Big Ten Week 18 Power Rankings

Power rankings:

1.      Michigan (23-7/15-3) – Beat Illinois 84-53, Beat Indiana 84-80

**Projected NCAA Seed – #2

The Wolverines have all but locked up a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament, but a run at the conference tournament title and a few loses from teams ahead of them could earn them a #1 seed.  This team has overachieved all season long so why should they change now?  If this team get

2.      Wisconsin (25-6/12-6) – Beat Purdue 76-70, Lost to Nebraska 68-77

**Projected NCAA Seed – #2

A #1 seed is not going to happen after the loss at Nebraska, but this team gaining a #2 seed is still quite impressive.  This team is constructed to make a run like no other Bo Ryan team has been able to do.  Maybe this is the year that they win a few games and make the Final Four that has eluded Bo for so many years.

3.      Michigan State (23-8/12-6) – Beat Iowa 86-76, Lost to Ohio State 67-69

**Projected NCAA Seed – #5

Sparty needs to get it together if they are going to make a patented run in the NCAA Tournament.  There just seems to be something wrong with this team that is loaded with talent.  Tom Izzo has done some miracle jobs before, so don’t doubt what he can do when the season is on the line.

4.      Nebraska (19-11/11-7) – Beat Indiana 70-60, Beat Wisconsin 77-68

**Projected NCAA Seed – #10

The Huskers all but locked their ticket up for the big dance with an impressive win over Wisconsin.  Tim Miles not only deserves coach of the Big Ten, but should get consideration for national honors.  Yes this award normally goes to a coach with his team ranked in the Top 10, but if we are basing the award on using the talent that a coach is given, he deserves it.  This team is going to be a very tough out in the NCAA Tourney and nobody is going to want to draw them in the 1st round.

5.      Ohio State (23-8/10-8) – Beat Michigan State 69-67

**Projected NCAA Seed – #6

A good win for Ohio State this week, but they still are going to have to play an extra game in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend.  Purdue shouldn’t give them any trouble, but having to play Nebraska next is going to be tough.  Can Aaron Craft will his team to another run at the Big Ten Tournament title?

6.      Minnesota (19-12/8-10) – Beat Penn State 81-63

**Projected NCAA Seed – NIT

It is very tough to figure this Gopher team out.  They are up and down more than the girls on The Bachelor.  If they are going to make it to the big dance they are going to have to make a run in the Big Ten Tourney.  If they can beat Penn State and Michigan State they should put enough pressure on the committee to give them a shot.  It is time for the Hollins brothers to step up when the games really matter.

7.      Iowa (20-11/9-9) – Lost to Michigan State 76-86, Lost to Illinois 63-66

**Projected NCAA Seed – #7

Remember when this team was 8-4 in the conference and we were talking about them having the best chance to catch Michigan and Michigan State?  They have dive-bombed by losing five out of their final six games with their only win against bottom feeder Purdue.  An early exit in the Big Ten Tournament may mean a drop to an 8 or even 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  I don’t think they are going to lose their ticket, but they shouldn’t have made us even think about it.

8.      Indiana (17-14/7-11) – Lost to Nebraska 60-70, Lost to Michigan 80-84

**Projected NCAA Seed – NIT

The nail has been secured in the Hoosier’s coffin unless they can make the run at the Big Ten Tourney Championship.  That goes for all the teams remaining on this list, but Indiana is the only one that has a chance to pull it off.  Yes this chance isn’t very big, but stranger things have happened.  The one-on-one game has to be eliminated and this team has to rally together though for that to happen.  I’m not sure if Yogi Ferrell has that unselfishness in him.

9.      Illinois (18-13/7-11) – Lost to Michigan 53-84, Beat Iowa 66-63

**Projected NCAA Seed – NIT

A much better finish to the conference season, but this team has a bright future.  Look for them to build on the late season momentum and make a run at the conference next season.

10.  Penn State (15-16/6-12) – Beat Northwestern 59-32, Lost to Minnesota 63-81

**Projected NCAA Seed – N/A

Where to go from here?  Losing Tim Frazier is a huge blow for this team and without top recruits coming in this team is going to struggle for a while.

11.  Northwestern (13-18/6-12) – Lost to Penn State 32-59, Beat Purdue 74-65

**Projected NCAA Seed – N/A

Drew Crawford may not make it in the NBA, but he deserves a ton of respect for how he went about his career at Northwestern.  He is a class act and played his heart out for a team that was outmatched almost every night.  For his sake I hope some team gives him a chance to earn a spot.

12.  Purdue (15-16/5-13) – Lost to Wisconsin 70-76, Lost to Northwestern 65-74

**Projected NCAA Seed – N/A

The wheels fell off for the Boilermakers as the season went along.  There is a lot of work to do in the off-season, but they have the talent to improve next season.  AJ Hammons needs to work on his conditioning and come in next season ready to compete for the conference player of the year.

 

Team of the week: The Nebraska Cornhuskers needed to win every game the rest of the way out, and they responded.  A win in the Big Ten Tourney will lock them up for sure, but this team is playing great basketball down the stretch and are tired of being overlooked.  I would have loved to be in Tim Miles head when he started this season.  Did he really think it was possible to finish in the Top 4 of this extremely tough conference?  Whether or not he believed it, this team is a force to be reckoned with.  And the scary thing for Big Ten teams is that they are going to return all their key players next season.

Player of the week:  Shavon Shields answered the call for his bubble team, and may just have delivered them off the bubble.  In two must-win games for the Huskers, Shields took matters into his own hands.  He was aggressive early and often and was quite successful finishing near the rim.  He finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds against Indiana and in the regular season finale he led the Huskers to an upset of #9 Wisconsin.  He finished with 26 points and was a thorn in the Badger’s side all night long.  Their inability to stop the drive gave him several opportunities that he didn’t take for granted.

-Other Top Performers: Terran Petteway (NEB), Nik Stauskas (MICH), Frank Kaminsky (WIS)

Random Stat of the Week:  Wisconsin is opening the Big Ten Tournament with a 1st round bye for the 14th consecutive season.  That is the longest streak in conference history.

 

My Big Ten Tournament Bracket:

 1st Round:

8 Indiana vs. 9 Illinois 

5 Ohio State vs. 12 Purdue

7 Minnesota vs. 10 Penn State              

6 Iowa vs. 11 Northwestern

2nd Round:

1 Michigan vs. 8 Indiana

4 Nebraska vs. 5 Ohio State

2 Wisconsin vs. 7 Minnesota

3 Michigan State vs. 6 Iowa

3rd Round:

1 Michigan vs. 4 Nebraska

2 Wisconsin vs. 6 Iowa

Championship:

2 Wisconsin vs. 4 Nebraska

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