Big Ten MBB Power Poll check-in

Well, it's been a pretty mixed bag for the conference in the opening non-conference games. Purdue has been great, there's been a few notable wins, but also a lot of mediocrity. I still expect more than half of the conference to make the NCAA tourney, but most of them might not stay long.

1. (=) Purdue 7-0: #1 in the country, a huge showing in Maui - What more can be said? Lance Jones has barged his way into the starting line-up, and is possibly a dimension they didn't have last year.

2. (+1) Illinois 5-1: They hung with Marquette before falling late. They've not beaten anyone of note yet, but the schedule toughens up now. Weirdly, some vets (Hawkins) have gotten off to bad or non-existent (Harris) starts, but this team is deep enough that the talent still overwhelms mediocre opponents.

3. (+5) Ohio State 6-1: This has been about as good of a start as Holtman could've asked for. The win over Alabama should have lasting value. Vets Thornton and Gayle look great so far, and although Key maybe isn't fully back up to speed, there's a notable difference between when he's available for this team.

4. (-2) Michigan State 4-3: Even granting a tough schedule, this has been a bad start for Izzo. It's not unusual for his teams to start off a little unevenly, but they haven't really banked any decent wins yet (unless Butler turns out better than expected). And worryingly, the personnel seems like they maybe don't fit together?

5. (=) Wisconsin 5-2: The Badgers are not off to a bad start, but they also don't look particularly strong. They've got a couple of great opportunities to put the world on notice with upcoming games against Arizona and Marquette.

6. (-2) Northwestern 5-1: The home loss to Mississippi State doesn't end their NCAA hopes, but it was the only ranked non-conference team on their schedule. They have to finish the non-conference schedule perfectly, and probably get a signature victory or two in conference, in order to squeak into the Field of 68.

7. (+6) Nebraska 7-0: Undefeated, but of their foes so far, only Duquesne might qualify for some sort of a postseason. The upside is that the transfer big men look competent, and Hoiberg might have a little depth to work with this year.

8. (-1) Indiana 5-1 Not necessarily an impressive start, but not disastrous either. The lack of depth in the backcourt grows more worrisome with each bump XJ receives.

9. (=) Michigan 4-3: They've played a tough schedule, but the talent is still there to sneak into the Big Dance.

10. (+2) Iowa 5-2: The Hawkeyes are pretty hard to read, and probably better than I initially forecast, but I'm still skeptical. There's no shame in losing to Oklahoma and UConn, but the only notable win to this point seems to be Seton Hall, who might be in rebuilding mode this year

.11. (=) Rutgers 5-1: Losing to Princeton seems less bad now, but they also haven't notched any wins of note yet (and Georgetown doesn't count).

12. (-6) Maryland 4-3: This is what a disastrous start looks like for a team that expected to be ranked. Losing to 'Nova is understandable, but UAB? Davidson? The Terps basically need to go undefeated in December to climb back into the bubble picture. They should be hungry to prove themselves in the IU game.

13. (-3) Minnesota 4-2: Again, hard to read - they've beaten cupcakes and lost to any team with a postseason pulse. I like that this team seems to have to most depth of any Gopher squad in a number of years. Cam Christie has been a pleasant surprise.

14. (=) Penn State 4-3: After the cupcake teams in the schedule stopped, so did the wins. Losing to a rebuilding Butler team at home doesn't look great.

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