No time to waste - let's get right to the first rankings of conference play.
14. Rutgers (9-6 Overall, 1-1 B1G) (Previous: 14)
The Scarlet Knights did it! They won a Big Ten game! In only their second try! Sure it was against Penn State, but according to Penn State fans, the Nittany Lions TOTALLY deserve to be a ranked team. Rutgers' two first games have had scores of 51-47 and 50-46, so they're fitting right in with the rest of their B1G brethren.
13. Penn State (12-3, 0-2) (Previous: 6)
Well, that was a quick fall from grace for the Nittany Lions. First, Wisconsin hosed them in Madison as expected. Then, PSU traveled to New Jersey and lost to Rutgers. I warned you the RAC could be tough to play in, right? DJ Newbill might keep this team interesting, but maybe I was a little overzealous in ranking them in the top half of the conference. Especially since other than GW, only one of Penn State's nonconference wins came against a team ranked in the top 150 of KenPom, and that's Akron at #145.
12. Northwestern (10-5, 1-1) (Previous: 13)
Ranked ahead of PSU for the time being because they actually were able to beat Rutgers on the road before Wisconsin destroyed them Sunday night in Evanston. On the bright side, Northwestern has finally repainted its court, so it's no longer that blinding shade of light purple and is much more aesthetically pleasing now.
11. Nebraska (8-6, 0-2) (Previous: 10)
So what happened to the fun, free-wheeling Nebrasketball team of last season? Terran Petteway is firing up random shots like he's Josh Smith (not the Georgetown Josh Smith but the NBA one), and even Tim Miles's halftime tweets have become incredibly vanilla.
We need continue to play good defense without fouling and need to cut down on our turnovers.— Tim Miles (@CoachMiles) January 6, 2015
10. Illinois (10-5, 0-2) (Previous: 7)
Not a great conference play start for John Groce's squad, as they lost in overtime in Ann Arbor then got demolished in Columbus. The Illini should get back on track once they start playing in their home spaceship though.
9. Michigan (8-6, 1-1) (Previous: 12)
I was going to make some jokes about Michigan's offense in the second half against Purdue BUT THEN OUR GAME HAPPENED LAST NIGHT SO I GUESS I WON'T. But seriously, if this team is relying on Spike Albrecht to be their offensive spark, they are in trouble.
8. Minnesota (11-4, 0-2) (Previous: 5)
Like Illinois, the Gophers also have yet to play a B1G home game this season and weren't able to get a win on the road in their first two conference games. Richard Pitino's squad started out hot against Purdue until they self-destructed in the second half. The Gophers have an opportunity to pick up a big home win tonight against Ohio State.
7. Indiana (11-4, 1-1) (Previous: 4)
This is how uninspiring the B1G is right now: last night was maybe the worst I've seen the Hoosiers play since the Syracuse Sweet 16 loss, and yet I'm not inclined to rank the Hoosiers any lower than seventh in the conference. You can read about last night's game elsewhere, so I don't need to recap it here. But Ohio State on Saturday in Bloomington has almost become a must-win for our tournament chances at this point.
6. Purdue (10-5, 2-0) (Previous: 11)
I was at Mackey on Saturday - an experience I'm planning to write more about later - but the Boilers played resiliently throughout the second half against a very cold-shooting Michigan team, and even AJ Hammons had himself a double-double against the Wolverines. At 2-0 in the B1G, I have to rank the Boilers sixth at the moment, despite their Gardner-Webb and North Florida losses. HOPE YOU'RE HAPPIER NOW, T-MILL.
5. Michigan State (10-5, 1-1) (Previous: 8)
Let's pretend that last night didn't happen, okay? And yes, I have a team with five losses including a home loss to Texas Southern ranked fifth in the B1G right now and I'm totally okay with that. It's like all of the sudden Big Ten football and Big Ten hoops have switched places in some sort of Freaky Friday moment.
4. Ohio State (12-3, 1-1) (Previous: 3)
Maybe a loss at home to Iowa was the spark the Buckeyes needed to get them back into shape, because the Buckeyes absolutely pounded Illinois at Value City Arena on Saturday. I'm not completely sold on the Buckeyes, but I will get to see them in Assembly Hall this weekend. IU has been getting torched by good guard play so far this season, and this makes me concerned about how OSU standout freshman D'Angelo Russell will fare against us.
3. Iowa (11-4, 2-0) (Previous: 9)
Okay fine, Hawkeyes. Maybe I was wrong about you when I ranked you ninth in the B1G two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes don't have the same offensive firepower as they had last year with Roy Devyn Marble, but their defense has been on point this year, and Aaron White could be gunning for All-B1G team honors.
2. Maryland (14-1, 2-0) (Previous: 2)
Anyone that wasn't buying the Terps this season before last week hopefully has changed their minds after the first two games of conference play. Maryland hung tight all game at Michigan State, and despite a technical on Mark Turgeon, the Terps eked out a double-OT win in East Lansing, WHICH I HEAR IS A TOUGH PLACE TO WIN. Then they went back to College Park and easily beat Minnesota by 12. Sadly, the Terps and Badgers only play once this year, and not until February 24. Thanks, Delany.
1. Wisconsin (14-1, 2-0) (Previous: 1)
These guys are fourth in the nation for a reason. And sure, they've only faced Penn State and Northwestern in the conference so far, but their offense was very efficient in both contests, and they scored so many points, that they didn't look like the Wisconsin we're familiar with. The Badgers are still a clear number one in the conference, but maybe Maryland is closing the gap. Or maybe they're not and I'm just trying to make things interesting.