offense was always lagging behind. Weirdly, the roles have reversed this season despite returning basically the same roster. If you’re looking for a reason to back Tennessee, that would be it. This group has shown the potential to be Top 5 on both ends of the floor for an extended period of time. It’s reasonable to think they can do both for a six-game stretch when it matters most.

7. Michigan +1450 (FFI: 5)

Shooting is still the big question mark for the Wolverines as it stands now. They had a good effort on the road at Rutgers, but it’s just one game against a team that won’t be playing in any postseason tournament.

8. North Carolina +1600 (FFI: 8)

UNC seems to be flying a bit under the radar with the rival Blue Devils stealing seemingly every national headline, but they’ve quietly beat a couple of really good teams by comfortable margins lately. There’s not a lot of holes on this team and they may get Sterling Manley back soon to give them another big to bring off the bench.

12. Kansas +3500 (FFI: 14)

Everything is going wrong right now for the Jayhawks and they’re a tough horse to back with the uncertainty surrounding Lagerald Vick’s leave of absence.

14. Virginia Tech +5000 (FFI: 13)

The Hokies can be really good when Justin Robinson comes back healthy, but you’d like to see them do it against the best teams in the ACC before you feel like they could sniff a national championship.

T16. Auburn +8000 (FFI: 20)

Austin Wiley just came back, so we’ll see if he can help out the Tiger defense in a significant way. It’ll be interesting to see how Auburn does in upcoming road games at LSU and Kentucky. Their “signature” win right now is Washington.

T20. Buffalo +8500 (FFI: 23)

The exciting non-conference season the Bulls had has lost its luster quite a bit at this point. Winning at West Virginia is no longer even a Quad 1 win. They still don’t have any overly damaging losses, but they’ve put themselves in a position where another loss or two might force them to win the MAC Tournament.

T20. Louisville +8500 (FFI: 17)

As expected, Louisville just keeps getting better, and their odds have dropped from +12500 two weeks ago and have moved up eight spots. They’re up to a 4 seed in the Bracket Matrix and they’ve got quite a few opportunities for more big victories.

T23. Florida State +10000 (FFI: 33)

Not to get too Bill Simmons on you, but the Noles are either the worst good team out there or the best bad team. I haven’t quite figured it out. They just crushed Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, but it was the first impressive thing they’ve done since November.

T23. Houston +10000 (FFI: 31)

Houston hasn’t had the most impressive offense, but based on history, there’s reason to believe that will keep improving under Kelvin Sampson. There’s also the last month, where they’ve risen over 20 spots in KenPom’s offensive efficiency rankings. The general public probably won’t give their win at UCF the respect it deserves, but it was super impressive the way they controlled that game.

T23. LSU +10000 (FFI: 30)

The defense is slowly improving for the Tigers, but still has a ways to go before you could feel good about them going on a run in March. They’re 8-1 and well positioned in the SEC, but they’ve got a really tough five-game stretch coming up

T23. Oklahoma +10000 (FFI: 27)

I have no idea why the odds have gotten shorter on the Sooners. They’ve lost three in a row and haven’t looked good in any of them.

T23. Washington +10000 (FFI: 26)

The Huskies are the only legitimately intriguing Pac-12 team, but they still haven’t beaten anyone that’s going to be an at-large in the tournament.

31. Nebraska +12000 (FFI: 11)

I’m editorializing a bit here, but should probably do even more editing. The Huskers appear to be a lost cause without Isaac Copeland.

T32. Baylor +20000 (FFI: 36)

The Bears are the epitome of an 8/9 seed that has quite a few flaws, but might mess around and beat a 1 seed if they get the right matchup.

T32. UCF +20000 (FFI: 41)

The Knights have some good players and are capable of beating a lot of teams, but they’re not the most consistent group on either end of the floor.

T32. NC State +20000 (FFI: 39)

They scored 24 points in a game. Disqualified.

T32. TCU +20000 (FFI: 25)

Making the tournament will be a win for the Frogs after all they’ve endured.

T40. St. John’s +30000 (FFI: 42)

The Johnnies feel like a team that’s either going on an unexpected run or getting bounced immediately from the tournament. Ponds and Heron are the type of combo that have the ability and confidence/cockiness to terrify opposing fans late in a close game.

42. Ole Miss +40000 (FFI: 35)

The Rebels are headed in the wrong direction.

43. Wofford +45000 (FFI: 38)

Wofford’s destiny is to be the 11 seed that 70% of people take to beat the 6 seed and then they actually do. Think 2018 Loyola, 2017 Rhode Island, 2016 Wichita, 2016 Gonzaga, etc. Are you really gonna bet against a team that has guys named Fletcher Magee and Storm Murphy in their backcourt? I didn’t think so. Some things are just meant to be.

T44. Minnesota +50000 (FFI: 37)

Minnesota’s all over the place, but could be a scary opponent for a team with a limited frontcourt.

T44. Ohio State +50000 (FFI: 32)

The Buckeyes are not very threatening.

T57. Seton Hall +100000 (FFI: 44)



Slightly Overvalued

6. Kentucky +1200 (FFI: 10)

I still disagree with the rankings, although the Cats continue to rise. 6th might be a touch high, but who has been better over the last few weeks? They’re not a great shooting team, but it’s hard to find many other holes to criticize them for.

9. Purdue +2650 (FFI: 12) 

Purdue’s won a lot of games lately and improved quite a bit, but it’s hard to survive in a three-point world when you regularly get burned from the perimeter. Generally, the Big Ten isn’t a great shooting league, so they can contend for a conference championship. But they probably don’t have enough to be a legitimate contender nationally.

15. Texas Tech +6250 (FFI: 19)

Offense still stinks.

T16. Marquette +8000 (FFI: 24)

Marquette seems to get a lot of love from national media, but their best win away from home was Louisville on a neutral when Louisville wasn’t nearly as good as they are now. They’ve played pretty well recently, but people seem slow to realize the Big East isn’t the conference it has been in recent years.

T23. Cincinnati +10000 (FFI: 40)

The Bearcats just haven’t played enough good teams to have much of an opinion. The one game that stands out on the resume is a loss at ECU, which is probably only a result of me betting on them that game. But we’ll get to see them play Houston Sunday.

T32. Arizona State +20000 (FFI: 46)

If Arizona State makes the tournament, we need to reduce the field. They’ve lost to five teams outside of the Top 100 of KenPom. They just lost to Wazzu by 21 AT HOME. That’s absurd.


Slightly Undervalued

13. Iowa State +4000 (FFI: 9)

The odds have changed considerably since they were featured in the “Highly Undervalued” section a couple of weeks ago. They were +6500 in the last edition. I’m not sure they can actually win the thing, but they can go on a run and leave some great opportunities for hedging. The 5 seed they’re currently slated for isn’t ideal, but they’ll shoot up the seed list if they keep playing well.

T23. Maryland +10000 (FFI: 16)

The Terps might not be the sexiest pick, but they’re pretty solid all-around and they’ve got some future pros in the lineup.

T23. Mississippi State +10000 (FFI: 15)

The guards are good, but they won’t be able to do anything until they commit to doing it on the defensive end.

T44. Indiana +50000 (FFI: 28)

They’ve lost 8 of 9, so take it for what it’s worth.

T57. Alabama +100000 (FFI: 34)

More athletic and talented than skilled.


Highly Overvalued

10. Villanova +2850 (FFI: 29)

It’s not fun to be on the opposite side of Jay Wright anymore, but Nova still has a lot of strides to make defensively and it’s not like they’re an unstoppable juggernaut on offense. They haven’t played a Top 40 team for two months.

11. Nevada +3000 (FFI: 22)

This remains true:

I wouldn’t count them out, but the biggest difference between this year and last is perimeter shooting. They miss shooters Kendall Stephens and Hallice Cooke to work off of the Martin twins. Jazz Johnson has filled in some of that hole, but Corey Henson has been streaky and Nisre Zouzoua has been a dud after shooting 36% from three at Bryant. And they still miss Lindsey Drew. Drew was out for the NCAA Tournament last year, but not having his ability to set people up is noticeable and pretty much just leaves Cody Martin to do all of that work.

T16. Syracuse +8000 (FFI: 45)

Syracuse isn’t good, but they’ve overperformed recently when they’ve made the tournament, so I’m afraid to totally shit on them.

T20. Kansas State +8500 (FFI: 43)

They’re like a poor man’s Michigan.


Highly Undervalued

T16. Wisconsin +8000 (FFI: 7)

I have my doubts about Wisconsin winning it all, but they will absolutely defend their ass off against everybody and they still have an All-American on their roster. D’Mitrik Trice can hit some big shots and the Badgers are just generally irritating to play against.

T32. Iowa +20000 (FFI: 18)

They have to outscore everybody they play, but they’re good at it, and if they make it to the second weekend you can start hedging off a huge number here.

39. Texas +25000 (FFI: 21)

The Longhorns are just a really solid team that has had some trouble closing close games away from Austin. They’ve got talented guards, but none of them are destined to win the shooting game for the long haul.



T32. Florida +20000 (FFI: NR)

Still not great at the “winning games” part of making the tournament.

T40. Arizona +30000 (FFI: NR)

They’ve lost 5 of 6 in a mid-major league.

T44. Butler +50000 (FFI: NR)

There’s no evidence that they’re good.

T44. Creighton +50000 (FFI: NR)

They can score, but they’ve given up even more to a very mediocre Big East schedule.

T44. Murray State +50000 (FFI: NR)

They’re not all Ja Morant, but of the quality mid-majors, they’re the most star dependent.

T44. UNCG +50000 (FFI: NR)

The home loss blowout to Wofford was telling.

T44. Oregon +50000 (FFI: NR)

Only remotely quality win without Bol Bol is Arizona.

T44. Saint Louis +50000 (FFI: NR)

As I wrote this blog, they were in the process of losing to St. Joseph’s by 30.

T44. Temple +50000 (FFI: NR)


T44. UCLA +50000 (FFI: NR)

They’re terrible.

T44. Utah State +50000 (FFI: NR)

The Aggies are pretty solid and they don’t have the typical mid-major problem of lacking size. Making the field is their biggest obstacle.

T44. VCU +50000 (FFI: NR)

VCU will defend their asses off, but they can’t score to save their lives.





Big Ten Power Rankings: 2/4/19


Seven Stars From the Past Week:

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Joe Wieskamp, Iowa

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

Zavier Simpson, Michigan

Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State

Amir Coffey, Minnesota

De’Ron Davis, Indiana

Five Best Games to Watch This Week:

Maryland At Nebraska, Wednesday, 7:00 EST, BTN

Wisconsin at Minnesota, Wednesday, 9:00 EST, BTN

Iowa at Indiana, Thursday, 9:00 EST, ESPN

Wisconsin at Michigan, Saturday, Noon EST, FOX

Ohio State at Indiana, Sunday, 1:00 EST, CBS


1. Michigan (NET: 5)

It’s hard not to be repetitive here, but the defense continues to be elite and the offense continues to be a red flag that only gets brighter every week. It’s easy to keep faith that things will improve on that end because John Beilein is the coach, but he can’t make shots for them.

It feels like a long time ago that the Wolverines were making 24-48 threes in back-to-back games against North Carolina and Purdue. They went 8-33 on Friday night against an Iowa team that might have the worst defense in the league and they could only manage 59 points. They’ve only hit 31.5% in league play, good for 10th in the Big Ten.

But Michigan holds on to the top spot because that defense is still great enough to beat good teams despite poor offensive performances. And they’re still good enough to win the league, but the shooting will have to improve if the Wolverines are going to be in the national title hunt.

This week: at Rutgers, home for Wisconsin

2. Purdue (NET: 12)

It’s hard to say Purdue played particularly well this week. After all, they gave up 90 points to one of the worst offenses in the league and they were down 13 in the second half at home against a team they were expected to beat somewhat easily.

But they ended up winning both games, making it seven straight and 10 of their last 11. More importantly, they played their best when the situation demanded it and that’s the opposite of what you saw from the Boilers in November and December. They won one game with stellar guard play and the other with stellar big man play.

It’s hard to believe that a team that was 6-5 less than two months ago is now tied for the Big Ten lead more than halfway through the race, but here we are.

This week: home for Nebraska

3. Michigan State (NET: 8)

It’s hard to find a way to comprehend what happened Saturday night against IU, who was largely Juwan Morgan-less and was also coming in on a seven-game skid. There were a couple of random “this is a single college basketball game, anything can happen” things that happened in the game. Most notably, the Spartans went 8-22 from the FT line and IU went 10-20 from three, the first time they’ve hit 10 threes since Nov. 23 against UC Davis.

But giving up 20 offensive rebounds is pretty avoidable and pretty shocking after Tom Izzo called out his big guys following the Purdue loss. The leading defensive rebounder for the Spartans was…point guard Cassius Winston.

This week: at Illinois, home for Minnesota

4. Wisconsin (NET: 11)

The Badgers are in fourth in both the power rankings and standings, but no one has been better over the last couple of weeks. They continue to shut down everyone they play and they’ve established a pretty reputable Big Three in the scoring department with Happ, Brad Davison, and D’Mitrik Trice, with the occasional Nate Reuvers outburst.

Big week for the Badgers coming up.

This week: at Minnesota and Michigan

5. Iowa (NET: 22)

The Hawkeyes won the week by bringing their A+ game Friday night against Michigan. It was by far their best performance defensively of the year. And considering how good the Wolverine defense has been, one of their better offensive showings, as well.

The star of the show was freshman Joe Wieskamp. Wieskamp is a player to keep an eye on down the stretch of the season. He seems to be fine deferring to his older teammates most of the time, but he’s had some big games lately and he’s one of the most efficient players in the league.

This week: at Indiana, home for Northwestern

6. Maryland (NET: 24)

The Terps have hit a bit of a lull in their season, but certainly played much better this week. It’s not a coincidence that they’ve lost three of four and it’s been the lowest four-game scoring stretch of the season for Anthony Cowan.

This is a crucial four games coming up for them. KenPom gives them less than a 50% chance of winning each of them. The Illinois loss set them back by maybe a seed line or two in the NCAA Tournament. While the schedule is tough, it also presents them some opportunities to get back that ground with a good couple of weeks.

This week: at Nebraska

7. Minnesota (NET: 51)

The Gophers missed a big opportunity on Sunday, letting a 13-point second half lead slip away at Purdue. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they’ll have a lot more opportunities and they’re playing well enough right now to win a few of them and secure their NCAA Tournament bid. They’re starting to get more consistency out of freshmen Oturu and Kalscheur, but need to get Dupree McBrayer going again if they’re going to reach their ceiling.

This week: home for Wisconsin, at Michigan State

8. Ohio State (NET: 35)

The biggest news of the week for the Buckeyes was that Kaleb Wesson went a whole game without getting into foul trouble. Not coincidentally, Wesson scored 27 points in that game.

This week: home for Penn State, at Indiana

9. Northwestern (NET: 58)

They got absolutely killed at Maryland.

This week: home for Penn State, at Iowa

10. Illinois (NET: 95)

What a wild season for Kipper Nichols so far. Scored in double figures in 7 of their first 11 games, slowly tapered off, didn’t score for five straight games, and then scored 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting on Saturday.

This week: home for Michigan State and Rutgers

11. Rutgers (NET: 119)

Rutgers at the RAC is pretty scary. Rutgers on the road has not been.

This week: Michigan at home, Illinois on the road

12. Indiana (NET: 44)

I had absolutely no idea what to do with Indiana. Obviously the MSU win was massive, but that still only improved them to 1-7 in their last eight. They also lost to Rutgers this week. We’ll see if the win in East Lansing is a sign that they’ve got the ship turned back around or if it was just an anomaly. If they get a couple wins this week, they’ll move up in a hurry.

This week: home for Iowa and Ohio State

13. Nebraska (NET: 33)

This could be too harsh, but I’m projecting a bit going forward with how they’ve looked without Copeland. They’ve looked bad.

This week: home for Maryland, at Purdue

14. Penn State (NET: 85)

Things are getting pretty cruel for the Nittany Lions.

This week: at Northwestern and Ohio State