Tom Crean

B1G Power Rankings: Hoosiers a heavy favorite?

Continuing with the power rankings, here's a look at the Big Ten. I've made no attempt to hide my gushing praise over this conference. While the ACC certainly appears to be regaining their foothold as an elite conference (but still at least a year away) the Big Ten is simply the basketball conference that everyone wishes they were in. They're the best at the top as well as the deepest. And they have their own network.

For the power rankings at the start of conference play, we start with the offense. If you are unclear why we use points per possession, then read the first three paragraphs of the ACC Power Rankings.

These numbers are adjusted for the strength of opponents.

For previous conferences it was fine to cut off the top of the chart at 1.20 points per possession, but Michigan (the No. 1 offense in the nation) exceeds that. It also turns out that the top two offenses in the B1G are the top two offenses in the nation. Following those two is a hefty 'drop' to No. 12 Ohio State and No. 15 Minnesota. On the bottom end (the dashed line is the national average) only Nebraska qualifies as a bad offense. They're No. 256. That ought to work out well in conference play.

Defensively it is more of the same.

The conference isn't quite as elite at the top as they are offensively, but the depth is impressive. Half the conference is among the nation's top 30, highlighted by Indiana at No. 9 and Ohio State at No. 11. Not a single team (go Nebraska!) is below the national average.

How does this become a power ranking? It’s simple – we just look to efficiency margins. Offense minus defense. If you are a good team you score more than your opponent, right? How much more is the question. Here's the chart:

Indiana might have the most impressive efficiency margin in the nation, but compared to other conferences, they'll have a far lesser chance of getting through the conference with only one or two losses. The Big Ten is just too deep. Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota have all been playing great basketball, while Wisconsin and Michigan State are looming in the weeds.

Sorry Nebraska fans, but the rest of the season is going to be very very ugly.