Big Ten Roundup: January 24th, 2011

Dylan Burkhardt
Team W L Poss. Off Eff. Def. Eff. Eff. Margin
Purdue 6 1 64 1.19 1.01 0.18
Wisconsin 5 2 57 1.19 1.03 0.16
Ohio State 7 0 63 1.14 1.00 0.14
Illinois 4 3 63 1.14 1.06 0.08
Minnesota 4 3 61 1.09 1.08 0.01
Michigan State 4 3 64 1.05 1.06 -0.01
Penn State 3 4 60 1.09 1.11 -0.02
Northwestern 3 5 65 1.08 1.14 -0.06
Indiana 1 6 64 1.09 1.20 -0.11
Iowa 1 6 68 0.98 1.13 -0.15
Michigan 1 6 59 1.04 1.22 -0.18

Scatter plot now lives here.

Ohio State just keeps winning games but it is time to consider Purdue, and maybe Wisconsin, as legitimate title contenders. Purdue lost at Minnesota but the Boilermakers rebounded with a statement win over Michigan State and have blown out the remainder of their conference foes. Wisconsin exploded versus Northwestern on Sunday, scoring 78 points on just 50 possessions, and continues to post gaudy numbers on both ends.

Illinois is stuck between the first and second tier but we’ll lump them along with Minnesota, Michigan State, and, dare I say, Penn State. Michigan State’s offense is still bad, third worst in the conference, and Michigan State actually has a negative efficiency margin seven games into conference play. You could say Minnesota survived its treacherous schedule early on but the news that Al Nolen is out at least four weeks is deflating.

The bottom tier has separated itself clearly: Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan. Michigan fans will be upset to see that Michigan not only has the worst defense in conference play but also the worst efficiency margin. Scary times in Ann Arbor.

The real story with these numbers is the offense that has swept the league. Big Ten teams are scoring at an unprecedented (to my knowledge) and alarming rate. Here in our very own corn-fed league of toughness, grit, defense, and rebounding, we are seeing an offensive explosion.

Four teams are scoring over 1.11 points per possession, the same per possession average that the league’s best offense, Wisconsin, produced last season. 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams are averaging over a point per possession and no Big Ten team has managed to hold opponents under the point per trip threshold. In comparison, seven teams topped 1 point per possession last year, and just six managed it in the previous two years. Purdue and Wisconsin’s 1.19 points per possession almost have to regress over the second half of the schedule, but the numbers are still extremely impressive. This offensive explosion isn’t limited to just the top four offenses – three other teams average 1.09 points per possession, which would have been second best in last year’s Big Ten

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  • Peter

    Interesting stuff.

    The middle of the league is quite intriguing.
    Penn State’s opponents are 19-15 when games against PSU are removed.
    Illinois’ opponents are 20-16 when games against Illinois are removed.
    MSU’s opponents are 21-14 when games against MSU are removed.
    Minnesota’s opponents are 22-19 when games against Minnesota are removed.
    Northwestern’s opponents are 18-23 when games against Northwestern are removed.

    Not only does Northwestern have the worst efficiency margin of the 5 teams separated by .14 ppp, they have the worst record and have done it against the weakest schedule of the bunch too.

    Michigan State and Penn State might be better than the numbers suggest. They’ve done it against better schedules than the rest.

  • AG2

    Well there you have it: incontrovertible evidence that the Big Ten is the strongest its been in years. Lucky us.

    • Yes, saw where Izzo said the B10 was the strongest he’s ever seen it. Hope this translates into lots of March NC2A wins to make M feel better about itself. But I’m not as convinced as I once was that we’re an upper-echelon team next year.

  • Brian W

    Coach Beilein show is on the air tonight (Monday) on WTKA and others…

    Glenn Robinson III had 21 points as his team fell to the No. 1 team in Indiana…,bkblcentral-ptb-0123.article

    Javontae Hawkins had 18 for Flint Powers, and Denzel Watts scored 14 for Flint Carman-Ainsworth in a showdown on Friday night…

  • Beast1530

    Unless Michigan can get back to the defensive level that they have done in non-conference, they obviously won’t win too many Big 10 games. The offense isn’t the reason why Michigan struggled, they have been surprisingly decent. Michigan needs to figure out a way to stop the opposing teams from making a high percentage of shots.

    • Trevor

      If by “surprisingly decent” you mean “better than Iowa”, then I agree.

      • maxwell’s demon