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Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings 12/26/23

Publish Date: 12/26/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

The Big Ten does not look like an eight or nine-bid league at this point, but they may have a National Championship team for the first time in over two decades as the Purdue Boilermakers are an exciting deep team that can do it all. The rest of the Big Ten outside of Purdue all have major questions, and the answers will reveal themselves over the next month. Don’t sleep on the Fighting Illini either, as they are a multi-talented team that could make a March run.

14) Iowa Hawkeyes

Owen Freeman is making strides as a Big Ten freshman of the year candidate, yet Iowa remains winless across quadrant one games. However, they remain perfect against Quad 3 teams (6 wins total).

Video: Owen Freeman Highlights | B1G Men's Basketball Freshman of the Week | Dec. 4, 2023

Owen Freeman Highlights | B1G Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week | Dec. 4, 2023

13) Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions are trying to turn things around after that five-game early-season losing streak. They shocked Ohio State and beat up on Le Moyne in their final game before the break, but what looked like a bogus foul call on Ace Baldwin with 2.1 seconds left gave Georgia Tech an 82-81 win at Madison Square Garden. The Nittany Lions are improving, the question is, how high is their ceiling?

Video: Georgia Tech at Penn State | Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Dec. 16, 2023

Georgia Tech at Penn State | Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Dec. 16, 2023

12) Rutgers Scarlet Knights

As usual, Rutgers can play defense, the issue is the offense is worse than usual.

Video: Rutgers vs. Mississippi State | Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Dec. 23, 2023

Rutgers vs. Mississippi State | Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Dec. 23, 2023

11) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota has played eight of its 12 games against Quad 4 opponents and only earned one win outside that quadrant. What can we expect against top competition? No one knows!

Video: Ball State at Minnesota | Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Dec. 21, 2023

Ball State at Minnesota | Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Dec. 21, 2023

10) Michigan Wolverines

The Michigan Wolverines have struggled to sustain positive momentum. Juwan Howard returned after an incident with strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson and efficiently handled Eastern Michigan at home. Howard even spoke with reporters for the first time since losing to Vanderbilt on March 18 in the NIT; it seemed all was good until three days later, Michigan lost in double overtime against Florida.

Video: Michigan vs Florida Highlights | NCAA Men's Basketball | 2023 College Basketball

Michigan vs Florida Highlights | NCAA Men’s Basketball | 2023 College Basketball

9) Michigan State Spartans

With their season in doubt, Michigan State climbed back from the brink and delivered an 88-64 win against Top ten Baylor at home in Detroit to shock everyone and reach.500 again before going into Christmas break. Michigan State are also dealing with the tragic shooting of freshman guard Jeremy Fears Jr., who was hospitalized following being shot this weekend before Christmas break. Michigan State will be tested on the 30th as the 11-1 Indiana State Sycamores come to town.

Video: 12/16/2023 - Michigan State 88 Baylor 64

12/16/2023 – Michigan State 88 Baylor 64

8) Maryland Terrapins

The Terps have struggled this season, but that all could be changing. They got their best win of the season this past week with an outstanding performance out west beating UCLA.

Video: Maryland Men's Basketball Highlights | Maryland 69, UCLA 60

Maryland Men’s Basketball Highlights | Maryland 69, UCLA 60

7) Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers were awful in last Tuesday’s win over the Morehead State Eagles, a game they could have easily lost. They bounced back, playing much better on Thursday as they blew out North Alabama. Many questions still surround the Hoosiers, but Thursday’s win was promising as they shot the deep ball well.

Video: Morehead St. at Indiana | Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Dec. 19, 2023

Morehead St. at Indiana | Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Dec. 19, 2023

6) Northwestern Wildcats

Credit where credit is due: Northwestern has made up for their loss to Chicago State by beating DePaul and Arizona State, two teams not expected to reach the NCAA Tournament this year, but Northwestern didn’t let its defeat to Chicago State affect another game, which might otherwise tarnish its resume all season long; perhaps Northwestern’s strength can overcome such an unfortunate stain?

Video: Northwestern vs Arizona State Highlights | NCAA Men's Basketball | 2023 College Basketball

Northwestern vs Arizona State Highlights | NCAA Men’s Basketball | 2023 College Basketball

5) Ohio State Buckeyes

After recovering from their late-game collapse against Penn State, Ohio State went to Atlanta and overcame a physical challenge against UCLA as part of the CBS Sports Classic. While it wasn’t pretty, and they nearly went without making a 3-point shot in a game for the first time in over ten years – but somehow Ohio State managed to come through and beat UCLA as part of this eventful contest. Defense is improving while Bruce Thornton may even earn All-Big Ten honors this season. I will throw this word of caution out there, UCLA is not that good this season.

Video: UCLA at Ohio State | Extended Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Dec. 16, 2023

UCLA at Ohio State | Extended Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Dec. 16, 2023

4) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska was shaken up after consecutive double-digit losses to Creighton and Minnesota in December. Yet, they’ve since rebounded with impressive wins to become one of the Big Ten’s sleeper teams this season. Nebrasketball is once more enjoyable, while Nebraska could find its way into the NCAA Tournament this season.

Video: Nebraska vs Kansas State Highlights | NCAA Men's Basketball | 2023 College Basketball

Nebraska vs Kansas State Highlights | NCAA Men’s Basketball | 2023 College Basketball

3) Wisconsin Badgers

The Wisconsin Badgers entered winter break with a 5-3 record that included no bad losses and four top-55 wins, according to KenPom.com, boasting three Quad 1 wins in the NCAA’s NET rankings – second only to Purdue! – as well as offense and defense, both placing among the top 40 in adjusted efficiency; making this Greg Gard’s most well-balanced squad yet. These Badgers are much improved from last year’s team.

Video: Wisconsin Basketball: Highlights vs Chicago State (12/22/23)

Wisconsin Basketball: Highlights vs Chicago State (12/22/23)

2) Illinois Fighting Illini

Missouri coach Dennis Gates noted after Illinois beat Missouri by 24 points on Dec. 22, it had become evident: the Fighting Illini have Final Four capabilities. Gates described them as such, and it is apparent they are becoming one of the teams most likely to challenge Purdue at the top of these standings; Illinois looks deep, talented and dangerous.

Video: GAME 12: Illinois (8-2) vs Missouri (7-4) | 12-22-2023 | NCAA Men's Basketball

GAME 12: Illinois (8-2) vs Missouri (7-4) | 12-22-2023 | NCAA Men’s Basketball

1) Purdue Boilermakers

Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer made a strong case that Purdue will not resemble its former self come tournament time this season. the pair bot out-score Zach Edey in last week’s impressive win over Arizona. Both sophomore guards outshone Edey by 55 points combined while shooting 9/16 from three. Sure, Zach Edey will score some, but when Purdue’s guards produce at this rate, no team can beat them! The Boilermakers should run away with the regular season Big Ten Tournament. They still have to get past those March Madness demons, but this is a team that can do that.

Video: Fletcher Loyer Highlights | B1G Men's Basketball Player of the Week | Dec. 18, 2023

Fletcher Loyer Highlights | B1G Men’s Basketball Player of the Week | Dec. 18, 2023

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