Big Ten Power Rankings

Forward Mike Brueswitz and the Badgers were shut down at home by Marquette this week. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)


1. OHIO STATE

Last time around: 1

This week: at Kansas (Dec. 10)

What Ohio State did to Duke last week isn’t something we see happen to the Blue Devils very often. The Buckeyes thoroughly demolished the Dukies and made a case to be the No. 1 team in the country. It doesn’t help that Sullinger’s already hurting, but he’s expected back against Kansas. Even without him though, Ohio State still looks like the class of the conference.

2. WISCONSIN

Last time around: 2

This week: Green Bay (Dec. 7), UNLV (Dec. 10)

The Badgers were hit with two pretty tough losses, a three-point defeat at the hands of North Carolina and an unusual home loss to Marquette. The offense isn’t really firing on all cylinders right now, with Jordan Taylor carrying the load on offense, and even he’s only shooting 39 percent from the floor. Aside from UNLV, it’s relatively smooth sailing till January, but the Badgers aren’t at 100 percent right now.

3. MICHIGAN STATE

Last time around: 4

This week: Central Connecticut State (Dec. 7), at Gonzaga (Dec. 10)

When you schedule Duke and North Carolina back-to-back to open the season, you can’t be too surprised when you start 0-2. Since then, the Spartans are on a tear against lesser competition, especially on the glass, as Michigan State is the 2nd-best rebounding team in the country (almost 44 per game). There’s a lot of talent there, and if Izzo has time to put it together by Big Ten season, they could be second on this list soon enough.

4. MICHIGAN

Last time around: 3

This week: Oakland (Dec. 10)

It’s pretty murky from here on out in these power rankings, and fittingly, Michigan has been a pretty murky team this season. They posted impressive wins over Memphis and UCLA and then lost to Virginia (which lost to TCU) by double digits. Trey Burke is still improving and Tim Hardaway Jr. is a star-in-the-making, but both still have a long way to go. It’s tough to tell at this point whether the Wolverines are destined to sink or swim in the Big Ten.

5. INDIANA

Last time around: 6

This week: Kentucky (Dec. 10)

The Hoosiers skip past Purdue this week on the grounds of Purdue’s 16-point lead collapsing against Xavier. IU has shown that they’re a serious Big Ten team this season, and by all accounts, we should believe them. This matchup with Kentucky will say a lot going forward and likely answer whether this team is a top-tier Big Ten team or just one caught in the middle. For now, though, they’re ahead of their in-state counterparts.

6. PURDUE

Last time around: 5

This week: Western Carolina (Dec. 7), Eastern Michigan (Dec. 10)

That was a tough loss to Xavier, as point guard Tu Holloway singlehandedly dismantled the Boilermakers at the end of the game. Purdue still has plenty of talent and Robbie Hummel continues to play well, but can they beat a team that’s equally talented? It’s hard to say. We might not see a matchup like that until Illinois comes to West Lafayete on New Year’s Eve.

7. ILLINOIS

Last time around: 8

This week: St. Bonaventure (Dec. 7), Coppin State (Dec. 11)

I have a hard time trusting Illinois, especially after the Illini’s collapse last season. And with one of their most talented players, Brandon Paul, shooting 35 percent from the floor, there’s likely to be some slip-ups. That being said, the Illini are one of three undefeated teams in the conference (Ohio State and Indiana are the other two), and Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco looks like the real deal.

8. MINNESOTA

Last time around: 9

This week: Appalachian State (tonight), St. Peter’s (Dec. 10)

The Gophers dropped quite a bit in my book when they lost Trevor Mbakwe, but they continue to press on without him and remain one of the best shooting teams in the Big Ten (third, to be exact). Junior guard Julian Welch has really picked up his game since Mbakwe’s absence, and he could be a key cog going forward. But against established post presences, Minnesota is bound to struggle.

9. NORTHWESTERN

Last time around: 7

This week: None

True, Northwestern’s only loss came against a very tough Baylor team ranked eighth in the country. Also true, the Wildcats have two legitimate scorers in Drew Crawford and John Shurna, both averaging more than 17 per game. But beyond that, Northwestern was neutralized by a team that’s better than them in Baylor, and I don’t see that pattern changing from here on out. The Wildcats might be the worst post team in the Big Ten, and that’ll hurt eventually.

10. NEBRASKA

Last time around: 10

This week: Florida Gulf Coast (Dec. 7), TCU (Dec. 10)

Nebraska has the capability to score; they just haven’t really put that into motion quite yet. The Cornhuskers have three losses this season, all arguably to mediocre BCS teams — aside from their most recent loss to an underrated and very talented Creighton squad. The last three teams in the conference are likely to stay in the cellar all season long, but Nebraska might be the most talented of the bottom three.

11. PENN STATE

Last time around: 12

This week: Lafayette (Dec. 7), Duquesne (Dec. 10)

Tim Frazier continues to do literally everything for the Nittany Lions, and that’s resulted in an embarrassingly low team field goal percentage (38 percent). But luckily for Penn State, there’s a bit of a grace period before Big Ten season. New coach Pat Chambers will need to find another scoring outlet (if there is one) fairly soon in order to lighten Frazier’s load.

12. IOWA

Last time around: 11

This week: Northern Iowa (tonight), Iowa State (Dec. 9)

Iowa continues to be one of the more disappointing teams in the Big Ten, and although they might be able to beat Penn State or Nebraska, the Hawkeyes are doing an awfully good job at wasting some of the talent on their roster. Melsahn Basabe continues to struggle and Matt Gatens’ numbers are weening a bit. They might be able to jump out of the cellar with a few tough, yet winnable, games ahead.

4 comments

  1. Maybe if we played on television the coaches and voters would see how good this team really is.

  2. Why do you keep calling Penn State’s Coach Tom Chambers? He last played for the Suns and the Supersonics in the NBA. PSU’s coach is Patrick Chambers.

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