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College basketball rankings: Wisconsin takes its rightful place atop the Big Ten

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Is Indiana a contender? Exactly how good is the Badgers' offense? Answers to these questions and more in this week's Friday Facts.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Rank Team Name W-L RawEM EM+/G Adj OE Adj DE Barthag Proj. Rec
3 Wisconsin 5-1 0.26 35 137.2 100.5 0.9606 15-3
20 Michigan St. 4-2 0.07 23 112.1 90.3 0.9020 12-6
27 Maryland 5-2 0.04 22 110.5 89.1 0.9007 12-6
46 Indiana 5-1 0.04 21 121.5 98.6 0.8946 11-7
12 Ohio St. 4-3 0.05 20 116.0 95.4 0.8814 13-5
41 Iowa 4-2 -0.05 18 124.9 103.4 0.8740 11-7
85 Nebraska 3-3 -0.01 17 102.2 85.8 0.8573 7-11
58 Purdue 3-3 0.00 18 108.8 91.7 0.8521 9-9
88 Michigan 5-2 -0.01 13 104.4 91.8 0.7878 8-10
54 Illinois 3-4 -0.04 12 106.1 94.2 0.7713 9-9
110 Northwestern 1-5 -0.09 11 111.2 99.1 0.7652 4-14
48 Minnesota 1-6 -0.04 11 110.3 98.7 0.7579 7-11
140 Rutgers 2-5 -0.07 8 100.7 92.6 0.7038 4-14
111 Penn St. 0-6 -0.12 7 108.6 100.3 0.6920 3-15

There were three big moves this week.

First, Wisconsin jolted upward with its annihilation of Iowa.

Second, the other four contenders identified in last week's post all took a step back: Michigan State lost at Maryland and squeaked by lowly Penn State; Ohio State lost at Iowa and squeaked by lowly Northwestern; Maryland beat Michigan State but then got blown out by Indiana; and Iowa of course got embarrassed by Wisconsin.

As a result of all this, Wisconsin now leads the race for the Friday Facts crown by a healthy 600 points and T-Rank projects Wisconsin to win the conference by two games.

As for the third big move...

New contender: Indiana

So last week, I looked at the Friday Facts and observed that they appeared to identify five contenders for the Big Ten title. At least one Indiana fan objected that the Hoosiers, at 3-1, deserved to be included in that group. But as of last week, Indiana was clearly middle-of-the-pack: sub-50 in T-Rank and Kenpom, projected to go 9-9, and behind Nebraska and Michigan in the Friday Facts.

Unfortunately, T-Rank is not yet allowed to actually declare the results of games, and Indiana went out and proved itself somewhat capable of putting the ball through the hoop. The Hoosiers won two coin-flip games rather emphatically and have clearly put themselves into the discussion as a dark-horse contender for the title if Wisconsin falters.

Indeed, I simulated the rest of the season 10,000 times using both the T-Rank and the Kenpom ratings, and here are each team's chances of coming out with at least a share of the title:

Title Chances Kenpom Trank Average
Wisconsin 80% 87% 83%
Maryland 19% 11% 15%
Michigan St. 9% 7% 8%
Ohio St. 5% 10% 7%
Indiana 10% 4% 7%
Iowa 5% 4% 4%

So it's a Friday Fact: Indiana is a contender, in as much as anyone besides Wisconsin can bear that label.

But -- and there's always a "big but" -- let's not get crazy. Indiana travels to Columbus this weekend, where the Hoosiers will likely be beaten badly (T-Rank, which is stubbornly high on the Buckeyes, currently projects a 13-point loss for Indiana). That's followed in relatively short order by games at Purdue, Wisconsin and Maryland. And Indiana has certain, um, weaknesses: Namely, when the other team has the ball, is is frequently able to put it through Indiana's hoop without much trouble. Indiana is a well-below average defensive team, checking in at No. 163 in T-Rank's defensive efficiency (and even worse, No. 199, in Kenpom).

Even so, Indiana has put itself in position to get into the NCAA tournament, which is probably more than Hoosiers fans were expecting a few weeks ago.

Quantifying the Badgers' dominant offense

The Badgers have been nothing short of great on offense this year, especially in Big Ten play. A glance at the Friday Facts shows they have an adjusted offensive efficiency of 137.2 in Big Ten play so far. That's not just the best in the Big Ten, by far -- it's the best in-conference mark in the country, by far:

Team Name Conf. W-L Conf. Adj OE
Wisconsin B10 5-1 137.2
Mississippi SEC 2-3 127.1
Notre Dame ACC 6-1 126.5
Arizona P12 5-1 124.9
Iowa B10 4-2 124.9
Kansas B12 4-1 123.9
Utah P12 5-1 123.6
Davidson A10 4-2 122.3
Arkansas SEC 3-2 122.0
Virginia ACC 6-0 121.6

Indeed, the Badgers' current starting five also happens to be the five most-efficient offensive players in conference play:

(H/t to Buckyville for first noticing this.)

Before Thursday's night's game, the top four offensive performances in Big Ten play were all courtesy of the Badgers:

After Indiana's barrage of three-pointers Thursday night led to a 1.39 points-per-possession performance, the Badgers now own just four of the top five offensive outbursts.

And finally, a tweet from someone other than me:

This Week's Big Ten Games

Date Matchup T-Rank Prediction TTQ
1/24 41 Iowa @ 58 Purdue Purdue, 68-67 (56%) 81
1/28 46 Indiana @ 58 Purdue Purdue, 78-75 (60%) 80
1/29 27 Maryland @ 12 Ohio St. Ohio St., 73-65 (79%) 76
1/24 54 Illinois @ 48 Minnesota Minnesota, 75-71 (68%) 75
1/28 48 Minnesota @ 111 Penn St. Minnesota, 75-71 (62%) 73
1/25 46 Indiana @ 12 Ohio St. Ohio St., 86-73 (86%) 72
1/24 20 Michigan St. @ 85 Nebraska Michigan St., 60-56 (71%) 68
1/27 85 Nebraska @ 88 Michigan Michigan, 55-53 (62%) 61
1/24 3 Wisconsin @ 88 Michigan Wisconsin, 66-54 (92%) 59
1/27 20 Michigan St. @ 140 Rutgers Michigan St., 66-57 (85%) 55
1/24 140 Rutgers @ 111 Penn St. Penn St., 66-60 (74%) 51
1/25 110 Northwestern @ 27 Maryland Maryland, 68-56 (91%) 50