It's been a crazy first week of Big Ten basketball during a year in which the conference is wide open. Many of these teams are virtually impossible to figure out at this point, but that's why we do things like power rankings, right?
Without further ado, here's my the Week 2 edition at Big Ten Power Rankings for this season. We will release our rankings every Monday for the remainder of the season.
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14. Penn State (12-3, 0-2, KENPOM: 92nd): The Nittany Lions went 12-1 during the non-conference season, but so far, they've shown us they're not for real. As conference season began, Penn State was the same team we're used to seeing, including a bad loss at Rutgers. Ouch. New year, same Penn State. (LAST WEEK: 10).
13. Rutgers (9-6, 1-1, KENPOM: 154th): The Scarlet Knights are by far the worst team in the Big Ten if you believe all of the computer rankings, but they beat Penn State, and thus belong in the 13th spot. Rutgers could easily be 2-0 to start conference play, but dropped a four-point decision at home to Northwestern. (LAST WEEK: 13)
12. Northwestern (10-5, 1-1, KENPOM: 135th): The Wildcats earned a nice road win at Rutgers, and dropped a 23-point home decision to No. 4 Wisconsin. Regardless who it comes against, conference road wins are hard to come by. (LAST WEEK: 14)
11. Nebraska (8-5, 0-1, KENPOM: 102nd): It certainly hasn't been the start to the season Tim Miles had hoped for and many people predicted. The Cornhuskers have a lot of talent, but they haven't played well to this point. They travel to Iowa on Monday night, so they're likely to drop to 0-2 in conference play and 8-6 overall. Yikes. (LAST WEEK: 9)
10. Michigan (8-6, 1-1, KENPOM: 91st): The more I watch Michigan, the more I think its just not a good team. The Wolverines beat Illinois in overtime to start the conference season, but there was tons of energy in the building because it was the same day Jim Harbaugh was introduced as the new football coach. Michigan has talent, but it has gotten very little production from its interior players, and Zak Irvin is not shooting the ball well at all when the Wolverines need him to do so. (LAST WEEK: 11)
9. Illinois (10-5, 0-2, KENPOM: 56th) John Groce's club has opened the conference slate with back-to-back losses at Michigan and Ohio State. The Illini have a brutal early stretch of games, but they'll ultimately be better for it, assuming they can survive. (LAST WEEK: 7)
8. Minnesota (11-4, 0-2, KENPOM: 36th): It feels like this is a spot the Golden Gophers might hold for the rest of the season. Richard Pitino's team isn't much better or worse than it was last year. The Gophers are headed for another 8-10 or 9-9 conference season. (LAST WEEK: 4)
7. Purdue (10-5, 2-0, KENPOM: 75th): This sport might be a little high for the Boilers, but it also might be a little low. Purdue is perhaps the hardest team to figure out in the Big Ten, but it's hard not to be impressed by the Boilers' wins over Minnesota and Michigan, even if they were at home. (LAST WEEK: 12)
6. Michigan State (9-5, 0-1, KENPOM: 22nd): We'll learn a lot about the Spartans when they host Indiana tonight, but so far, they've been disappointing. Michigan State has struggled to close teams out, something the Spartans usually do well under Tom Izzo. A home loss to Texas Southern was especially embarrassing. (LAST WEEK: 6)
5. Ohio State (12-3, 1-1, KENPOM: 18th): Maybe you think the Buckeyes belong a little higher. Well, I'm not impressed. Not yet, at least. I think D'Angelo Russell was a bit over-hyped -- his numbers look good only against poor competition -- and the Buckeyes lost at home to Iowa to open the conference season. (LAST WEEK: 3)
4. Indiana (11-3, 1-0, KENPOM: 44th): Do the Hoosiers belong this high? We'll find out on Monday night when they play Michigan State in East Lansing. If the Hoosiers can win back-to-back road games to begin the Big Ten season, we'll know they belong among the top three or four teams in the conference. (LAST WEEK: 5)
3. Iowa (10-4, 1-0, KENPOM: 34th): The Hawkeyes have only played one Big Ten game, but they were very impressive in a road win over Ohio State. If Iowa can continue to defend at the level it has through 14 games, it can compete for a conference title. (LAST WEEK: 8)
2. Maryland (14-1, 2-0, KENPOM: 17th): If anybody can challenge Wisconsin for a Big Ten title, it's Maryland. The Terrapins already own wins at Michigan State and against Minnesota in their first ever Big Ten games. Not too shabby. (LAST WEEK: 2)
1. Wisconsin (14-1, 2-0, KENPOM: 4th): Wisconsin has perhaps the easiest stretch of games to begin the conference season. The Badgers opened with wins over Penn State and Northwestern, and they have a home game against Purdue and a road game against Rutgers coming up. It may be awhile before Wisconsin is truly challenged. (LAST WEEK: 1)