- Maryland (13-1, 2-0) – Until proven otherwise, Maryland will stay number 1. Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone are playing fantastic basketball. The Terps dominated Northwestern on the road and Diamond Stone put up 39 points in their first BIG home game against Penn State. All five starters for the Terps are averaging double-figures.
- Iowa (12-3, 3-0) – Highly subject to change, but Iowa beat Purdue and Michigan State, the next 2 teams on this list. Jarrod Uthoff is up there with Denzel Valentine and Melo Trimble as the best players in the conference. All 3 of their loses this season were to quality opponents (Iowa State, Notre Dame, Dayton).
- Michigan State (14-1, 1-1) – Yes they lost at Iowa, but theHawkeyes are good, see above. They bounced back with a close win at Minnesota. Denzel Valentine is the best player in the conference and a top 5 player in the country. Bryn Forbes is shooting 47 percent from deep but they need more out of Eron Harris and Matt Costello. They’ll get their redemption shot next Thursday when Iowa comes to East Lansing.
- Purdue (13-2, 1-1) – Same applies with the loss to Iowa. Great team with AJ Hammons playing well, but not well enough. They weren’t tested too much in the non-conference schedule but will have the potential to win this conference. They need to beat both Michigan and Illinois this week to stay in the top 4. All 3 of the Boilermakers top scorers are bigs (Hammons, Isaac Haas, Caleb Swanigan). Tell me the last time you saw that.
- Michigan (12-3, 2-0) – Won at Illinois to start conference play and Caris LeVert is playing by far the best basketball of his career. He is scoring 18 per game while shooting 51 and 45 percents from the floor and three respectively. Four Wolverines average at least 9 per game. But unlucky for Big Blue, they have Purdue and Maryland in their next 2 games.
- Indiana (13-3, 3-0) – 8 straight wins for the Hoosiers after they lost to Duke and a good win against Wisconsin without James Blackmon puts the Hoosiers pretty high on the list for now. Freshman Thomas Bryant has played much better in the last 6 games, scoring in double-figures in 5 of them. Yogi has been Yogi, but he’ll need to step up even more with Blackmon out for the season. A healthy Blackmon would put them ahead of Michigan.
- Ohio State (10-5, 2-0) – I must admit, I am quite confused by Ohio State. Are they very good or just mediocre? They beat Kentucky on a neutral site, but lost to Louisiana Tech and UT-Arlington at home. They are playing much better now and Marc Loving has been as good as expected, maybe even better. His 27 points helped them beat Illinois this week. Sophomore Keita Bates-Diop has been one of the best unknowns in the conference play and he is playing his best basketball in the last few weeks.
- Northwestern (13-2, 1-1) – Some might disagree with this because their only 2 losses are Maryland and North Carolina, 2 of the top 7 teams in the country. But they didn’t beat any
one worth noting and now Alex Olah is hurt. Things aren’t looking good for NW and there is an awful lot of pressure on Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh now to lead without their 7 footer. Freshman Dererk Pardon was pulled off his redshirt season due to the Olah injury, another thing the Wildcats wouldn’t have wanted to do.
- Wisconsin (9-7, 1-2) – Talk about a disappointment. Bo Ryan just had the strangest retirement we’ve ever seen, mid-season, after a win. They underutilize Nigel Hayes and haven’t gotten much production out of anyone not named Ethan Happ or Hayes. Happ should make the conference all-freshman team though, so at least they have that going for them.
- Illinois (8-7, 0-2) – Another massive disappointment. File them under the “what in world is going????” category. They have 4 players averaging double-figures and Kendrick Nun
n and Malcolm hill playing great, but they can’t figure out how to play defense right now. Opponents are shooting 46% against them and nearly 40% from deep. But hey, make sure you go get your Lou Henson bobbleheads on Sunday when the Illini lose to Purdue by 20.
- Penn State (10-6, 1-2) – The Nittany Lions are performing slightly better than expected. They nearly beat Maryland in College Park, which alone puts them above the rest of the conference. But matchups against Michigan State and Purdue in the next 7 days will surely have them at 1-4 in the conference.
- Nebraska (8-8, 0-3) – This was to be expected this season. Nebraska has shown potential (beat Rhode Island), but overall have lost 5 of the last 7. Love the play of guard Andrew White though.
- Rutgers (6-9, 0-2) – Very young team led by freshman Corey Sanders. Fought hard in the loss to Indiana, but that’s their only claim to fame so far this season. Still a lot of talented young players that will turn this team around in the future.
- Minnesota (6-9, 0-3) Blew a late 8 point lead last night against Penn State in less than 2 minutes. They have lost 7 of their last 8, including loses to both South Dakota and South Dakota State in consecutive games, I wonder if any other Big Ten team has ever done that.