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Hey, let’s do some Big Ten power rankings

With conference play starting in a week, how do the teams stack up so far?

NCAA Basketball: Delaware State at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Look, this site needs some content and I’m tired of talking about Indiana dominating sub-300 KenPom teams and losing only to other teams within the Hoosier State. So let’s do a Big Ten power rankings since every team has played about 10 games so far and we can start to get a general sense of who’s good.

14. Nebraska

Good win: Dayton

Bad loss: Gardner-Webb

If the Huskers don’t pick it up during conference play, could this be the end for Tim Miles? His act in Lincoln seems to be getting stale, but they’ll have a big chance to make a statement in their B1G opener in Bloomington next Wednesday.

13. Rutger

Good win: none

Bad loss: none

The Scarlet Knights are 11-1! That’s four more wins than NCAA violations they had yesterday! Hey 11 wins is something but let’s see who they’ve played-


For now let’s keep them at 13 but maybe if they beat Seton Hall this weekend we can start to take them a little seriously.

12. Penn State

Good win: none

Bad loss: Albany

The Nittany Lions are a young team that doesn’t have any wins that stand out on their schedule yet, but their uptempo play could give some B1G teams trouble in conference play. I’d say right now they’re a year away, but that January 18 game against IU in the Bryce Jordan Center is one I’ve been dreading for months now.

11. Michigan State

Good win: Wichita State

Bad loss: Northeastern

The Spartans have played a touch schedule, starting the year off with Arizona and Kentucky back-to-back. But they’ve lost to all four of their top-20 KenPom opponents and had a devastating loss at home to a Northeastern team that wasn’t expected to compete for its conference title. Could MSU basketball have a down season like MSU football did? Or will Tom Izzo continue to find a way to get this team playing well in March like always?

10. Iowa

Good win: Iowa State

Bad loss: Nebraska-Omaha

Fran McCaffrey took his team off the court before postgame handshakes last night because he was mad that North Dakota tried a buzzer-beating shot while down by double-digits.

Also because Fran McCaffrey always has to be mad about something.

9. Minnesota

Good win: Arkansas

Bad loss: none

The Gophers, who were the other problem child in the conference last year, are also off to a rip-roaring 11-1 start. Their competition, however, is mostly better than what Rutger has faced, thus the higher ranking so far.

8. Illinois

Good win: VCU

Bad loss: Winthrop

This is a do-or-die year for John Groce, whose teams have been trending downward recently. Other than three losses in five days over Thanksgiving week, the Illini have been winning games relatively easily. Their B1G opener at Maryland could be a good early test.

7. Maryland

Good wins: Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Bad loss: Pitt (?)

It’s a typical Mark Turgeon Maryland team at this point: one that’s not highly rated by KenPom but winning games with a flair for the dramatic - so far, they have three one-point victories in 13 games and had to fend off feisty challenges from Towson and Richmond.

6. Ohio State

Good win: Providence (?)

Bad loss: Florida Atlantic

The home loss to FAU is a blemish, and the only top-50 KenPom teams they’ve played to this point are UCLA and UVA, but the advanced stats really like this team, especially on defense. Indiana won’t meet these guys until the final game of the regular season.

5. Northwestern

Good wins: Dayton, Wake Forest

Bad loss: none

Literally the one thing anyone knows about Northwestern hoops is that they haven’t ever made the NCAA Tourney.

That may change this year!

The Wildcats are 10-2 and outside of two close losses to Butler and Notre Dame, they’re undefeated.


4. Michigan

Good wins: SMU, Marquette

Bad loss: none

Michigan has a couple fine wins and their three losses aren’t awful, but the Wolverines are playing at a Virginia-level tempo (348th out of 351 teams), so expect some snoozefests from the Crisler Center this winter.

3. Wisconsin

Good wins: Syracuse, Marquette (update: Syracuse is no longer a good win as they lost to St. John’s by 33)

Bad loss: none

The Badgers look like a typical Wisconsin team and Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ are putting on clinics most nights. This team will definitely challenge for the Big Ten title, and Indiana will get them at home to start off 2017 with a bang.

2. Purdue

Good win: Notre Dame

Bad loss: none

Nothing wrong with losing to the national champs at home or to Louisville in the Yum Center. And the Boilers’ outside shooting is looking great - a change from past Purdue teams. They’ll be good, but Purdue fans will still find reasons to hate Matt Painter.

1. Indiana

Good wins: Kansas, UNC

Bad loss: Fort Wayne

Like I was going to rank anyone else #1. Win against Louisville on New Years Eve and we could be talking a really high tourney seed as long as the Hoosiers take care of business in conference play.

Here are my two concerns about the Hoosiers so far. First is the turnovers, of course. IU misses having Yogi Ferrell, which was going to be obvious, but the point-guard-by-committee hasn’t entirely panned out yet and Josh Newkirk is still learning his role in the offense.

The other is more about the team’s identity and what it wants itself to be. Some nights, like against Kansas, IU replicates the high-scoring three-point heavy entertainment of the past couple years. Other nights, like against UNC, this team would rather grind it out and out-tough opponents on the glass. Both have produced wins, but if Indiana wants to win a Big Ten title, they’ll need to be more consistent and comfortable playing to their strengths.