Your Way-Too-Early Big Ten 2014-15 Power Rankings

Posted by Brendan Brody on April 10th, 2014

The Big Ten was once again a juggernaut during the 2013-14 campaign, as the league was arguably the best conference in America, or at worst second behind the Big 12. There were six teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, three of which made the Elite Eight, and the league was also the home of the NIT Champion. One thing that cannot be disputed is that the bottom half of the league’s teams were much better. This meant that some games that were considered big upsets early became much less surprising as the season went on. With this year in the books, the league is set to add newcomers Maryland and Rutgers to the mix for 2014-15. With 14 teams and a plethora of players slated to return, it’s time to construct some kind of pecking order as we head into the long offseason.

Look for Nigel Hayes to take on a much bigger role for Wisconsin next season. (AP)

Look for Nigel Hayes to take on a much bigger role for Wisconsin next season. (AP)

  1. Wisconsin: The Badgers are only projected to lose starting guard Ben Brust right now. Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky could both leave school, but neither is anything close to a certain first round pick. If they return, the Badgers would have four upperclassmen starters in the lineup, plus sophomores Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes ready to take on bigger roles. This team could be scary.
  2. Michigan: While the Wisconsin situation looks much more settled, Michigan is an absolute wild card at this point. The Wolverines could very well lose any combination of Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III. Stauskas is the only player who is thought to be a certain first-rounder, however, and a team that brings back Robinson, McGary, Caris LeVert, and Derrick Walton Jr. could easily build off of their Elite Eight appearance and battle Wisconsin for the league title.
  3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have the best recruiting class in the Big Ten coming in, with D’Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jae’Sean Tate on the majority of the top 100 lists. Combine this infusion of young talent with a solid group of upperclassmen and graduate transfer Anthony Lee coming in from Temple, and Ohio State should be better next year than it was in 2013-14. Read the rest of this entry »
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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Final Regular Season Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 12th, 2013

Congratulations to UCLA, who managed to take home the Pac-12 regular season title and our final top spot in our final regular season power rankings. Arizona follows closely behind, using a blowout win of rival Arizona State to jump up three places. California comes in as a nearly unanimous pick at the three spot, with only Drew differing and picking the Golden Bears second. The Golden Bears held steady after a disappointing home loss to Stanford last Wednesday. Oregon, Colorado, and Stanford make up the second tier of our rankings. The Ducks dropped two spots after a head-scratching two losses in the Rockies, while Colorado split its week against the Oregon schools. Stanford was one of our biggest jumpers in the final week of the regular season after the aforementioned upset of Cal. Arizona State, USC, Washington, Washington State, Utah, and Oregon State round out the remainder of the rankings.

 

Rank School Record Last Week Δ CP PB AB AM Up Next
1 UCLA 23-8 1 - 2 1 1 1 TBD
2 Arizona 24-6 5 ^3 1 2 2 3 TBD
3 California 20-10 3 - 3 2 3 2 TBD
4 Oregon 23-8 2 v2 4 4 4 4 TBD
5 Colorado 20-10 4 ^1 6 5 5 5 vs Oregon St
6 Stanford 18-13 9 ^3 5 9 6 6 vs Arizona St
7 Arizona St 20-11 7 - 8 8 7 7 vs Stanford
8 USC 14-17 6 v2 9 6 8 8 vs Utah
9 Washington 17-14 8 v1 7 7 9 9 vs Wash St
T10 Wash State 13-18 12 ^2 10 11 10 12 vs Wash
T10 Utah 13-17 11 ^1 11 10 11 11 vs USC
12 Oregon St 14-17 10 v2 12 12 12 10 vs Colorado

 

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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Ten

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on January 11th, 2013

This is the tenth installment of our weekly Big Ten Power Rankings which we will publish each Friday. This week’s voters were Deepak Jayanti, Joey Nowak and Kevin Trahan of the Big Ten Microsite.

1) Michigan (Last week #1): The Wolverines are one of the hottest teams in the nation right now, and after cruising against Northwestern last week, they did the same against Iowa. John Beilein’s squad struggled with Nebraska but they got the win and a game like that may be a good gut-check for a young team. Ultimately, Michigan is in this spot because it passes the “eye test” and has one of the best teams from a shooting perspective in the country. A game at Ohio State this weekend looms, followed by a trip to Minnesota, so we’ll soon find out what this Michigan team is made of on the road, especially with so many young players contributing, such as Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III.

Nik Stauskas(left) has been very effective for the Wolverines so far.

Nik Stauskas(left) has been very effective for the Wolverines so far.

Player Stepping Up: Trey Burke would be the obvious choice here, but Nik Stauskas (13.5 PPG) has also emerged to give Michigan yet another top scoring option. He’s one of the best pure shooters in the league even though he’s just a freshman, and has stepped up huge from the start. His long-range shooting is off the charts and he will continue to be effective with all the open looks he will continue to receive in John Beilein’s offense.

2) Minnesota (Last week #3): We have seen enough from the Gophers so far to move them slightly above the Hoosiers. Indiana’s road win at Iowa was impressive but that was against a young Hawkeyes team, while the Gophers’ road win in Champaign was even more noteworthy because they were able to hold the Illini guards to 13% shooting from beyond the arc. Trevor Mbakwe is back in the starting lineup and Tubby Smith has his team playing an excellent brand of disciplined basketball this season.

Player Stepping Up: Dre Hollins (13.7 PPG) is the leading scorer for Smith but Joe Coleman came to play in Champaign as he torched the Illini with 29 points. He was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and was very active in transition to push the tempo in the huge road win. He may end up being a nice complement to Hollins if he continues to come up big in key games.

3) Indiana (Last week #2):  Indiana drops a spot in the power rankings, not so much because of what it has (or hasn’t) done, but more because of how impressive Minnesota has been to this point. The Hoosiers got by Iowa on the road and took care of Penn State, but lack a “wow” conference win because of who they have played. They’ll get the opportunity for such a win with Minnesota visiting Assembly Hall this weekend. It will be an impressive match-up of frontcourts, and Cody Zeller needs to step up after a good-but-not-great start.

Player Stepping Up: Many people expected Zeller to be the star of this team, but so far, that title belongs to Victor Oladipo (13.3 PPG), who has dazzled teams in just about every phase of the game. He’s especially deadly with his pressure defense and effectiveness on the break. He’s improved a lot from last season and could be the key for IU to be successful against Minnesota next week.

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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Eight

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on December 28th, 2012

This is the eighth installment of our weekly Big Ten Power Rankings which we will publish each Friday. This week’s voters were Deepak Jayanti, Joey Nowak and Kevin Trahan of the Big Ten Microsite.

John Beilein's Wolverines are the best team in the B1G heading into the conference season.(AnnArbor.com/Lon Horwedel)

John Beilein’s Wolverines are the best team in the B1G heading into the conference season.(AnnArbor.com/Lon Horwedel)

  1. #2 Michigan - The Wolverines took care of business in the non-conference season and head into the Big Ten slate in good position, ranking No. 2 in the country. The Michigan freshmen needed hardly any time to grow accustomed to the college game, and the backcourt — particularly Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. — is widely regarded as the best in the nation. There are still concerns about the frontcourt, however. Can Jordan Morgan improve his production in conference play this year? Can Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary continue their impressive starts with tougher teams looming? That remains to be seen, but the Wolverines certainly have the pieces in place for a special year. (Last week: No. 1)
  2. #5 Indiana – Indiana still plays Jacksonville Friday night before Big Ten play begins, but assuming no slip-up there, they’ll head into conference play with just one loss. The Hoosiers certainly have enough weapons to win a national title, but their failure to get their top weapons in the game for the full 40 minutes — like the failure to fully utilize Cody Zeller against Butler — could hurt them at some point. They’ll get a stern test to begin conference play as they head to Iowa City to take on an upstart Iowa team that could pose problems due to its depth. That game will be a good barometer to see just how much Indiana has improved since the Butler loss. (Last week: No. 2)
  3. #12 Minnesota – The Gophers make the big leap in this week’s power rankings because Ohio State and Illinois lost over the weekend. Tubby Smith’s crew has one loss to the top ranked team in the country (Duke) and has been very impressive in every other game. When you beat formidable opponents such as Memphis and Florida State but only lose to the best team in America, you’ve had a great non-conference season. But the Gophers can’t rest easy because they have a great opportunity to knock off a very good Michigan State squad at home on New Year’s Eve. At this point, the Gophers are a legitimate contender to win the Big Ten if they take care of business in Minneapolis. (Last week: No. 5)
  4. #11 Ohio State - We dropped the Buckeyes because they lost to Kansas and they may have trouble in the conference season if they can’t find a consistent second scoring option. Aaron Craft (8.9 PPG) impacts the game in other ways than just scoring, but one of Shannon Scott (7.2 PPG) or Laquinton Ross (9.1 PPG) needs to  step into that scoring role for Thad Matta. The first three games of their B1G schedule are winnable games – Nebraska, Purdue and Illinois – if the Buckeyes can manage to put up 60 points on the board. (Last week: No. 3) Read the rest of this entry »
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Introducing the Pac-12 Preseason Power Rankings

Posted by AMurawa on November 9th, 2012

Well, it’s finally here. After the interminable offseason, we’ve finally got hoops back. Over the last month or so, and really, dating back throughout the summer, we’ve run down all the Pac-12 teams in as much detail as we could muster. Now, with real live basketball just hours away, it is time to unveil our preseason power rankings. Between Connor Pelton, Kevin Danna, Parker Baruh and myself, we’ve cobbled together the following rankings. Below those, I’ll take you through each team and tell you why my picks are better than the choices my colleagues made.

  1. Arizona – Three out of the four of us take the Wildcats to win the conference, and there’s nothing wrong with that pick. With veteran leaders like Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom paired with returning youngsters like Nick Johnson and Angelo Chol, bolstered by an elite recruiting class featuring three different talented big guys, the Wildcats are the safe pick to win the Pac-12.
  2. UCLA – I, however, am going with upside in picking a conference champion. While Arizona may be safe, if everything falls into place for UCLA, they’ve got national championship talent. Now, of course, there are numerous obstacles to everything falling into place, starting with project number one: getting Shabazz Muhammad eligible. The range of possible records for the Bruins is vast, but I’m going to gamble on the league’s most talented roster.
  3. Colorado – Maybe we’ve all been blinded by CU’s fantastic run through an admittedly weak Pac-12 tourney at the end of the year last year, but the four of us seem more bullish on the Buffaloes than the voters in the media poll. Guys like Andre Roberson, Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie are sort of known entities, but if the strong freshman class, led by Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson live up to expectations, it could be another great year in Boulder. Read the rest of this entry »
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Pac-12 Final Power Rankings

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 6th, 2012

1. California (23-8, 13-5) Projected NCAA Seed: #10

Here it is, the only team locked into the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens this week in Los Angeles. With only eight losses and wins against Oregon and Washington on the road and Colorado at home, even a loss to or Stanford or Arizona State on Thursday wouldn’t knock them out of the Tournament. However, I could see them moving up to a nine seed (which is exactly like an eight) if they win two games at Staples and have teams in front of them (Long Beach State, Alabama, and Kansas State, to name a few) lose early on in their respective conference tournaments. While we could see any team from Cal to UCLA win the Pac-12 Tournament, the Golden Bears are the definite favorite coming in. They’ve got a near-elite to elite player in Allen Crabbe, and with a supporting cast made up of Jorge Gutierrez, Justin Cobbs, and a sleeper player that I think will come alive this week, Emerson Murray, the Golden Bears have unrivaled depth in this conference.

Allen Crabbe, California

Allen Crabbe and The Cal Bears Appear To Be Headed To The Big Dance (Ben Margot/AP)

2. Oregon (22-8, 13-5), NIT

The Ducks remain on the outside looking in heading into the Tournament, but I’m of the belief that if they win two games and play in the Pac-12 Championship, regardless of what happens there, the Ducks will be included in the field of 68. Oregon has been on the bubble for the better part of conference play, but the real noise in Eugene began when it went down to the desert and took both games from the Arizona schools. Before that trip, Oregon was embarrassed by a 77-60 loss to California at home. Since then it has gone 11-3, with the biggest margin of defeat coming in a 76-71 loss at home against rival Oregon State. Besides Cal, the Ducks have the best chance to make a run in the Pac-12 Tournament; it’s almost like their team was built for it. To win any college basketball tournament, whether it is the Maui Invitational or NIT, you need to be able to shoot lights out, and two, have depth off the bench. As of late, the Ducks have been making everything they put up, and they put up a lot of shots. Watch for Devoe Joseph, E.J. Singler, and Garrett Sim to go off on any given night, considering all three are capable of creating and making their own shot. Look for junior forward Carlos Emory to have a big tournament coming off the bench.

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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week Five

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 12th, 2011

Here’s a look at the power rankings that Drew and I have compiled after the fifth week of Pac-12 games. Here we go!

1. Stanford, 8-1: The Cardinal hold steady at number one despite taking the week off to study for finals. Why then, you might be wondering, do they get all of THIS week off as well? Those brainiacs on the bay needed a full week just to study, and they will take the actual exams this week. Up Next: 12.17 vs. San Diego

Aaron Bright leads the Cardinal with 12.2 PPG. (credit: Patrick McDermott)

2. California, 8-2: The Golden Bears move up two spots after picking up a pair of blowout victories. The first came Wednesday night, an 81-36 beat down of in-state rival San Jose State. And yesterday, it was Jackson State who was the unlucky recipient of a 73-46 loss. Up Next: 12.16 vs. Weber State

3, Oregon State, 6-2: The Beavers suffered their first setback of the season (it was bound to happen sometime) on Friday as Idaho came into Corvallis and stole a 74-60 win. The game did come just 48 hours after the death of Fred Thompson, another student athlete at Oregon State. Still, the Beavers have to do a better job of recognizing and then fighting through screens against good three-point shooting teams. Up Next: 12.13 vs. Illinois-Chicago

4. Arizona, 7-3: It wasn’t a terrible week for Arizona, but it could have been a lot better. The Wildcats opened up the week on Tuesday in Gainesville, where they fell to 12th-ranked Florida by six in overtime. The Cats did bounce back in fine fashion, beating a solid Clemson team by 16 on Saturday. Up Next: 12.17 vs. Gonzaga in Seattle

5. Oregon, 5-2: The Ducks kept up their tradition Saturday of beating bad teams in the ugliest way possible. This time it was Fresno State, who came into Eugene with a 4-5 record. The Bulldogs hung with Oregon all night long, but lack of execution down the stretch resulted in a 74-70 loss. Up Next: 12.12 vs. Portland State

6. Washington, 4-4: An 0-2 week is never good, but Washington has to feel better than they did last week. The Huskies hung with #11 Marquette and #5 Duke (both in New York City) before poor finishes doomed them. Up Next: 12.16 vs. UC Santa Barbara Read the rest of this entry »

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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week One

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 14th, 2011

Here’s a look at the power rankings that Drew and I have compiled after the first week of games. Here we go!

1. California, 2-0: The preseason favorite Golden Bears rolled in their first two games of the season. On Friday night they faced an overmatched and undertalented UC Irvine team where Allen Crabbe led California with 24 points. Last night they faced George Washington in the regional round of the CBE Classic, thrashing the Colonials for an 81-54 victory. Up Next: 11.15 vs Austin Peay

Crabbe led all Golden bears with 24 points in Friday's win (credit: Jeff Gross)

2. Arizona, 3-0: After a loss and a closer-than-comfort win in its two exhibitions, all eyes were on Tucson this week to see how the Cats would perform in their first three games. They didn’t overwhelm any of their mid-major opponents by any means, but eight-, nine-, and ten-point victories over some reasonably solid competition earns them the second slot in our power poll. Up Next: 11.17 vs St. John’s in New York City

3. Washington, 2-0: The Huskies have won the first two games of the World Vision Classic and will go for the sweep tonight. Shooting guard C.J. Wilcox has led the team in both of its victories, going for 22 points against Georgia State and 19 points against Florida Atlantic. Combo guard Tony Wroten, Jr., as expected, has led the plethora of newcomers with 12.5 PPG. Up Next: 11.14 vs Portland

4. USC, 1-0: Despite only defeating a bad Cal State Northridge by seven points on Friday night, the Trojans come in at fourth in our power rankings. Three players, Aaron Fuller, Dewayne Dedmon, and Maurice Jones all led SC with 16 points a piece. Dedmon had the most impressive performance though, adding eight blocks and three rebounds to his stat line. Up Next: 11.14 vs Nebraska

5. Stanford, 1-0: The Cardinal gave Central Arkansas a rude awakening in their first game as a fully eligible Division I team, drilling the Bears 91-52. Aaron Bright led five Cardinal players in double figures with 16 points and four assists. Up Next: 11.14 vs Fresno State

T6. UCLA, 0-1: UCLA had a terrible loss to open up the season, a 69-58 defeat at the hands of Loyola Marymount at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins looked inept on offense but the defense was even worse, letting LMU shoot 66.7% (10-15) from behind the arc. If the Bruins want to live up to the expectations that have been set for them, they need to improve that perimeter defense. Up Next: 11.15 vs Middle Tennessee Read the rest of this entry »

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