Minnesota is the worst team in the Big ten this season, and it’s not even close.
The Hawkeyes have won just two of their last seven games and are nearly spiralling out of control.
Even though they are ranked 12th here, they have improved a ton from last year and already have a Big Ten win. They won’t be a tournament team, but they are finally headed in the right direction.
The Wolverines’ win over Maryland showed what this team should be, and they may get on a streak and look good for awhile, but coaching is the issue in Michigan.
The Wildcats are a tough group that looks like they will be better than what most thought this season. The Wildcats are an excellent defensive team.
Tom Izzo’s team beat Kentucky in overtime, but the Wildcats are not playing well this season. Although a one-point loss against Gonzaga is impressive and notable, Michigan State has not had a significant win outside Kentucky. With conference play looming, this could change quickly.
Maryland needs to prove they can hang with the best: their losses to Wisconsin, Tennessee and UCLA all raise concerns. The loss to Michigan the other night makes those concerns grow.
The Nittany Lions are still rolling and have not lost a single game since December 7th against Michigan State. Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy and Seth Lundy remain three of the best players in the conference at this stage. Penn State capitalizes on the opportunities. They shoot just below 50% from the floor and keep opponents to less than 40.
When they play well, Illini is probably the best team in the Conference; the problem is that they seldom seem to play at the top of their game.
Rutgers has two colossal conference wins this season as they blew out Indiana and squeaked by Purdue. Rutgers is a well-coached, hard-nosed team that may be good enough not to spend the last part of the year fighting for their tournament lives. Rutgers can finish this high in the Big Ten at season’s end.
The Buckeyes have been the best offensive team in the conference this season. Junior Zed Key is the leading scorer on the team, but Bruce Thornton and Brice Sensabaugh have significantly impacted both ends of the court. They even managed to take last year’s runner-up North Carolina to overtime. They played close to the finish against San Diego State and Duke — both top 30 teams in the nation.
The Hoosiers are one of if not the most talented teams in the Big Ten. The question now will be, can they play with consistent intensity night in and night out in the Big Ten? With Xavier Johnson out, it hurts the Hoosiers’ backcourt but look for Tamar Bates to start to play a much more significant role.
The Badgers had concerns going into the year with Johnny Davis, their star player, leaving for the NBA. But Wisconsin looks more complete after his departure. Wisconsin is a scary place to play with players like Tyler Wahl, Chucky Hepburn and Steven Crowl. It has been consistent throughout the season. The losses were also by a combined four points, one to Kansas and one to Wake Forest.
One loss does not change that the Boilermakers have been the best team in the Big Ten this season. Zach Edey is a favorite for National Player of the year. Fletcher Loyer, a freshman, is gaining a lot of the production Purdue was afraid of losing after Jaden Ivey’s departure. It is difficult to see any weaknesses in the Boilermakers at this time. There may be teams with more talent, but the Boilermakers are consistent and always play hard. Do I think the Boilers will maintain this ranking all year? I have my doubts, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
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