Minnesota has the fifth-worst point differential among high-major teams, and it may get worse from here. The Golden Gophers are by far and away the worst team in the Big Ten, and I assume they will stay here all season.
The Huskers are near the bottom of the Big Ten until proven otherwise. A combined record of 24-67 under Fred Hoiberg will prove that to a team. Despite this, there are reasons to believe that Nebraska’s group could improve significantly. Consider that six of the Huskers’ losses have been to NCAA Tournament teams per ESPN’s bracketology. You should also consider that four of the Huskers’ defeats were without their most important player. Consider also the impressive performances against the Boilermakers in a loss and against rival Creighton in a victory.
This outfit could be Northwestern’s best since the 2016-17 team that won the first NCAA Tournament game. Or It could be the typical Northwestern team that feasts on cupcakes until conference play and then gets exposed.
The Wolverines aren’t doing anything wrong; they were rated way too high coming into the season. This may still be the largest stock drop in the league, even though UM began the season ranked third according to the Big Ten media poll. They may not live up to those expectations, but this team could still be a top-25 national team when all is said and done.
The season has been largely a success due to Kris Murray junior forward. Kris is the twin brother of Keegan, who enjoyed the same star turn last year and was selected as the fourth pick in both the NBA Draft or Summer League MVP. Losing to Eastern Illinois at home is unacceptable.
We are sorry to the Scarlet Knights that they lost to Ohio State in a thrilling match. Big Ten officials acknowledged should have been a win. I wouldn’t bump this team higher if I could flip that result. They’re still in the thicket of the postseason bid hunt, but they have the feel that they will be on the bubble all year long.
Recent blowout wins over Wake Forest help. Also, a 15-point win over Indiana helps.
It feels like another team would be in the NCAA Tournament field right now, but it is clear that the Nittany Lions still have a lot to do to earn its first ticket since 2010-11.
Even if there are no other wins or losses, a 15-point road win against Illinois is a solid baseline. Although it could drop, Penn State has the highest-rated offense (currently 25th nationally) per Kenpom.com since 2002, when the analytics site was launched.
Michigan State’s key players have filled the void left by three starters and have done a great job. Tyson Walker (a veteran guard) and AJ Hoggard (a creator) have done well. According to Kenpom.com, the Spartans’ turnover percentage has improved from 209th nationally to 32nd. The Spartans have a high ceiling and will move up in these rankings.
The losses to Penn State and Maryland are concerning. However, don’t be too concerned about Illinois’s early conference record. This team has as much potential as any other in the league, which is good news for Fighting Illini fans.
This is what four freshman guards can do for you when you play them a considerable amount of every game. Illinois has six players who average between 8 and 10 points per match. Each one of these guys has a different skill set. Senior guard Terrance Shannon Jr. is the one who has had a minor career Renaissance after transferring from Texas Tech.
As evidenced by the top 15 wins against UCLA and Texas, this team has the potential to reach the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. The blowout loss to Missouri drops them down n this list.
In November, the Terps exceeded all expectations. Three straight losses, with the first two being close, did not help Kevin Willard’s team, but in the end those losses may make the Terps even better.
Although Donald Carey and Jahmir Young were mixed bags as transfer guards, Maryland has benefited from three returnees — Donta Scott, Hakim Hart, and Julian Reese — who have picked up where they left off.
The Buckeyes are just like their contemporaries. They have had a couple of wins and some losses. It is more important that the Buckeyes’ profusion of new talent, both transfers and freshmen, has been able to adapt as well as their scarlet and grey faithful could hope.
Right now, injuries are hurting the Hoosiers, as Trace Jackson Davis and Xavier Johnson have been out. Tamar Bates has played consistently well so far this season. The Hoosiers have strong wins — at Xavier and against North Carolina — and a troika of not-so-close losses to good teams. But I don’t feel much differently about them than I did a month ago when they appeared to be a good team with some questions. This team needs to be more consistent, and they have to shoot the ball better.
The Badgers were not well-regarded when they entered the season, finishing ninth in the Big Ten media survey. They also replaced an All-Big Ten veteran and a lottery pick. The strength of Wisconsin’s start is not due to a single star.
Four players average between 10 and 14.5 points per game for UW. The Badgers’ excellent ball handling has not changed. They are ranked 14th in the nation for turnover rate. Their pace is the slowest in the Big Ten, per Kenpom.com.
It’s fitting that Wisconsin has not had as many highs and low lows as its Big Ten counterparts. The Badgers have four wins over NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents, but none are in the top 20. Four points combined their two losses. The Badgers separate themselves because of how hard they play.
I am not saying that the Big Ten looks like it’s all Purdue, but they are ranked number one in the nation and are playing the best basketball out of everyone in the country.
After the Boilermakers lost five players who were, at least partial starters, it’s quite a turn of events. According to the preseason Big Ten media poll, they were expected to finish fifth. They may be even more impressive than last year’s team, which had Final Four hopes and a top-five pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Can this be the year that Purdue makes it to the Final Four?
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