Thoughts on B1G MBB first week

In power poll format:

1. Indiana - looking sharp while destroying chum. Shooting well, freshmen might be better than advertised, and the defense should keep them in the conference title race all year long.

2. Michigan State - Losing at the last second on a wet court to Gonzaga serves almost as much notice to the rest of a conference as a win would have. Good balance here but lack of a go-to guy might be a concern.

3. Illinois - the frontcourt looks great, just absolutely great with Dainja & Shannon killing it. There's decent depth here, too, but we'll see how the freshmen backcourt fare on the road.

4. OSU - how the newcomers all mesh when competition stiffens up remains to be seen, but Justice Sueing looks to be back at full strength, which means the Buckeyes shouldn't be counted out for the conference title .

5. Wisconsin - I don't expect this to last, but I have to give credit to the Badgers for one of the best first-week wins for the Big Ten (a "neutral" site win over Stanford in Milwaukee). Depth is definitely going to be a concern going forward, but true freshman Connor Essegian is performing well off the bench.

6. I expected Peyton Sandfort to get starter's minutes, but I didn't expect Iowa to go with a "four-forwards, one scoring guard" starting lineup. Guard play and depth seem a little iffy, but so far so good.

7. Purdue - Zach Edey is living and true freshmen Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith are holding down the backcourt duties unexpectedly well. It's always hard to get too much of a read on a Matt Painter team in November, though.

8. Penn State - Transfers Wynter and Funk have hit the ground shooting, as the Lions have 5 guys averaging double figures so far. Interior depth is the primary thing to watch going forward, but PSU looks notably improved.

9. Michigan - Hunter Dickinson still looks great, Jett Howard is an impact freshman... but they had to rally against EMU to get a win in the final minutes of the game. The pieces aren't quite together yet, but they probably will be soon. Probably.

10. Rutgers - This might be unfair, as Pikiell's team has three wins with Caleb McConnell still sitting out, but struggling against UMass-Lowell does raise an eyebrow. True freshman point Derek Simpson is overperforming expectations.

11. Maryland - I've seen nothing so far that has refuted my skepticism regarding this team's ability to compete with the rest of the conference. I think scratching out enough wins to get a NIT berth is the ceiling here.

12. Northwestern - Beran's off to a hot start, and Boo Buie will give this team a chance to spring some upsets. Reserve center Matt Nicholson's doing pretty well in limited minutes, but that's about it for the depth.

13. Nebraska - Sam Griesel might be the leader that Hoiberg has been missing, and the early returns on interior play from Keita, Breidenbach, and Gary look promising. Point guard play is my biggest question for this squad.

14. Minnesota - The near-loss to Western Michigan is concerning, but relying on Will Ramberg for starting minutes is, uh, a bold strategy, Cotton, let's see if it pays off for them.

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