HOOPS: Big Ten Power Rankings 1/23

Dylan Burn of Hawkeye Insider updates his Big Ten power rankings after a crazy two weeks.

14. Rutgers (1-6)

The got their first win of the Big Ten season this weekend at home against a Nebraska team that has been sliding ever since losing Ed Morrow. Corey Sanders was one of the best freshman in the conference last season and he took his game to another level Saturday in the win over Nebraska. He has a little bit more help this year, so don't be surprised if Rutgers wins a few more Big Ten games before the season concludes. They also broke a 7 game losing streak with the win. Sanders had 25 points on 11-18 from the field against the Huskers. 

13. Illinois (2-5)

The Illini took a few on the chin the past couple of weeks. They lost three of the four games they played in with their only win coming over Michigan at home. The three losses were to Purdue, Michigan (on the road), and at home against Maryland. They're just struggling to get Malcolm Hill help. It seems like they are getting production out of a different second and third guy every night and they just lack consistency at this point. If they can get Hill some help, they'll be a lot better off. Illinois welcomes Iowa to town on Wednesday in a winnable game for both sides. 

12. Penn St. (3-4)

Penn State has two losses and one win in the past couple weeks. The losses came at the hands of Indiana and Purdue, so it's not much to be ashamed of. The one win they got was over a good Minnesota team at home. They probably should've beaten Indiana at home, but a James Blackmon Jr three pointer at the buzzer killed that attempt really quick. However, they followed it with a 25 point road loss to Purdue, so it's hard to give the Nittany Lions much credit right now. They get Wisconsin and Illinois this week.

11. Ohio State (2-4)

The Buckeyes were pretty underwhelming to start the Big Ten conference slate. They started off 0-4, but are 2-1 in their last three. Wins over Michigan State and at Nebraska have the Buckeyes back on the right track. They nearly snagged another victory at home against a Northwestern team, but fell by a final of 74-72. Trevor Thompson is rounding into a nice post presence and JaQuan Lyle is a really nice point guard for Thad Matta's squad. They'll play at home against Minnesota this week and will visit Iowa City on Saturday night. 

10. Nebraska (3-4)

The Huskers looked like the surprise of the Big Ten season a few weeks back. They were 3-0 after defeating Iowa in double overtime and looked like a really nice team with two solid guards. However, their big man, Ed Morrow, has since went down due to injury and the Huskers aren't the same down low. Morrow was such a huge piece to the team and you can tell they are hurting. They just dropped a game to Rutgers this weekend. Tai Webster and Glynn Watson are two really nice guards, but not having much front court play is going to hurt them.

9. Iowa (3-4)

The Hawkeyes have been struggling out of the gate recently.  They have a win over Purdue and few losses since my last power rankings. The losses came to Maryland at home and on the road at Northwestern. The big issue for Iowa now is Peter Jok's back. If he's not healthy, the Hawkeyes are going to struggle a bit offensively because he gives them so much. They have a couple of shots at wins this week when they play at Illinois and at home against Ohio State. 

8. Michigan (3-4)

The middle of the Big Ten is extremely balanced this year. I jostled with Michigan and Iowa here, but settled on the Wolverines at 8. They have wins over Nebraska and Illinois in the past couple of weeks, but have losses to Wisconsin and Illinois as well. The Hawkeyes did beat the Wolverines in Iowa City, but I think on a neutral court the Wolverines would win more than Iowa would. DJ Wilson is starting to really come into his own. Outside of the 0 point outing against Wisconsin, he's been solid in Big Ten play. Wilson had 19 against Illinois this past weekend. 

7. Minnesota (3-4)

Minnesota looked like they would be a real player in the Big Ten. They were 3-1 in my last power rankings, but have dropped three straight games since. They've lost to Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin recently. Their loss to Michigan State was a big one, but the losses to Wisconsin and Penn State came by a combined four points. The young team is having trouble closing close games right now, but has the talent to climb back up the ranks over the last 11 Big Ten games. 

6. Michigan St. (4-3)

Losses at Ohio State and at home against Indiana have derailed the Spartans a bit. They do have that good win over Minnesota and have now beaten the Gophers twice this season. They're still very young, but Miles Bridges has been one of the best players in the Big Ten this season. Cassius Winston has been a nice piece as he gets more comfortable with being the point guard of this team. Tom Izzo coached teams will always be dangerous, so the Spartans will be in the thick of it as the Big Ten slate progresses. 

5. Indiana (4-3)

Maybe the most up and down team so far this year, the Hoosiers are still missing Yogi Ferrell I think. They have big time wins over teams like Kansas and North Carolina, but have a bad loss to IPFW. They kicked off the Big Ten season by losing to Nebraska, but in the past couple of weeks are 3-1 with wins over Rutgers, Michigan State, and Penn State. They have a lot of talent, but are just looking to put it all together consistently. They did just lose OG Anunoby for the year, so that will not help things for the Hoosiers. 

4. Northwestern (4-2)

The Wildcats have been a nice surprise this year. Some expected this after Northwestern was a fringe NCAA Tournament team last year, but Scottie Lindsey has been the surprise of the Big Ten. He's taken over as the star for Chris Collins' bunch and with guys like Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law helping out this makes the Wildcats a big time threat in the conference. Couple that with the fact they are 3-0 in their last 3 games and they're getting hot at the right time. 

3. Maryland (5-1)

The Terrapins have been guided by great guard play from Anthony Cowan and Melo Trimble. They have had the easiest schedule so far in Big Ten play, but 5-1 in this conference is still extremely impressive over the first 6 games. They are one of the youngest teams in the conference with Cowan, Justin Jackson, and Kevin Huerter all freshmen and being the starting line up. They had three wins over the past couple of weeks and two of them came on the road. If they can get consistent production from their front court Maryland is a tough out. They get Rutgers and Minnesota this week.

2. Purdue (5-2)

The Boilers are still one of the more complete teams in the conference. They went 2-1 over the last couple of weeks with their only loss coming at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Boilers have arguably the best front court in the conference and are really tough down in the paint. They have solid shooters in Dakota Mathias and Ryan Cline, who can hit from about anywhere. Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Caleb Swanigan has 16 double double's this season. The Boilers are coming off two big wins over Illinois and Penn State. They get Michigan State and Nebraska on the road this week.

1. Wisconsin (5-1)

Wins over Ohio State, Michigan, and on the road at Minnesota have Wisconsin back in the drivers seat. They are just so well-coached and talented that they are tough to knock off. They have one of the more clutch players in the Big Ten in Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ has been one of the best forwards in the conference this season. He's coming off 28 points and 12 rebounds against Minnesota. Nigel Hayes has struggled so far this year, so if he finds his groove that'll make the Badgers even more dangerous. They get Penn State and Rutgers at home this week. 


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