clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

College basketball rankings: The Badgers' dominance continues

New, comments

Another week of consolidation at the top for Wisconsin, and billowing madness underneath.

Even Nigel Hayes can't believe how efficient UW's offense has been.
Even Nigel Hayes can't believe how efficient UW's offense has been.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If it weren't for Wisconsin, we'd have a very exciting race shaping up for the Big Ten championship. As it is, the battle for seeding in the conference tournament is going to be intense. Can you feel the excitement?

The Friday Facts:

Efficiency Marg. Adjusted Efficiency Conf. SOS
Rank Team Name W-L Raw Adj Adj OE Adj DE Barthag So far Remain Proj.
3 Wisconsin 8-1 0.22 35 136.6 99.9 0.9436 (0) 0.7557 0.8234 15-3 (nc)
11 Ohio State 6-4 0.09 25 117.8 92.5 0.8974 (0) 0.8110 0.7987 12-6 (-1)
39 Purdue 7-3 0.05 23 112.8 90.8 0.8754 (+1) 0.8322 0.7986 11-7 (+1)
21 Michigan State 6-3 0.09 22 114.2 92.0 0.8753 (-1) 0.7559 0.8465 11-7 (nc)
31 Iowa 5-4 -0.03 21 126.2 102.1 0.8707 (0) 0.8944 0.7395 11-7 (nc)
48 Indiana 6-4 -0.03 17 123.2 103.6 0.8267 (0) 0.8583 0.7785 11-7 (nc)
35 Maryland 7-3 0.01 17 107.5 90.7 0.8205 (0) 0.8132 0.7890 12-6 (nc)
42 Minnesota 3-7 0.00 15 110.9 95.3 0.7957 (+4) 0.7897 0.8678 7-11 (+1)
83 Penn State 2-8 -0.03 14 107.7 93.5 0.7796 (+1) 0.8182 0.8626 5-13 (nc)
82 Michigan 6-5 -0.03 14 108.1 94.1 0.7762 (-2) 0.8225 0.8162 9-9 (nc)
90 Nebraska 5-5 -0.03 14 103.0 90.0 0.7708 (-2) 0.8104 0.8758 7-11 (nc)
52 Illinois 5-5 -0.02 13 107.4 94.8 0.7549 (+1) 0.7818 0.8430 9-9 (+1)
104 Northwestern 1-8 -0.11 8 112.2 102.9 0.6852 (-2) 0.8423 0.8428 4-14 (-1)
154 Rutgers 2-9 -0.14 3 97.9 95.7 0.5496 (0) 0.8161 0.8391 3-15 (-1)

Here is how dominant the Badgers' offense has been: despite scoring 1.30 points-per-possession at Iowa and 1.42 points-per-possession against Indiana, the Badgers' adjusted offensive efficiency in conference play stayed virtually unchanged -- moving from 136.5 to 136.6. In other words, these explosions are getting rather routine.

On the flip side, the Badgers' adjusted defensive numbers did improve slightly (going from 100.6 to 99.6) despite being scorched for 1.11 ppp by Iowa and 1.20 ppp by Indiana. The reason for this counter-intuitive result is that Iowa and Indiana are both elite offenses (second and third in conference play, respectively), and would be expected to scorch an average team even more than they scorched the Badgers. So we've got that going for us.

Arguably the most important game of the week was Iowa's beat-down of Michigan in Ann Arbor last night. This more or less puts to bed Michigan's hopes of getting into the NCAA tournament as an at-large. At the same time, it solidifies Iowa's spot on the right side of the bubble and puts them in serious contention for second place in the Big Ten.

As you can see above, Iowa has played the hardest in-conference schedule so far, and they've gotten their fair share of wins against it. Down the stretch, they have the easiest schedule by a significant margin, which is why T-Rank still puts them right in the thick of the wide-open race for second place. They'll likely be favored in all of their remaining games except their game at Indiana. This week they have two big home games, against Maryland and Minnesota. I expect them to win both.

Purdue continues to impress. This week they handled a scrappy Northwestern team in Evanston, and then took care of business against Ohio State (playing without Marc Loving) at home. This week Purdue goes on the road, to Minnesota and Rutgers. The game against the Gophers figures to be a tossup. Given the disaster that was Purdue's non-conference performance, it's the kind of game they really need to win to stay in the conversation for an at-large.

This week's Big Ten games

Date Matchup T-Rank Prediction TTQ
2/7 39 Purdue @ 42 Minnesota Minnesota, 73-69 (61%) 80
2/8 35 Maryland @ 31 Iowa Iowa, 69-65 (63%) 78
2/12 42 Minnesota @ 31 Iowa Iowa, 75-69 (66%) 78
2/11 48 Indiana @ 35 Maryland Maryland, 78-72 (67%) 76
2/7 52 Illinois @ 21 Michigan State Michigan State, 72-63 (75%) 72
2/10 21 Michigan State @ 104 Northwestern Michigan State, 67-61 (72%) 65
2/10 3 Wisconsin @ 90 Nebraska Wisconsin, 65-54 (85%) 65
2/7 90 Nebraska @ 83 Penn State Penn State, 62-58 (63%) 65
2/8 82 Michigan @ 48 Indiana Indiana, 74-66 (72%) 64
2/11 83 Penn State@ 11 Ohio Stae Ohio State, 77-61 (89%) 63
2/12 82 Michigan @ 52 Illinois Illinois, 65-59 (72%) 62
2/12 39 Purdue @ 154 Rutgers Purdue, 66-59 (74%) 58
2/8 11 Ohio State @ 154 Rutgers Ohio State, 72-58 (89%) 56
2/7 104 Northwestern @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin, 74-53 (95%) 56

Purdue's big game at Minnesota highlights the week, followed by Iowa's home game at Maryland. Ohio State has a couple should-be gimmes: at Rutgers and home against Penn State. Look for the Buckeyes to rack up some efficiency margins in these game and solidify their position at the second-place favorite.

Some notes on Wisconsin's historically great offense

Wisconsin is leading both the T-Rank and the Kenpom ratings in adjusted offensive efficiency. Indeed, the Badgers' current Kenpom adjusted OE is the best of all-time.

I already detailed a couple of weeks ago some of the mind-boggling stats the Badgers have been putting up. For instance, at that point the Badgers had put up the four best offensive performances in Big Ten play. Indiana butted into that group with its three-point barrage against Maryland, but the Badgers still have six of the top 10 offensive performances so far in Big Ten play:

Date Matchup Team PPP
1/20 31 Iowa @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.52
2/3 48 Indiana @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.42
12/31 83 Penn State @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.40
1/22 35 Maryland @ 48 Indiana Indiana 1.39
2/5 31 Iowa @ 82 Michigan Iowa 1.38
2/3 104 Northwestern @ 90 Nebraska Nebraska 1.32
1/25 48 Indiana @ 11 Ohio State Ohio State 1.32
1/31 3 Wisconsin @ 31 Iowa Wisconsin 1.30
1/15 90 Nebraska @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.29
1/4 3 Wisconsin @ 104 Northwestern Wisconsin 1.27

Notably, no other team appears in the top 10 more than once.

Looking beyond the Big Ten reinforces how remarkable the Badgers' best games have been. Here is the complete set of games in conference play where a team has scored at least 1.4 points-per-possession against a top-100 team:

1/20 31 Iowa @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.52
1/17 45 Davidson @ 58 Richmond Richmond 1.42
2/3 48 Indiana @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.42
12/31 83 Penn State @ 3 Wisconsin Wisconsin 1.40

That's right: Wisconsin has done it three times, and the rest of D1 has just done it just once: Richmond put up 1.42 against Davidson. That's it.

Finally, the Badgers are on pace to have the best offensive efficiency in Big Ten play in the tempo-free era (since 2002). This record is currently held by the 2005 Illini, who scored 120.7 per 100 possession in Big Ten play. According to kenpom.com, the Badgers are currently at 128.5 in that metric. Amazingly, the Badgers are so far beating the Illini's record mark even if you include only their road games:

At home, the Badgers' are averaging a crisp 134.1 per 100 possessions. For the sake of completeness, here is the year-by-year break down of the Badgers' offensive efficiency in Big Ten play, with home and away splits:

Year B1G Road OE B1G Home OE B1G OE
2002 94.2 114.4 104.3
2003 101.0 115.5 108.2
2004 99.6 124.8 112.2
2005 103.7 111.5 107.6
2006 100.2 108.1 104.1
2007 105.7 109.3 107.5
2008 108.6 111.0 109.8
2009 104.9 113.6 109.3
2010 106.8 114.0 110.4
2011 112.0 127.7 119.9
2012 102.7 102.7 102.7
2013 97.3 101.4 99.3
2014 117.4 108.4 112.9
2015 121.5 134.1 128.5
ALL 104.9 113.3 109.2

Unsurprisingly, this year's team is the best in every category. It's worth pointing out, though, that last year's team actually set an incredible road efficiency mark at 117.4. With road games against OSU and Maryland still looming, it will be interesting to see if the Badgers can beat that in the end.