Big Ten Bracketology: Iowa Looking Good, Indiana and Purdue Surviving

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

We take our first look at the Big Ten and how it's teams are faring when it comes to the postseason.

While this is our first look at Big Ten Bracketology, it's probably still a tad bit early to get a really good feel on some of the teams (but hey, we'll give it a go). While it's pretty safe to say teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa are all in, the rest is more or less up in the air. A lot of people have Michigan as a team that's in, especially after a 3-0 conference start. However, their Big Ten schedule opened with a pretty easy start so it remains to be seen how they'll play versus the upper Big Ten without McGary. Likewise, Illinois looked like a NCAA team until they played a horrid 40 minutes against Northwestern, losing a game that the Wildcats were seemingly trying to giveaway at the end. Then we have teams like Indiana and Purdue, both of which faced must wins this past week versus the bottom of the Big Ten (Penn State, Nebraska), while Minnesota blew another chance at a marquee win against Michigan State. Either way, let's take a look at the conference.

Currently In

Wisconsin

Record 16-0 (3-0)
RPI 1
SOS 5
Non-Conf. RPI 5
Non-Conf. SOS 21
Average RPI WIn 108
Average RPI Loss n/a
Vs. 1-50 6-0
Vs. 51-100 3-0
Vs. 101-200 5-0
Vs. 201+ 2-0
Key Wins Florida, Saint Louis, Iowa, Illinois
Key Losses None
Upcoming Games at Indiana, Michigan

Wisconsin is currently at the top of the Big Ten, has the #1 RPI, has a top five strength of schedule and six wins against the RPI top 50. The only question is if they'll continue their hot streak well into February and March. If they can, not only is a Big Ten title a likely possibility, but so is a #1 seed. While Michigan State was the preseason favorite, the Badgers have came on strong and created some serious doubt in that prediction. Bo Ryan's squad will face two tough, but winnable, games this week when they travel to Bloomington and then host the Wolverines. It'll be interesting to see if Wisconsin can keep up the hot streak and improve to 18-0.

Ohio State

Record
15-2 (2-2)
RPI
11
SOS
36
Non-Conf. RPI
9
Non-Conf. SOS
93
Average RPI WIn
136
Average RPI Loss
25
Vs. 1-50
1-2
Vs. 51-100
7-0
Vs. 101-200
3-0
Vs. 201+
4-0
Key Wins
Maryland, Notre Dame
Key Losses
Iowa
Upcoming Games
at Minnesota

Ohio State came into this past week undefeated and left with two losses. Now they'll have only one game as they travel to face Minnesota. Ohio State's a solid lock for the NCAA right now, though their 1-2 record versus the top 50 could potentially hurt their seeding if they can't pick up wins down the stretch. Regardless of how good Ohio State has looked at times, there's not enough marquee wins currently to put them too far up the seeding chart so look for Matta to try to get the Buckeyes to get the ball rolling in Big Ten play. The Minnesota game should be a win and would be a nice way to rebound after their back to back losses.

Michigan State

Record
15-1 (4-0)
RPI
8
SOS
17
Non-Conf. RPI
10
Non-Conf. SOS
71
Average RPI WIn
125
Average RPI Loss
52
Vs. 1-50
4-0
Vs. 51-100
2-1
Vs. 101-200
6-0
Vs. 201+
3-0
Key Wins
Ohio State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, at Texas
Key Losses
North Carolina
Upcoming Games
at Northwestern, at Illinois

Michigan State has struggled with consistency this season but their NCAA odds have never been in question. The only question currently related to these Spartans is if they're still the favorites to win the Big Ten. Luckily for Michigan State they avoided what would have been a loss against Ohio State had they made their layup in the closing seconds. Now Michigan State gets a slightly more manageable workload this week as they face off against Northwestern and Illinois in two easily winnable games.

Illinois

Record
13-4 (2-2)
RPI
23
SOS
51
Non-Conf. RPI
53
Non-Conf. SOS
130
Average RPI WIn
193
Average RPI Loss
76
Vs. 1-50
1-2
Vs. 51-100
1-0
Vs. 101-200
5-2
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
Indiana
Key Losses
at Georgia Tech, at Northwestern
Upcoming Games
Purdue, Michigan State

When setting up the tables for this article I had Illinois as in pretty easily. They had a solid start to the season, knocked off Indiana and have enough talent that it looks like they're capable of winning in the Big Ten. Now after last Sunday's performance against Northwestern...I don't know. The Illini only have two wins against the RPI top 100 and now have two very, very bad losses against Georgia Tech and Northwestern. Their RPI is still solid and if they win enough games in the Big Ten, all criticisms of their resume will be null and void. However, Groce needs to get his team prepared for this weeks game against Purdue as that could be a major blow to their NCAA odds, especially if Illinois starts to slip back towards what everyone anticipated from them. The weekend doesn't get any easier for Illinois, but at least they have Michigan State at home.

Iowa

Record
14-3 (3-1)
RPI
41
SOS
111
Non-Conf. RPI
30
Non-Conf. SOS
204
Average RPI WIn
166
Average RPI Loss
3
Vs. 1-50
2-3
Vs. 51-100
2-0
Vs. 101-200
5-0
Vs. 201+
5-0
Key Wins
at Ohio State, Xavier
Key Losses
None
Upcoming Games
Minnesota

They finally did it. Iowa padded their win total early with a light schedule and failed in all three opportunities to pick up nice wins, losing in winnable games against Villanova, Iowa State and Wisconsin (reflected in their average RPI loss). Everyone more or less penciled in Iowa as good, but they still hadn't won anything of relevance until this weekend, heading into Columbus and upsetting the Buckeyes. Now with a big win on the resume, the question becomes if Iowa can enter the Big Ten title race. They've shown the potential to do so and will host Minnesota in their only game this week, but for now Iowa can celebrate their big weekend victory.

Bubble

Minnesota

Record
12-4 (2-2)
RPI
42
SOS
41
Non-Conf. RPI
66
Non-Conf. SOS
129
Average RPI WIn
180
Average RPI Loss
38
Vs. 1-50
1-3
Vs. 51-100
1-1
Vs. 101-200
4-0
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
Florida State, at Richmond, Purdue
Key Losses
Michigan, Arkansas
Upcoming Games
Ohio State, at Iowa

Oh, Minnesota. Their 12-4 record is nice, as is picking up wins against Florida State, Richmond and Purdue, but none of it stands out. While Minnesota could be a NCAA team, if their bubble odds come down to comparing resumes...they might be in trouble. Of course they could have changed that with several winnable non-conference games that would have looked mighty nice. This trend continued into the Big Ten season as Minnesota couldn't pick off Michigan at home and then couldn't pick up the road upset in East Lansing, falling to the Spartans in overtime. Now Minnesota faces a rough week against Ohio State and Iowa and could be 12-6 (2-4) by the end of the weekend. If that happens, which seems likely, Minnesota could be in some trouble. At least they picked up a win versus Purdue, likely keeping their NCAA odds afloat if they drop the next two. Minnesota has had plenty of opportunities to pick up some big wins. Sooner or later if they cannot capitalize on these opportunities than they'll start looking more like a NIT team instead.

Michigan

Record
11-4 (3-0)
RPI
44
SOS
71
Non-Conf. RPI
49
Non-Conf. SOS
95
Average RPI WIn
170
Average RPI Loss
45
Vs. 1-50
2-3
Vs. 51-100
2-0
Vs. 101-200
3-1
Vs. 201+
4-0
Key Wins
Florida State, at Minnesota, Stanford
Key Losses
Charlotte
Upcoming Games
Penn State, at Wisconsin

Michigan's non-conference slate left a bit to be desired, saw McGary undergo back surgery and led to a horrible loss against Charlotte. The Wolverines still have two nice non-conference wins against Florida State and Stanford, as well as a decent win at Minnesota. They'll still need to win in the conference and they're off to a quick start thanks to a soft conference schedule early on, continuing this week with a home contest against Penn State. Winning these games will inch Michigan closer to 19 or 20 wins, which is more or less the magic number to get a tourney bid. The Wolverines will have a chance to add a big win to their resume this weekend, though, when they face off at Wisconsin.

Indiana

Record
11-5 (1-2)
RPI
70
SOS
80
Non-Conf. RPI
56
Non-Conf. SOS
185
Average RPI WIn
204
Average RPI Loss
30
Vs. 1-50
0-4
Vs. 51-100
0-1
Vs. 101-200
5-0
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
Washington
Key Losses
at Illinois, UCONN, Notre Dame
Upcoming Games
Wisconsin, Northwestern

Indiana lucked out big time with the win against Penn State, avoiding a crippling defeat against one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. Even with the win, the Hoosiers have an atrocious non-conference SOS of 185th and zero wins versus the RPI top 100 in five tries. So far with their best win being against Washington, Indiana will need to start picking up the slack in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers will have a chance this week as they host Wisconsin, which would be a resume defining win. If they lose? Well at least they can pad their resume this weekend with an irrelevant win against Northwestern.

Purdue

Record
11-5 (1-2)
RPI
113
SOS
143
Non-Conf. RPI
44
Non-Conf. SOS
255
Average RPI WIn
191
Average RPI Loss
60
Vs. 1-50
1-3
Vs. 51-100
2-1
Vs. 101-200
4-1
Vs. 201+
4-0
Key Wins
West Virginia, Nebraska
Key Losses
at Minnesota, Butler, Washington State
Upcoming Games
at Illinois, Penn State

Surviving, that's what Purdue is doing right now. Their non-conference slate won't help them any, but at least it didn't hurt them as much as it did last season. Outside of an inexplicable loss to Washington State, Purdue played decently enough and could have won against Oklahoma State and Butler. But with the Boilers two 'good' wins coming against two teams set to fade down the stretch (Boston College and West Virginia), Painter and company need wins now. The Ohio State loss was expected but the Minnesota loss increased the pressure here, especially with both being winnable games. Now Purdue has an Illinois game that is hovering around as a potential "must" win. A potential loss won't kill them, especially if Illinois stabilizes, but it makes thinks tricky for the Boilermakers (and will be detrimental if Illinois is in midst of another free fall). A road win against the Illini would easily be the best win of the year for Purdue and could be followed up with a win against Penn State, a week that would greatly improve their resume. With the non-conference SOS as bad as it is and a Washington State loss lingering around, Purdue likely will need to do a bit better than expected in conference play to sneak in, especially if there's a big bubble this year.

Currently Out

Nebraska

Record
8-8 (0-4)
RPI
80
SOS
21
Non-Conf. RPI
130
Non-Conf. SOS
69
Average RPI WIn
230
Average RPI Loss
45
Vs. 1-50
0-6
Vs. 51-100
1-0
Vs. 101-200
1-2
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
Miami
Key Losses
Michigan, UAB, at Purdue
Upcoming Games
No Games This Week

Kicking off the currently out section is Nebraska, though it should be noted that the following three teams will most likely not be featured in additional Bracketology posts unless they start picking up some wins in a hurry. With an even record through 16 games, no wins in conference and only two wins versus the RPI top 200...Nebraska doesn't even have their foot in the door. They had an opportunity to at least entertain the idea of being a fringe bubble team thanks to a modest RPI, but couldn't pick up wins in close games against Michigan and Purdue. Now it'll be worth watching to see if Nebraska can get to the NIT or the more likely CBI.

Penn State

Record
9-8 (0-4)
RPI
104
SOS
33
Non-Conf. RPI
90
Non-Conf. SOS
134
Average RPI WIn
220
Average RPI Loss
61
Vs. 1-50
0-4
Vs. 51-100
2-3
Vs. 101-200
0-1
Vs. 201+
7-0
Key Wins
Saint Johns, La Salle
Key Losses
Minnesota, Indiana, Ole Miss, Princeton, Bucknell
Upcoming Games
at Michigan, at Purdue

The Nittany Lions have talent in their backcourt but have been very, very inconsistent and have added some crushing losses to the resume thanks to losing efforts against Princeton and Bucknell. At 9-8 and the Big Ten slate not getting any easier, the question becomes how far will Penn State fall. At this point it's hard to predict any sort of postseason play for Penn State.

Northwestern

Record
8-9 (1-3)
RPI
179
SOS
92
Non-Conf. RPI
176
Non-Conf. SOS
226
Average RPI WIn
246
Average RPI Loss
62
Vs. 1-50
1-4
Vs. 51-100
0-4
Vs. 101-200
1-1
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
Illinois
Key Losses
at NCST, DePaul, Illinois State
Upcoming Games
Michigan State, at Indiana

Coming into Sunday Northwestern was easily the worst team in the conference, losing all seven games to RPI top 100 teams and even losing to DePaul and Illinois State. With no marquee wins and no offense whatsoever, Northwestern actually picked up a nice win against Illinois in a very, very ugly game. It may be one of the last high points for the Wildcats though as the team looks destined to struggle the remainder of the season. It doesn't get any easier this week either as the Wildcats will face off against Michigan State before traveling to Bloomington this weekend.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join BT Powerhouse

You must be a member of BT Powerhouse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BT Powerhouse. You should read them.

Join BT Powerhouse

You must be a member of BT Powerhouse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BT Powerhouse. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker