Big Ten Power Rankings: Wisconsin holds on to No. 1 spot despite loss

Photo: Barbara J. Perenic | Columbus Dispatch

The start of the Big Ten season is just a few weeks away, so here’s a look at where the 14 teams in the league are stacking up so far.

1. Wisconsin (8-1)

Wisconsin’s only loss is to Duke, and the Badgers already have several solid wins. They beat Georgetown, Oklahoma, Boise State and Horizon League favorite Green Bay. A top-five Kenpom ranking makes the Badgers still a clear favorite to win the Big Ten.

Photo: Barbara J. Perenic | Columbus Dispatch
Photo: Barbara J. Perenic | Columbus Dispatch

2. Ohio State (6-1)

Ohio State lost at Louisville the only time it played a noteworthy opponent, but the Buckeyes were supposed to lose to the Cardinals. They struggled in the first half of that game, but a strong second half led nearly led them to quite an impressive road win. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see the Buckeyes against a legitimate opponent again until Dec. 20, when they play UNC at the United Center in Chicago.

3. Maryland (8-1)

Maryland was looking great until Dez Wells went down with an injury. The Terrapins knocked off Arizona State and Iowa State to win the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Without Wells, the Terps lost to Virginia and struggled with Monmouth.

Right now, Maryland has freshman Melo Trimble to carry the load. Once Wells returns to action, the Terps will be a tough out in the Big Ten.

4. Michigan State (6-3)

Michigan State has lost away from home to some good teams. While it’s a bit troubling the Spartans have not come through in any of their three games against likely NCAA Tournament teams, they haven’t done anything to show they are not good. (Kind of like what their rival Michigan did…)

5. Michigan (6-2)

Michigan was upset by NJIT over the weekend in a stunning loss. But it’s too early to panic.

The Wolverines don’t have any marquee wins, but they played Villanova well on a neutral site. They can still compete for a top-four spot in this league.

6. Illinois (7-1)

We will know much more about Illinois by the end of tonight, when they face No. 7 Villanova. The Fighting Illini have a neutral-site win against Baylor and a road loss to Miami (Fla.). They are definitely better this year, but at this point it’s hard to tell how much they’ve improved.

7. Iowa (7-2)

Iowa is actually defending! The Hawkeyes have the third-most efficient defense in the Big Ten, according to Kenpom. They have a nice win at UNC, but a neutral-site loss to Syracuse shows the Hawkeyes are not yet back to being a Top-25 club.

8. Minnesota (7-2)

Minnesota failed to get quality wins against Louisville and St. John’s, but the Golden Gophers have won all their other games. Their win against Georgia could wind up being a quality one by the end of the season.

9. Nebraska (5-2)

Nebraska’s Kenpom numbers are fairly similar to last year’s. The Cornhuskers are a little worse overall at No. 63. (They were No. 44 at the end of last season.)

One big difference has been their luck. They ranked No. 76 in luck last year en route to finishing fourth in the Big Ten, and so far this year they rank No. 222.

10. Purdue (7-2)

Purdue was going to be No. 8 and not far behind Iowa, but then the Boilermakers lost at home to North Florida. This young team still has a chance to be a sleeper in the Big Ten, as evidenced by wins against Missouri and BYU.

11. Indiana (7-1)

Indiana has respectable wins against SMU and Pittsburgh, but the Hoosiers also lost at home to Eastern Washington. Like with Illinois, we will learn a lot about the Hoosiers tonight when they face Louisville at the Jimmy V Classic.

12. Penn State (8-1)

Penn State is on a 6-game winning streak, but the best win during that stretch is at home against Akron. The Nittany Lions’ only loss is in double overtime to Charlotte.

13. Northwestern (5-3)

Northwestern has lost three games in a row after starting 5-0. The Wildcats best win is against North Florida. They would be ranked No. 14 if they hadn’t played competitively at Butler Saturday.

14. Rutgers (4-4)

Rutgers has done something very important that Northwestern has not — beat Power-5 schools. The Scarlet Knights have wins against Vanderbilt and Clemson away from home. But an 18-point home loss to St. Peter’s is still mind-boggling.

Leave a Reply