After a slow start, the Big Ten has caught fire with three teams reaching the top five of the AP Top 25. With only one other team ranked, the league is pretty wide open. Here’s our Big Ten basketball power rankings for Dec. 10, 2019.
14. Nebraska (4-5 overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
It’s been a rough sports year for both of the bottom two schools on our list. The Cornhuskers brutal start has been marked by losses to UC Riverside, Southern Utah, George Mason, Georgia Tech and Creighton.
13. Northwestern (4-4, 0-1)
It hasn’t been much better for Northwestern, which has losses to Merrimack, Radford, Pitt and Purdue.
12. Rutgers (6-3, 0-1)
Look! Rutgers isn’t last!
11. Minnesota (4-4, 0-0)
It’s been a rough start for the Gophers, but they’re losses have come to semi-respectable programs: Oklahoma, Butler, Utah and DePaul. Minnesota beat Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC challenge.
10. Wisconsin (5-4, 1-0)
The Badgers have had an awful start to the season, losing to St. Mary’s, Richmond, New Mexico and NC State, but redeemed themselves a bit with a beat down of a strong Indiana team in their Big Ten opener.
9. Illinois (6-3, 0-1)
The Fighting Illini were oh so close to beating Maryland on the road, but fell one point shy. They have three quality losses to Arizona, Miami and Maryland, but a lack of top tier wins keeps Illinois below PSU and Iowa.
8. Penn State (7-2, 0-1)
Penn State has gotten off to a nice start with wins over Georgetown, Syracuse and Wake Forest, something you never could’ve imagined saying 10 years ago.
7. Iowa (6-3, 0-1)
Iowa has a big win over Texas Tech and also beat Syracuse, but losses to DePaul and San Diego State keep Iowa out of the league’s top two tiers.
6. Indiana (8-1, 0-1)
Indiana has a ranked win over Florida State but followed that up with a loss to Wisconsin in Madison, a place I’m not sure the Hoosiers will ever get a win. The question for IU is whether it can string together quality wins .
5. Michigan State (6-3, 1-0)
MSU has been one of the more disappointing teams in the conference given how high expectations were to start the year. It has dropped from No. 1 to No. 16 in the top 25 with losses to Kentucky, Duke and Virginia Tech. MSU’s best win is against Seton Hall.
4. Purdue (6-3, 1-0)
The Boilermakers get the nod over MSU thanks to their giant win over Virginia. Early season losses to Texas and Marquette were very Purdue-esque, but Purdue looks like a team that could hang around in the Big Ten race.
3. Maryland (10-0, 1-0)
Now we’ve reached the elite tier of the conference. Ranked No. 4 in the nation, Maryland has been one of the more impressive teams this year, but it lacks a truly impressive win, which is why Michigan is ahead of the Terps. Beating Marquette, Notre Dame and Illinois is a nice way to roll into the second half of December.
2. Michigan (8-1, 1-0)
The Wolverines boast the most impressive pair of wins in the country, smacking North Carolina and Gonzaga over Thanksgiving week. Add in quality wins over Iowa State and Creighton and it’s easy to see why this squad went from unranked to top five. The future is bright, even after a loss to No. 1 Louisville.
1. Ohio State (9-0, 1-0)
The Buckeyes have been incredible this season, with wins over North Carolina and Villanova. It’s not just that OSU is winning, it’s how it is winning, bludgeoning teams by about 25 every game.