I think we are deep enough into the Big Ten basketball season to take a look at the league from top to bottom. Michigan State came into the season as the undisputed favorite to win the Big Ten but the Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes have emerged as serious contenders. As of right now, Purdue has to be the new favorite.
1) Purdue Boilermakers – The Boilermakers escaped an upset bid by Indiana last Sunday. They are a complete team. In the past no matter how good Purdue looked in the regular season you could depend on them to fold in March. That looks like it could be changing this year, as the Boilermakers have the look of a Final Four team.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes dominated Indiana on Tuesday night and have a huge matchup with Purdue looming next week.
3) Michigan State Spartans – While Tom Izzo and the Spartans athletic department face many off-court questions, the Spartans are on a roll on the court, having won five-straight games.
4) Michigan Wolverines – The Wolverines own a win over Michigan State and look like they are a solid bet for the NCAA Tournament.
5) Nebraska Cornhuskers – The Cornhuskers are playing very well at the moment and have positioned themselves to be a possible tournament team.
6) Penn State Nittany Lions – The Lions can get into tournament contention over the next three games against Iowa and Maryland, at Illinois.
7) Indiana Hoosiers – Leadership, or the lack of leadership, is killing the Hoosiers and any shot at getting into the conversation for an NCAA bid could hinge on Saturday night’s home game against Michigan State.
8) Maryland Terrapins – The Terrapins are 15-9 but the lack of quality non-conference opponents is hurting them in the eyes of the tournament committee.
9) Northwestern Wildcats – The Wildcats are a big disappointment so far this year and the only way to save the season would start with a win over Michigan next week.
10) Illinois Fighting Illini – The Illini are on a two-game winning streak and are playing well as of late.
11) Iowa Hawkeyes – It’s amazing to me that the Hawkeyes have won 12 games this year.
12) Minnesota Golden Gophers – The Gophers are luck they are this high, considering they have lost 7 of their last 8 games.
13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights – They have trouble scoring and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.
14) Wisconsin Badgers – The Badgers will miss the tournament this year for the first time in 19 years.
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