1. Michigan Wolverines (7-0 Big Ten): Within one week, Michigan won three consecutive games against top ten ranked teams: No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 10 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan State. The last time any other team managed that monumental feat was 1987.Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas lit up the three-point line against Michigan State, and the Michigan starters have scored a combined 196 points against their last three opponents. These Wolverines live up to their namesake and fight harder than any team in the Big Ten. Hats off to the Wolverines.
This week: vs. Purdue Jan. 30
2. Michigan State Spartans (7-1 Big Ten): With two of their starters out with injuries, Michigan State is showing some surprising depth. Gary Harris has played at least 30 minutes in their last five games, and is becoming a scoring machine. Michigan State is still really good, but apparently that’s not enough against other really good teams. A consolation for the Spartans: If there were power rankings for fans, the Izzone would still be No. 1.
This week: at Iowa Jan. 28, at Georgetown Feb. 1
3. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2 Big Ten): The Hawkeyes are still in the top 15 teams in the country in terms of points, rebounds and assists per game, so they look great on paper and against teams like Northwestern, who they whooped by 26 points. But their Achilles' heel appears to be teams-ranked-in-the-top-25-who-aren’t-Ohio-State, and Iowa’s schedule is full of those teams in the coming months.
This week: vs. Michigan State Jan. 28, at Illinois Feb. 1
Teams That Have the Number Three in Their Big Ten Win-Loss Record
4. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-3 Big Ten): The Golden Gophers only seem to like losing to teams ranked in the Top 25. Luckily for them, their next two weeks are chock full of teams that most definitely aren’t in the Top 25. The Hollins brothers are still leading Minnesota in scoring (14 and 11 points per game), and continue to be one of the most entertaining duos in the league.
This week: vs. Northwestern Feb. 1
5. Wisconsin Badgers (4-3 Big Ten): The state of Wisconsin saw a sudden and unexpected rise in basketball experts per capita when the Badgers started off the season 16-0. Basketball forums around the country got a break from that onslaught when opposing teams discovered Wisconsin can’t play defense and the Badgers went on a three game losing skid. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, Wisconsin beat Purdue pretty handily, and those loudmouths are at it again.
This week: vs. Northwestern Jan. 29, vs. Ohio State Feb. 1
6. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-4 Big Ten): When the Buckeyes lost to Iowa and Michigan State, it was pretty easy to explain and forgive. When they lost to Nebraska and stayed in the Top 25 ranking, it was pretty weird. This team is really up and down, and nobody seems to know what’s going to happen. Remembering how they played early in the season has me giving them the benefit of the doubt. Aaron Craft has become mortal and had more turnovers than assists in three of the Buckeyes' four losses.
This week: vs. Penn State Jan. 29, at Wisconsin Feb. 1
7. Purdue Boilermakers (3-4 Big Ten): Purdue is the definition of an average team. They lose to teams that are better than them, and win against teams that are worse than them. Their shooting percentage is smack in the middle of average, and their defense isn’t much better. They’re better than half of the Big Ten, and worse than the other half. They’re very non-descript. This week: at Michigan Jan. 30
8. Northwestern Wildcats (3-5 Big Ten): Coach Chris Collins has finally found a formula for the Big Ten: play ferocious in-your-face defense to try and drag the other team to Northwestern’s mediocre offensive level. And that defense truly has been ferocious. According to the analytics wizard that is Ken Pomeroy, the Wildcats have the 17th best defense in DI basketball. Unfortunately, they also have the 327th best offense. It’s tough to win when you’re averaging 51 points per game as a team.
This week: at Wisconsin Jan. 29, at Minnesota Feb. 1
9. Indiana Hoosiers (3-4 Big Ten): The Hoosiers were atrocious in their loss against Northwestern. But Indiana, and sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell especially, was electrifying when they beat then No. 3 Wisconsin, and lost to current No. 3 Michigan State by five. Noah Vonleh still looks very promising and should get better. But this team is unpredictable – some days the Indiana Hoosiers show up to play, and sometimes it's the Bloomington YMCA rec squad. Further testing via the Big Ten is needed to figure them out.
This week: at Nebraska Jan. 30
Teams at the bottom of the barrel
10. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-6 Big Ten): Remember when Illinois was ranked in the Top 25? Yeah, neither do the Illini players. Illinois has lost six straight and show no signs of slowing down. Their only games next week are against top ten ranked teams.
This week: vs. Iowa Feb. 1
11. Penn State Nittany Lions (1-6 Big Ten): Penn State’s first Big Ten win this year came against Nebraska. If that streak holds, they’ll win one more game in late February. This week: at Ohio State Jan. 29
12. Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-5 Big Ten): They beat Ohio State. Which should be impressive, but the way Ohio State’s playing, it’s not. They also lost to Penn State, which is sad. This week: vs. Indiana Jan. 30