We just had a little taste of conference play so it’s time to rank the teams!
14. Illinois Fighting Illini; 2-7 (0-2) (Last Time: 14)
Since we last met: 1-5; 68-84 v. Iowa State; 74-83 v. Xavier; 86-67 v. Mississippi Valley State; 74-76 at Notre Dame; 60-75 at Nebraska; 67-77 vs. Ohio State
How is this team worse? Oh, they give up more easy shots, allow more offensive rebounds, and foul opponents more than last year. Yeesh. And with like three freshmen in the rotation, they’re not particularly young, either.
Schedule has done no favors for them though, as it ranks fifth most difficult according to KenPom.
13. Penn State Nittany Lions; 4-4 (0-2) (LT: 12)
Since we last met: 2-3; 77-59 v. Wright State; 56-59 v. Bradley; 63-62 v. Virginia Tech; 59-66 at Maryland; 62-64 v. Indiana
Kinda feels like Penn State is a team where it’s fair to make a judgement based on their worst results (DePaul/Bradley) instead of their best (Virginia Tech). Good defense, though!
12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights; 5-3 (0-2) (LT: 13)
Since we last met: 2-2; 54-44 v. Boston University; 57-54 v. Miami (FL); 67-78 v. Michigan State; 64-69 at Wisconsin
I very much look forward to Iowa losing in the RAC and scoring in the 50s in February.
11. Northwestern Wildcats; 6-3 (0-2) (LT: 11)
Since we last met: 3-3; 59-78 v. Fresno State; 91-74 v. La Salle; 79-57 v. Utah; 67-61 v. Georgia Tech; 66-68 at Indiana; 60-62 v. Michigan
Fresno State loss really weighs them down but two close losses to quality Big Ten foes – both where the ‘cats had a lead in the last five minutes – forebears a team which could make some noise in the conference season.
Still struggling to backfill Bryant McIntosh.
10. Maryland Terrapins; 7-2 (1-1) (LT: 9)
Since we last met: 2-2; 104-67 v. Marshall; 71-76 v. Virginia; 66-59 v. Penn State; 60-62 v. Purdue
Two good losses, I guess!
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers; 7-2 (1-1) (LT: 10)
Since we last met: 4-2; 80-66 v. Santa Clara; 68-66 v. Washington; 56-68 at Boston College; 83-76 v. Oklahoma State; 59-79 at Ohio State; 85-78 v. Nebraska
A bit of an enigma, though their only two losses are their only two games on the road. Gabe Kalscheur is the guy you’re gonna hate next year and not realize he still has two more left in Minneapolis.
8. Iowa Hawkeyes; 7-2 (0-2) (LT: 8)
Since we last met: 3-2; 105-78 v. Alabama State; 69-68 v. Pittsburgh; 66-72 v. Wisconsin; 68-90 at Michigan State; 98-84 v. Iowa State
Plenty of other teams have 20 point losses on the road so I’m gonna ride the recency bias of the Cy-Hawk victory.
7. Purdue Boilermakers; 6-3 (1-1) (LT: 6)
Since we last met: 2-2; 84-46 v. Robert Morris; 72-73 at Florida State; 57-76 at Michigan, 62-60 at Maryland
Tough road losses. Would you think differently of them if Florida State didn’t make a last second free throws to win?
6. Nebraska Cornhuskers; 7-2 (1-1) (LT: 3)
Since we last met: 3-2; 52-70 v. Texas Tech; 73-49 v. Western Illinois; 68-66 at Clemson; 75-60 v. Illinois; 78-85 at Minnesota
5. Indiana Hoosiers; 7-2 (2-0) (LT: 4)
Since we last met: 4-1; 78-64 v. UT Arlington; 76-62 v. UC Davis; 69-90 at Duke; 68-66 v. Northwestern; 64-62 at Penn State
If Romeo Langford gets a three-point shot, he might be the most dangerous player in the conference by the end of the season. Still more of a talent-based ranking than results since the conference wins are admittedly very uninspiring inspiring.
4. Wisconsin Badgers; 8-1 (2-0) (LT: 7)
Since we last met: 5-1; 62-46 v. Stanford; 78-58 v. Oklahoma; 46-53 v. Virginia; 79-75 v. North Carolina State; 72-66 at Iowa; 69-64 v. Rutgers
D’Mitrik Trice remains on fire and, hot take, is the best player on Wisconsin. Or the most important. What happens when the three point shooting cools off?
3. Ohio State Buckeyes; 8-1 (2-0) (LT: 5)
Since we last met: 4-1; 68-50 v. Samford; 89-62 v. Cleveland St.; 62-72 v. Syracuse; 79-59 v. Minnesota; 77-67 v. Illinois
Hot take: Chris Holtmann is the second-best coach in the Big Ten.
2. Michigan State Spartans; 7-2 (2-0) (LT: 2)
Since we last met: 4-1; 87-76 v. UCLA; 78-68 v. Texas; 78-82 (OT) at Louisville; 78-67 at Rutgers; 90-68 v. Iowa
After Tom Izzo’s annual mid-early season dip, they bounced back BIG TIME to beat Iowa. And they won that Las Vegas Tournament.
1. Michigan Wolverines; 9-0 (2-0) (LT: 1)
Since we last met: 4-0; 83-55 v. Chattanooga; 84-67 v. North Carolina; 76-57 v. Purdue; 62-60 at Northwestern
It’s incredible how good Michigan’s defense is and how correct I was about them being the best team in the conference. Will I keep bringing my foresight up? You’re gotdang right I will. (at least as long as they stay atop these rankings) Is there some concern about their biggest challenge coming from Northwestern? Nah.
Enjoy the short days!
Next time: End of December!