Big Ten Power Rankings – January 14, 2021

I was not quite ready to believe in the Michigan hype. I expected them to have their first loss handed to them this week by Wisconsin. What we saw instead was a steady dominance by Michigan for 40 minutes. I buy the hype now. They are one of the top five teams in the country. One thing we are seeing here is a line in the sand being drawn after the top two teams.

1. Michigan (11-0)

The Wolverines have now taken down three straight ranked opponents and they’re making it look easy. A Wisconsin team that is led by five seniors was down by as much as 40 points in the second half. Michigan put up 40 points in the first half and only got 2 points from their best player, Hunter Dickinson. Once he started to get going in the second half, Michigan was able to go on a 22-0 run. This is a tight knit group that seems to never feel like a lead is safe. That makes them a tough team to beat, especially when they are knocking down shots.

2. Iowa (11-2)

The game against Michigan State was postponed this week so Iowa won’t see action again until Sunday. The last time out, they took down Minnesota who put 100 on them just a few weeks ago. The defense looked a lot better in that game, only allowing Minnesota to get to 71. The guards especially did a good job on Marcus Carr, who could not buy a shot from the outside. Luka Garza will continue to get his points but this team winning games solely depends on if the guard’s show up ready to play. Wieskamp and Bohannon combined to shoot 7-10 from deep and scored 39 points.

3. Illinois (9-4)

Another team with a cancelled game this week, Illinois remains at number three. I said earlier that there is a line in the sand after number two because this team does not show the consistency that Iowa and Michigan have. They still have the best player in the conference in Dosunmu. But they just went out and lost to a Maryland team that lost 4 of its last 5 games. The Illini shot only 28% outside of Dosunmu and Cockburn in that game. The inability for the role players to score will always hold this team back in big games.

4. Ohio State (10-3)

Two double digit victories last week with one being on the road catapults the Buckeyes up to fourth for the time being. They shot over 40% from three in both wins led by Duane Washington Jr hitting seven 3’s in the two games. He is stepping up as their leader and scored a career high 23 points against Northwestern. Ohio State will look to jump another spot this weekend when they take on Illinois.

5. Wisconsin (10-3)

D’Mitrik Trice did everything he could to help Wisconsin against Michigan. They just played perfect defense to make him work hard for every point and shut down the bigs. I’m not going to overreact too much but they looked like they gave up during that 22-0 run. The Badgers did a good job to at least finish the game out and get the game back to a 23 point defeat. They have winnable games coming up against Rutgers and Northwestern that can get them back on track before taking on Ohio State.

6. Michigan State (8-4)

Michigan State is now dealing with Covid issues along with hitting the four loss mark in conference. In their last game, they allowed Purdue to come back from down 17 in the second half capped off by Trevion Williams’ game winning shot. He dominated in the second half, scoring 22 of his 26 points, and was left wide open on the inbounds play to end it. The key part of the Spartans game that needs to improve is holding on to the basketball. They committed 14 turnovers, most of which came down the stretch as they gave the lead away.

7. Minnesota (10-4)

Minnesota’s is stuck here in the middle of the power rankings as they continue to face tough competition. They’ve lost three of their last four but all three losses were to top ten teams. Things don’t get any easier Saturday as they take on Michigan but after that they should be able to pile up some wins. They only have one ranked opponent on their schedule after Saturday.

8. Indiana (8-5)

Trayce Jackson-Davis currently sits tied for fourth in the conference in points. He also ranks third in rebounds and third in blocks. He is a great all around player and almost led them to a double OT upset over Wisconsin. You could tell he got a little fatigued as the game wore on and only scored one point in the two OT’s.

9. Rutgers (7-4)

Rutgers continues their downward slide as they lose their third straight and second by double digits. The Scarlet Knights have gone cold from deep and haven’t been able to grab rebounds for second chance points. Geo Baker looks lost out there and is a big reason for this rough stretch. He missed all five of his shots from behind the arc in the loss to Ohio State and has shot 3-18 over the last four games.

10. Purdue (8-5)

I said earlier that this team struggles to score. Although the won the game against Michigan State, they only managed 55 points and shot 12% from three. Luckily for them, Trevion Williams had a great second half and Michigan State went ice cold and turned the ball over.

11. Northwestern (6-5)

This is a terrible stretch of games that is eating the Wildcats alive. They still have Iowa and Wisconsin left before they can face a non-ranked team.

12. Maryland (7-6)

Maryland has a few wins over top teams including their most recent game against Illinois. I think that game said more about Illinois than it did about Maryland. I will give this team some credit. They play hard and give all of the top teams their best shot. If they catch a team on a cold night like they did against Illinois, they can pull off another upset.

13. Penn State (3-4)

The Nittany Lions are on a long Covid hold but will take the court again to take on Purdue on Sunday. They have a chance to get their first Big Ten win if the guards can continue to score how they were before the break.

14. Nebraska (4-8)

I mentioned Trey McGowens last week and completely forgot that Teddy Allen was playing for the Cornhuskers. The former West Virginia guard has had a crazy college basketball career but he is one of the best pure scorers I’ve seen. I hope he can continue to show out for the Cornhuskers. They’re going to miss the next few games with Covid but check out one of their games to see what I’m talking about.

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