Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updated Big Ten Power Rankings

We are now in the thick of Big Ten play and the clouded picture that was the conference outlook is starting to clear up a little bit.
Here are my updated Big Ten college basketball power rankings:
1. Michigan (19-1, 6-1) – I still feel that the Wolverines and Indiana are the top two teams in the Big Ten, but both teams have to show they can win some big games on the road. Michigan has three of its next four on the road against Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State.
2. Indiana (18-2, 6-1) – The Hoosiers don’t have that same image they had coming into the start of the regular season. Though it still has tremendous talent, Indiana has looked average at times and has appeared very beatable at home. Though their toughest road games are still later in the season, the Hoosiers host Michigan on Saturday in a huge game.
3. Michigan State (17-4, 6-2) – Michigan State looked impressive in a loss at Indiana. The Spartans have been the most surprising team to me, in a good way. I didn’t expect MSU to have the talent to compete night-in and night-out in the Big Ten. MSU has competed, and it showed at Indiana that it can possibly win this conference.
4. Ohio State (15-4, 5-2) – I still have my doubts about the Buckeyes, especially when it comes to winning on the road. Ohio State still has to head to Ann Arbor and Bloomington, and they still have to host the Hoosiers on Feb. 10.
5. Wisconsin (14-6, 5-2) – The Badgers have established themselves as a contender thanks to a big win at Indiana. Despite that, Wisconsin still lacks a lot of scoring, which sets up losses to teams like Iowa. If the Badgers can find more consistent scoring, they can be a tough team to beat going forward.
6. Minnesota (15-5, 3-4) – The Gophers have been the most disappointing team in the conference so far. They had a big win over MSU to go with a great non-conference performance. Yet, Minnesota has lost four straight. Three of the losses have been on the road and three have been to three of the top five teams on this list. With the schedule getting a little lighter going forward, look for Minnesota to work its way up the standings.
7. Purdue (11-9, 4-3) – The Boilermakers are young and have had trouble keeping pace with the high-scoring teams in the conference, but they still have beaten the lesser teams in the Big Ten. It’s possible Purdue could make the NCAA Tournament if it continues to beat the bottom half of the conference.
8. Illinois (15-6, 2-5) – The Fighting Illini had a great non-conference season, beating the likes of Butler and Gonzaga, but Illinois has not been very good in conference play. The Illini have some talent, but it isn’t translating into wins right now. Illinois has MSU, Wisconsin and Indiana in its next three games.
9. Iowa (13-7, 2-5) – The Hawkeyes have been a team that have been pesky for the top teams in the conference. Only Michigan was really able to blow Iowa out of the water, as the Hawkeyes lost to Indiana by four and MSU by three. Iowa has beaten the likes of Northwestern and Wisconsin and now have a stretch of winnable games.
10. Northwestern (12-9, 3-5) – The Wildcats have been hot and cold. They have beaten the likes of Illinois and Minnesota but suffered a 20-point loss at home to Iowa and a 15-point loss at Nebraska. If Northwestern can find some consistency, it can perhaps play spoiler for a few Big Ten teams in the second half of the conference season.
11. Nebraska (11-10, 2-6) – Not much was expected of Nebraska in basketball when it joined the Big Ten, and the Cornhuskers haven’t provided much. But, they can be happy they are not Penn State.
12. Penn State (8-12, 0-8) – There really is nothing positive to say about the Nittany Lions right now. Penn State can’t even get past Nebraska. Seven of the eight conference losses have been by at least nine points.

So, now that you have seen my rankings, who do you see as the favorite to win the Big Ten right now?

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