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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings 1/8/24

Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings 1/8/24

Publish Date: 01/08/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

The Big Ten looks like a three-team race between Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois. I would still watch Indiana, Ohio State, and Michigan State as dark horses in the conference. Michigan, Rutgers and Penn State are bad teams, while Northwestern and Nebraska will pull off a lot of upsets on their home court this season. How good are Iowa and Minnesota?

14) Michigan Wolverines

Michigan has fallen to the basement of the Big Ten. It makes sense since Juwan Howard is the Head Coach! The Wolverines lost two winnable games this past week and look to have called it a season already.

13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers, Michigan and Penn State appear to be in an intense competition to claim the bottom spot in the league right now, though Rutgers might benefit from Michigan being so disorganized – meaning Michigan might keep that sport for a while.

12) Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State had an up-and-down week with a blowout loss at Michigan State, and then an exciting comeback win against Michigan. While their talent may help them defeat some decent opponents, a long season in Happy Valley is ahead.

11) Maryland Terrapins

Maryland had an unfortunate week, dropping both games to Purdue and Minnesota. The Terrapins had looked better recently, the loss to Purdue was expected the loss to Minnesota was bad.

10) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota might present an obstacle in the Big Ten this year. After picking up two crucial wins this week — on the road at Michigan and at home against Maryland — they don’t appear to be pushovers anymore in their conference.

9) Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa can be difficult to gauge right now as these Hawkeyes have had an uneven start but have improved considerably recently. While I believe they could become hot at some point in the season, now is the time for Iowa to start winning games if they want to make an NCAA Tournament appearance. They are good offensively, but the defensive side of the ball has been cause for concern.

8) Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State has let two conference games slip away, most recently losing at Indiana. They remain one of the top teams talent-wise in the Big Ten but need to finish games stronger than they have so far this season. The loss to Penn State was a bad loss, and, combined with the Indiana game, is why the Buckeyes are so low. I expect them to finish the season strong and end up top 5 on these rankings.

7) Indiana Hoosiers

Early in the week, the Hoosiers were beaten badly in Nebraska while turning the ball over almost twenty times. They bounced back with a huge win over Ohio State at home on Saturday night and turned the ball over five times. The Saturday night version of the Hoosiers is a contender. The question will be, can the Hoosiers build off this win and get it done at Rutgers on Tuesday night?

Video: Ohio State at Indiana | Extended Highlights | Big Ten Basketball | Jan. 6, 2024

Ohio State at Indiana | Extended Highlights | Big Ten Basketball | Jan. 6, 2024

6) Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern is a Top 20 team at home but an NIT team on the road, and they proved that once again this week. Truly great teams don’t lose by 30 in rivalry games against Illinois like the Wildcats did. So until I see more evidence of Northwestern’s success away from campus, I won’t move them any higher on my list.

5) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska had a great win at home against Indiana but then went on the road and got destroyed by Wisconsin. Nebraska looks similar to Northwestern, which means they are much better at home than on the road.

Video: Indiana at Nebraska | Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Jan. 3, 2024

Indiana at Nebraska | Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Jan. 3, 2024

4) Michigan State Spartans

Do I think Michigan State should drop after losing to Northwestern on Sunday night? Yes, but I won’t drop them too far, as anyone who knows Michigan State must have seen this coming. Let’s see how they respond to Illinois on Thursday. How the Spartans have played the last few weeks leads me to believe that Northwestern is a very good team at home.

Video: Michigan State at Northwestern | Highlights | Big Ten Men's Basketball | Jan. 7, 2024

Michigan State at Northwestern | Highlights | Big Ten Men’s Basketball | Jan. 7, 2024

3) Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois recorded a 1-1 mark this past week and made quite an impactful statement with their performances. After beating Northwestern by 30 points, Illinois narrowly lost at Purdue — even though the game was not as close as the final score would indicate. Overall, Illinois remains one of the premier teams in the league.

Video: Illinois vs Northwestern | 2024.1.2 | NCAAB Game

Illinois vs Northwestern | 2024.1.2 | NCAAB Game

2) Wisconsin Badgers

At the start of the season, the Badgers made an immediate statement by dominating Marquette. The Badgers won two convincing victories at home, and are quickly cementing themselves as one of the premier teams in the Big Ten.

Video: Nebraska at Wisconsin | Highlights | Big Ten Basketball | Jan. 6, 2024

Nebraska at Wisconsin | Highlights | Big Ten Basketball | Jan. 6, 2024

1) Purdue Boilermakers

This is getting redundant, but the Boilermakers seem destined to stay in the top spot on these rankings for the entire season. They handled Illinois after fighting off a late charge by the Illini and destroyed Maryland on the road earlier in the week.

Video: Illinois at Purdue | Extended Highlights | Big Ten Basketball | Jan. 5, 2024

Illinois at Purdue | Extended Highlights | Big Ten Basketball | Jan. 5, 2024

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