Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings: The Illini Slide

USA TODAY Sports

Because what the hell is the point of playing a sport if you aren't going to rank the teams involved in order of their POWER?

The formula I use for these rankings has been tweaked a bit this week because after doing them for the first couple of weeks I figured they weren't perfect. Of all the things I changed, the biggest would have to be putting strength of schedule into the formula. But you will see an increase in points for all teams compared to last week, and this is why.

So now that SOS has been worked in, I think the rankings are a bit more accurate, though I doubt all will agree. I already know there are a few Michigan State fans who think my rankings are terrible and they probably won't be changing their minds after this week. My advice for those people would be to wait until Big Ten play starts and a lot of teams that have been fattening up on weak competition -- sup, Iowa? -- will see their numbers come back down to earth.

Team (Points, Last Week) -- This week's games

1. MICHIGAN 12-0 (137, 1) -- None

2. INDIANA 10-1 (131, 2) -- 12/21 vs Florida Atlantic

3. OHIO STATE 9-1 (115, 3) -- 12/22 vs Kansas

4. MINNESOTA 11-1 (110, 5) -- 12/22 vs Lafayette

5. ILLINOIS 12-0 (102, 4) -- 12/22 vs Missouri

6. IOWA 10-2 (100, 6) -- 12/22 vs Coppin State

7. MICHIGAN STATE 10-2 (98, 9) -- 12/22 vs Texas

8. NORTHWESTERN 8-3 (89, 7) -- 12/21 vs Stanford, 12/23 vs Brown

9. WISCONSIN 7-4 (88, 8) -- 12/22 vs Milwaukee

10. NEBRASKA 7-3 (67, 10) -- 12/22 vs Central Michigan in El Paso

11. PURDUE 5-6 (61, 11) -- None

12. PENN STATE 6-4 (58, 12) -- 12/23 vs New Hampshire

Overall there isn't much movement, save for Michigan State moving up a few spots to pass Northwestern and Wisconsin, and while some of that has to do with the tweaks in the formula, just as much of it has to do with Michigan State playing better overall in their two games this week. What really holds the Spartans back in the rankings, though, is that they turn the ball over more than any other Big Ten team and they're not playing great on the offensive side of the ball. If they can improve those two areas, everything else is solid enough that they'll begin flying up the rankings.

As for Illinois slipping down to fifth and below Minnesota, well, have you watched us lately? It was another mediocre performance against Eastern Kentucky, and when you look at this team statistically compared to the rest of the conference, we just don't stack up nearly that well except for that 12-0 record.

It's one of the many reasons I'm expecting this season to get much tougher once we hit conference play.

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