November 20, 2013 / 11:20 am

Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings Week 2

 

1. Michigan State Spartans (9), 4-0, Average: 1, High/Low: 1

What They’re Saying:  “Michigan State has suffered from a two-game Kentucky hangover, struggling to get by Columbia and Portland. But I don’t have any concerns about Tom Izzo’s squad. They sit atop college basketball’s rankings at No. 1 and they sit atop my Big Ten rankings for the second straight week.” –Kevin Schaefer

“In their two games since Kentucky, Michigan State struggled against Columbia and Portland, but this is understandable. It is hard to get up for opponents like these two after playing in a game like Kentucky this early in the year. The Spartans will continue to improve, and being able to pull those two close games out show they deserve to be atop my rankings.” –Ethan Gaba

2. Ohio State Buckeyes, 3-0, Average: 2.2, High/Low: 2/3

What They’re Saying:  “Ohio State proved in Saturday’s 52-35 win over No. 17 Marquette that their defense is as stifling as any team in the country. The Buckeyes held Marquette, which was averaging 88.5 points per game going into the matchup, to a 10-53 (18.9 percent) performance from the field and held starters to a ridiculous 12 points. Shannon Scott will be the most improved player in the Big Ten, get familiar with him.” – Kevin Hyland

“A very impressive victory over No. 17 Marquette is a great sign for the Buckeyes going forward. With Aaron Craft leading the way, Ohio State will have a good opportunity to make noise in this year’s B1G.” –Matthew Dlugie

3. Wisconsin Badgers, 4-0, Average: 2.88, High/Low: 2/4

What They’re Saying:  “The Badgers are the only other team to beat a top-15 ranked opponent (Florida) besides the Spartans, and after an electrifying performance by junior forward Frank Kaminsky, who scored 43 points to set the school shooting record in an 103-85 win over North Dakota, this team looks scary good.” –Tori Ziege

“The big win for the Badgers came last week against No. 11 Florida. Wisconsin started off slow but was able to make a second half rally resulting in a win. They made a big jump in the rankings this week as well, moving from 20 to 12. This is going to be a classic Bo Ryan team. I expect them to be a team that likes to grind out possessions late into the shot clock and will pride themselves on defense. Keep your eyes on Sam Dekker and Traevon Jackson. They will be the go to guys this season for the Badgers.” –Lucas Corley

4. Michigan Wolverines, 2-1, Average: 4.55, High/Low: 4/6

What They’re Saying: “A tough loss this weekend for the Wolverines. Iowa State is not bad, but Michigan should have been able to win. They will have to bounce back because they take on Duke and Arizona in December.” –Andrew Vailliencourt

“No need to overreact to a close early season loss, especially one on the road in which the team’s best player is out due to injury. With Mitch McGary back, this team will be fine.” –Kevin Hyland

5. Iowa Hawkeyes, 4-0, Average: 5, High/Low: 3/6

What They’re Saying: “The Hawkeyes have played a weak schedule thus far, but they are taking care of business. If you take out a somewhat off-game against Nebraska-Omaha, they are beating their opponents by an average of 50.3 points. A remarkable seven players are averaging at least 7 points per game for Fran McCaffery’s squad led by Aaron White and Roy Devyn Marble.” –Kevin Schaefer

“Another team who can light up the box-score, Iowa had two dominating 100+ outputs against their opponents and are on the cusp of cracking the AP Top 25, receiving 122 votes, the most by any non-ranked team.” –Tori Ziege

6. Indiana Hoosiers, 4-0, Average: 5.44, High/Low: 4/7

What They’re Saying:  “Indiana this past week was fun to watch, and looked much improved from the first week of the season. Noah Vonleh has shown why he was looked as the best offensive rebounder in his class, and Crean has realized how to get the ball to his big man. If they can figure out their free throw shooting the Hoosiers will be a tough team to beat considering their speed, and the new emphasis on touch fouls.” –Ethan Gaba

“After a scare from LIU Brooklyn last week, the Hoosiers handled this week quite nicely. Freshmen Noah Vonleh is emerging on to the national scene after averaging a double-double in each of his first four collegiate games. We will get a better look at this team later this week when they take on Washington and (most likely) UConn.” –Kevin Schaefer

7. Illinois Fighting Illini, 4-0, Average: 7.55, High/Low: 6/9

What They’re Saying: “ I am still relatively uncertain about John Groce’s squad. They’ve done what they need to in their first four games. However, they won’t see any real competition until the Big Ten/ACC challenge when they play Georgia Tech. Even that game doesn’t seem to be much of a test. The real test for the Illini comes against Oregon on December 14th. Then we will see if the Illini are a contender or if there are quacks in the armor (excuse my bad pun).” –Lucas Corley

“Still reeling from the Cliff Alexander incident (http://deadspin.com/cliff-alexander-fakes-out-illinois-commits-to-kansas-i-1465434880), the Fighting Illini are going to have to make some noise in conference play if they want a chance at competing in the Chicago recruiting game.” –Matthew Dlugie

8. Minnesota Golden Gophers, 4-0, Average: 7.66, High/Low: 7/9

What They’re Saying: “This is a team that is always hard to predict. Andre Hollins is playing out of his mind, and has a chance to do big things this season. Their first true test will come next week when they play Syracuse.” –Andrew Vailliencourt

“Don’t overlook the importance of the Golden Gophers win over Richmond. I don’t usually like to compare teams based on wins, but the Spiders did defeat Belmont who recently upset UNC. Richmond also tends to field a good team so this is a good win for Richard Pitino and Minnesota. I can’t wait to see how the Gophers play Syracuse at home on November 25. The downfall off the Gophers may be their lack of road experience come Big Ten play. Their game against Richmond is their only on the road until January 8 against Penn State.” –Lucas Corley

9. Purdue Boilermakers, 4-0, Average: 9, High/Low: 7/10

What They’re Saying: “Of Purdue’s three wins this season, two have come by four points or less. A narrow one-point escape over Northern Kentucky in the season opener and more recently a four point win against Rider. The Boilers are struggling, but once the find a groove they could be dangerous. A.J. Hammons has just come back from suspension, Terone and Ronnie Johnson look much improved, and a few graduate seniors that have transferred in make Purdue a team to keep your eye on as we get further into the season.” –Lucas Corley

“At least they are better than their football team.” –Matthew Dlugie

10. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 3-0,  Average: 10.11, High/Low: 9/12

What They’re Saying: “The Cornhuskers took the slipper off of Cinderella’s foot with their win over last year’s NCAA surprise Florida Gulf Coast. The 79-55 win was the first in the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Shavon Shields looks like he is ready to have a standout sophomore season as he is already averaging 17 points per game and shooting an astounding 90% from the line. If Nebraska can finish inside the top ten of the conference this year, I would consider their season a success. But, it is still early.” –Lucas Corley

11. Penn State Nittany Lions, 2-1, Average: 10.66, High/Low: 10/11

What They’re Saying: “Haven’t done anything to this point, but just like they did last year, PSU could find a way to upset a team or two.” –Matthew Dlugie

“As I said last week, rebounding will be and has been an issue for PSU. They are only out rebounding their opponents by a little over three boards a game. That won’t cut it come conference play. A home loss to Bucknell seemed very Penn State-like to say the least, and despite having talented guards, this team seems destined for a long season.” –Lucas Corley

12. Northwestern Wildcats, 1-2, Average: 11.88, High/Low: 11/12

What They’re Saying: “Northwestern has never made the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern hasn’t finished in the top four of the Big Ten or had a winning record in conference play in the last 45 years. Don’t expect any of these things to happen this year.” –Kevin Hyland

“Two bad losses puts them easily at the bottom of the conference. You can understand a loss to Stanford, but Illinois State? C’mon.” –Andrew Vailliencourt

The Big Ten Power Rankings consist of WIUX personalities Sam Rumpza, Tori Ziege, Kevin Hyland, Andy Wittry, Lucas Corley, Matt Dlugie, Ethan Gaba, Andrew Vailliencourt, and Kevin Schaefer.