Each week this Big Ten season, AllHoosiers.com will bring you the conference's power rankings. Keep in mind, the rankings are not based on records, but rather how analyst Justin Albers feels are the best teams in the conference that week.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to weigh in. Each week's power rankings will be posted in the Premium Basketball Forum.
So, without further ado, this week's rankings.
1. Michigan State (13-1, 2-0): There are two teams ranked ahead of the Spartans in both the AP and Coaches' poll, but I really don't care. Based on the games I have seen from all three teams, Michigan State is the best. The Spartans have the best starting lineup in the league, and probably in the nation, and they're bench will develop as the season goes along. Gary Harris, Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson are all capable of being the team's leading scorer on a given night. Disagree with me? Well, we are likely to find out more on Tuesday night when Ohio State visits East Lansing.
2. Ohio State (15-0, 2-0): Here's a statistic for you: Only two teams this season have come within 10 points of beating the Buckeyes, both schools from Indiana. Notre Dame blew a late lead and fell to Ohio State by three, and Purdue fell to the Buckeyes by nine in the Big Ten opener for both teams. The Buckeyes are loaded with talent, and they have the nation's best leader in point guard Aaron Craft.
3. Wisconsin (15-0, 2-0): The Badgers have the most favorable schedule of the three teams at the top. They play both Ohio State and Michigan State at home early, so they have the best shot to win the conference title. Wisconsin rallied late to beat Iowa at home on Sunday, and the Badgers probably should have lost that game. The Hawkeyes melted down in the second half, and their head coach melted down, too. Sam Dekker, Wisconsin's leading scorer, is one of the most underrated players in the nation.
4. Iowa (12-3, 1-1): The conference is much more even now that we're past the top three teams. You could make a case for a number of teams in this No. 4 spot. I'm going with the Hawkeyes. They should be 2-0 with a win at Wisconsin, but they're not. Will Sunday night's meltdown haunt them for awhile? I have a feeling it will. But Iowa is a very good team, and it will be a serious contender in the Big Ten all season long.
5. Michigan (10-4, 2-0): The Wolverines have guys that have been there before. Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas and Mitch McGary (currently injured) were starters on last year's national runner-up team. Stauskas is having a great year, leading Michigan in scoring at 17.8 points per game on 46 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
6. Illinois (13-2, 2-0): You could make a case that the Fighting Illini belong higher up, but I'm not entirely sold on them quite yet. Rayvonte Rice is a significant addition for John Groce and Co., but how will he perform against some of the conference's elite teams? I still have my questions. Illinois will play at Wisconsin on Wednesday, so we should get some answers soon. The Illini's two conference wins so far came at home against Indiana and Penn State.
7. Minnesota (12-3, 1-1): Minnesota is one of those teams that is going to be in a ton of close games this season. The Golden Gophers beat Purdue by three and fell to Michigan by three. I predict a similar result when Andre Hollins and Co. head to Penn State this week.
8. Indiana (10-5, 0-2): The Hoosiers looked bad in their home loss to Michigan State on Saturday, but they will continue to improve as this season progresses. They desperately need to win at Penn State this weekend before returning home to play Wisconsin.
9. Purdue (10-5, 0-2): The Boilermakers are a competitive team, but they haven't quite been able to get over the hump in their first two conference games of the season. They lost to Ohio State by nine at home, and fell to Minnesota by three on the road. They have three winnable games coming up with Nebraska at home, Illinois on the road, and Penn State at home.
10. Penn State (9-6, 0-2): The Nittany Lions have leader Tim Frazier back, but they are still struggling out of the gate. They led Michigan State at halftime, but then lost by double figures. Frazier and D.J. Newbill are a nice backcourt combo, and Penn State will desperately be searching for a win this week against Minnesota and Indiana.
11. Nebraska (8-6, 0-2): Losses at Iowa and Ohio State start another ugly season for the Cornhuskers.
12. Northwestern (7-8, 0-2): It's been a rough first season for Chris Collins in Evanston. Drew Crawford is about all the Wildcats have, and it shows. They have lost their two conference games by 27 and 23 points.