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Monday, January 28, 2008

BTC Power Rankings IV

1. Michigan State Spartans 17-2 (6-1) (Previous #3)
This week: 1/30-vs Illinois, 2/2-at Penn State
Michigan State jumps two positions to claim the top spot in this week's poll thanks in large part to losses by Indiana and Wisconsin over the weekend. The Spartans beat up on the bottom of the conference this week with wins over Northwestern and Michigan. If the Spartans could ever figure out a way to cut down on turnovers, they would be an amazingly efficient team. Michigan State continues to turn the ball over at a very high rate, nearly 22% of their possessions (only Iowa gives away possessions at a higher percentage).

2. Indiana Hoosiers 17-2 (6-0) (Previous #1)
This week: 1/31-at Wisconsin, 2/3-vs Northwestern
The Hoosiers dropped a non-conference game to UConn on Saturday; a loss that snapped Indiana's 29-game home winning streak. IU is still undefeated in conference play but have yet to play anyone in the top five of the Big Ten. All of that will end on Wednesday with a trip to Madison to face the Badgers.

3. Wisconsin Badgers 16-3 (6-1) (Previous #2)
This week: 1/31-vs Indiana, 2/3-at Minnesota
Wisconsin traveled to West Lafayette on Saturday to get a "closer look" at the Purdue team we looked at on Friday. The Badgers and everybody who watched the game found out these young Boilers are for real, so how can we still have Wisconsin ranked higher? Remember, these are "Power Rankings" and despite the 4-point loss, we still feel if these teams met on a neutral court the Badgers would be favored.

4. Purdue Boilermakers 15-5 (6-1) (Previous #4)
This week: 1/30-vs Iowa, 2/2-at Illinois
The Boilermakers have won five straight games in conference and have proven themselves worthy of being mentioned in the same group as the Big Ten's top three. Purdue continues to take care of the ball on offense, they had just 12 turnovers against a solid Wisconsin defense, as they continue their ascent up the conference standings. The Boilers are looking more and more like an NCAA Tournament team with each game.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes 14-6 (5-2) (Previous #5)
This week: 1/29-at Penn State, 2/2-at Iowa
Ohio State took care of business at home this past week with wins over Illinois and Minnesota. The Buckeyes will now head back on the road with games at Penn State and Iowa this week. If the season ended today, we'd also have Ohio State in the Big Dance.

6. Iowa Hawkeyes 10-11 (3-5) (Previous #7)
This week: 1/30-at Purdue, 2/2-vs Ohio State
So this Lickliter guy might be able to coach, eh? After looking like a JV team for most of the non-conference, Iowa has turned things around and actually won 3 of their last 5 conference games despite having the worst offense in the Big Ten. Does that say more about Iowa or more about the weakness of the Big Ten? Probably a little of both. The Hawkeyes have really started to play well on the defensive end, and yes, the bottom half of the Big Ten is terrible.

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers 12-6 (2-4) (Previous #6)
This week: 1/31-at Michigan, 2/3-vs Wisconsin
Minnesota has dropped three straight against the likes of Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State. None of those are bad losses, but at some point you have to beat somebody and Minnesota has not. The Gophers have not won a game against any team ranked in Pomeroy's Top 100 this season. To date, Minnesota's best win came at Iowa State on November 20th. Losing close to good teams is not exactly how you build a tournament resume.

8. Illinois Fighting Illini 9-11 (2-6) (Previous #8)
This week: 1/30-at Michigan State, 2/2-vs Purdue
Will Illinois' destruction of Northwestern on Sunday help spark a team in massive need of a jump start? We shall find out soon as Illinois is looking at Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana in their next three games. An ugly season could get even uglier with those opponents waiting in the wings.

9. Penn State Nittany Lions 10-9 (2-5) (Previous #8)
This week: 1/29-vs Ohio State, 2/2-vs Michigan State
We said that Penn State's season technically ended at the same time Geary Claxton's season was cut short due to injury. Five straight losses has helped make that prediction look accurate. The Nittany Lions would have competed for a postseason bid with Claxton, but without their best all-around player they simply do not have the firepower.

10.Michigan Wolverines 5-14 (1-7) (Previous #10)
This week: 1/31-vs Minnesota
Michigan has lost 9 of their last 10 with the only win being against Northwestern. The Wolverines have been bad in recent memory, but it's still strange to see the once prominent Big Ten power struggling so badly.

11.Northwestern Wildcats 6-10 (0-7) (Previous #11)
This week: 1/30-vs Texas-Pan America, 2/3-at Indiana
How many years is Bill Carmody going to get at Northwestern? I realize that it is Northwestern and nobody has nor probably will be successful there, but isn't it about time to try something else? Anything else?

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