After a brief break, college basketball is back in action with the second half of the season. Here’s our Big Ten basketball power rankings for Dec. 28, 2019.
14. Northwestern (5-6 overall, 0-2 Big Ten), Last Week 14
Northwestern was the only team not to defend its home court to start conference play, ruining the fun possibility of having all 14 teams be 1-1 in league play. The Wildcats also lost to DePaul, solidifying their spot at the bottom of these rankings.
13. Nebraska (5-7, 1-1), Last Week: 13
Nebraska is coming off a loss to North Dakota, ‘nuff said.
12. Wisconsin (6-5, 1-1), Last Week: 12
Wisconsin has an opportunity to pick up a big non-conference win today against Tennessee.
11. Purdue (7-5, 1-1), Last Week: 9
Two weeks ago, I had Purdue ranked fourth, safe to say now that was too high. Purdue lost to Butler and hasn’t done much else outside of its huge win over Virginia.
10. Minnesota (6-5, 1-1), Last Week: 11
Minnesota jumps Purdue after a win against Oklahoma State. Still not sure what to think about this team, which beat Ohio State but lost to nearly every other quality opponent on its schedule.
9. Rutgers (9-3, 1-1), Last Week: 10
Rutgers has been a nice surprise so far this season and has won three in a row after beating Wisconsin and Seton Hall.
8. Illinois (8-4, 1-1), Last Week: 8
Illinois lost to Missouri at home in just its second game after beating Michigan. The Illini get back into Big Ten play on Jan. 2 when they travel to Michigan State.
7. Iowa (9-3, 1-1), Last Week: 7
Iowa has managed to climb into the top 25, but I’m not convinced this team belongs higher than seventh in the Big Ten yet. Recent wins over Iowa State and Cincinnati and positives.
6. Maryland (10-2, 1-1), Last Week: 3
Maybe we all got a little ahead of ourselves with Maryland this year. The Terps have been solid, but after back-to-back losses, it’s clear they have work to do.
5. Michigan State (9-3, 2-0), Last Week: 6
MSU is the lone team in the conference to start off 2-0 in the Big Ten. Granted, the Spartans have also had an incredibly weak schedule since getting clobbered by Duke. That schedule stays easy until MSU plays host to Michigan on Jan. 5.
4. Penn State (10-2, 1-1), Last Week: 4
Penn State has been the Big Ten’s biggest surprise this season and now sits at No. 20 in the AP rankings. It has won three straight and five of its last six and will continue to be a challenging opponent going forward. The only question is whether or not the Nittany Lions can hang on to a top five spot in the Big Ten, something I’m not all that confident in.
3. Indiana (11-1, 1-1), Last Week: 5
The Hoosiers quietly lead the Big Ten in wins and have picked up some quality victories along the way. It’s a surprise they aren’t ranked, quite frankly. IU has a win over ranked Florida State, and wins over both UConn and Notre Dame, which are having solid seasons. A win today over 10-1 Arkansas would certainly put Indiana in the top 25.
2. Michigan (9-3, 1-1), Last Week: 2
Michigan has fallen back down to earth, but more important than the recent losses is the injury to Isaiah Livers, who has been one of the team’s biggest contributors. We’ll learn a lot about the resolve of this squad with how it handles being without him, especially with a road trip to East Lansing coming up.
1. Ohio State (11-1, 1-1), Last Week: 1
The Buckeyes bounced back from their loss to Minnesota by defeating Kentucky, which was ranked No. 6 at the time. OSU isn’t that far ahead of everyone else in the Big Ten, but right now, it’s the clear top team.