Let’s start with the obvious: this is my opinion, and I will take the scrutiny for my opinions. My take on power rankings is that if a team is ranked better than you, then that team has a better than 50% chance of beating you on a neutral court, currently.
Easy pick here. Purdue is a top 3 team in the nation and arguably the best when it can shoot the ball and limit turnovers. Zach Edey is still the front runner for the Naismith and Purdue’s freshman guards are playing lights out early in their careers.
The only other B1G team in the AP top 25, Wisconsin’s three losses are by 1 to #2 Kansas, by 3 to Wake Forest, and by 10 at Illinois. Three straight games against MSU, Indiana, and Penn State should show their colors.
3) Michigan State
Tom Izzo teams simply know how to win. MSU did itself no favors by scheduling a brutal non-conference slate, but B1G play has been smoother sailing for the Spartans, who have won 6 in a row. Another gauntlet awaits as MSU will take on Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue on the road as well as Purdue, Rutgers and Iowa at home in the next 3 weeks.
Color me shocked as Boo Buie and Chase Audige have led the Wildcats to a strong start this season. After the losses of Ryan Young and Pete Nance to Duke and UNC, the season’s outlook was dim but Chris Collins’ squad have played fundamental basketball and made it work, winning 12 of its first 15 games.
This Michigan squad has talent, no doubt. Hunter Dickinson can be a thorn in anyone’s side and Jett Howard looks poised to win B1G Freshman of the Year. Like their in-state rival, Michigan played a brutal non-conference schedule, racking up 5 losses in 11 games. Also like MSU, Michigan has faired better in B1G play. Playing Minnesota, Maryland, Penn State, and Michigan State isn’t the biggest test, however. That test lies ahead of Michigan.
If nothing else, Rutgers is this high because they have juju on their side. For the second straight year, Rutgers has beaten #1 Purdue to hand them their first loss, this time in Mackey. Then Rutgers beat Maryland and lost at home to Iowa. You never know which Rutgers you’re going to get each night, but the good Rutgers that suffocates you can be a force to be reckoned with.
Illinois has some nice wins on its resume this season with victories over UCLA, Texas, and Wisconsin. This is a talented team but the loss of Skyy Clark puts a dent in the Illini armor. Let’s see if Illinois can rise back to its status that followed the holiday tournament in Las Vegas.
Maryland has a few nice wins on the season, beating Illinois and Ohio State, both of whom were ranked at the time as well as a good Miami squad. Maryland has five losses to five good teams, but you have to win more than 3 against the good teams to break into the top of this league.
9) Ohio State
Ohio State’s best win this season was over Texas Tech and its second best is likely the victory over Northwestern in Evanston. That’s not an elite resume and the Buckeyes missed their shot at taking down Purdue at home last week. OSU will look to get back on track against Minnesota this week.
As per the usual, Iowa is able to score the ball but at the expense of defense. Iowa took a devastating three game losing streak to Eastern Illinois, Nebraska, and Penn State and turned it around by beating Indiana and Rutgers on the road. There is still time to build back up for the Hawkeyes but no B1G game is easy.
Losing Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson are big losses for this IU squad, despite their ability to recruit high talent players. Recruiting does not always equal winning in Bloomington, however. Jalen Hood-Schifino is a baller and Trayce Jackson-Davis continues to put up big numbers in losing efforts.
12) Penn State
This Penn State squad has played well under Micah Shrewsberry but the Nittany Lions are still looking to break through to the middle and top tiers of the Big Ten. Like Maryland, Penn State has a nice win at Illinois but that’s about it for marquee wins. PSU will have its chances to gain more with its B1G schedule, and Jalen Pickett may will them to those victories.
Nebrasketball is just so confusing to me. The Huskers can lose by 20 to St Johns but then beat #7 Creighton on the road and hold within 3 to Purdue. Averaging 13 turnovers and shooting 65% from the line may have something to do with it.
What can you say other than it was a barn-fire (pun intended) coming into the job for Ben Johnson and recruiting talented players is not an easy job, whether it be from the high school level or transfer portal.