B1G in the Rankings: 12/23

Matthew Holst

With a fresh batch of college basketball rankings released, we take a look at how the Big Ten fares.

The latest AP and Coaches Polls were released yesterday, and the boat is steady as far as the Big Ten is concerned. Here are our conference representatives in this week's polls:

AP Top 25

  • #3 Ohio State
  • #4 Wisconsin
  • #5 Michigan State
  • #22 Iowa
  • "#27" Illinois
  • "#32" Michigan

USA Today Coaches Poll

  • #3 Ohio State
  • #5 Michigan State
  • #6 Wisconsin
  • #23 Iowa
  • "#34" Michigan
  • "#35" Illinois

Reaction:

There wasn't much movement at the top, as Wisconsin and Michigan State held their ground in both polls and Ohio State dipped slightly to #3 in the Coaches Poll after being tied for #2 last week. Iowa jumped several teams this week after losses by teams above them, and Illinois received some well-earned votes after big win against Missouri.

#3 Ohio State benefitted greatly from its late-game heroics against Notre Dame on Saturday, scoring 14 points in the final minute to erase an 8-point deficit and remain perfect on the season. #5 Michigan State got it done at the charity-stripe against Texas, going 27-for-33 and picking up an impressive road win considering their current injury/illness issues. Perhaps the biggest win when considering the stakes belonged to Illinois. Without this Missouri win, the non-conference resume for the Illini packed little punch and would not have stacked up well with other teams if they were stuck on the bubble around March. Instead, they pick up what is easily their best win of the young season and build some momentum heading into conference play.

That's how the voters view the Big Ten, but how do the teams stack up in the world of advanced metrics? Let's take a look:

KenPom RPI BPI Sagarin Average
Wisconsin 7 1 1 6 3.75
Ohio State 2 11 7 4 6
Michigan State 11 15 17 8 12.75
Iowa 13 26 13 7 14.75
Minnesota 34 25 34 41 33.5
Illinois 51 9 32 44 34
Michigan 22 103 33 23 45.25
Indiana 48 85 67 55 63.75
Nebraska 90 53 76 90 77.25
Penn State 83 88 59 80 77.5
Purdue 86 74 102 84 86.5
Northwestern 116 114 125 130 121.25

Compared to the human polls, when averaged out the metrics suggest that Michigan State is a bit overrated at this point, Iowa deserves more love, and Illinois and Michigan shouldn't be receiving votes just yet. RPI haters can point to Michigan as just another example of its flaws, with a ranking 70+ slots lower than the others for the Wolverines (and believe it or not, Michigan's RPI has improved by about 40 recently). RPI also loves Illinois, though the other metrics fall more in line with where the coaches and AP have them.

How do the polls stack up with your own hierarchy? Should we embrace the stats or throw them out the window? Is Northwestern that far behind the rest of the pack? Let us know!

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