1. Michigan (17-1, 4-1 Big Ten) – After losing their first game of the season at Ohio State, the #2 Nationally ranked Wolverines rebounded nicely in another tough road environment at Minnesota. Michigan should remain atop the rankings before the big showdown at Indiana on Groundhogs day.
2. Michigan State (16-3, 5-1) – Five straight victories put the Spartans currently atop the Big Ten standings with a half-game lead and move them into the #2 spot in this week’s rankings. Adreian Payne is a big reason for the Spartans recent success (14.5 PPG and 78% FG over the last four games).
3. Wisconsin (13-5, 4-1) – The Badgers continue to be the biggest surprise a third of the way through Big Ten play. Their win at Assembly Hall was their fifth in a row in Bloomington, something no other team has accomplished since 1923. The next three games for Wisconsin will tell us if this team is a legit Big Ten Champion contender (MSU, Minnesota, @OSU).
4. Indiana (16-2, 4-1) - Rounding out the one loss Big Ten team’s is Indiana. The Hoosiers slide down to #4 solely based on their weak conference schedule so far. They welcome the Spartans to Bloomington on Sunday.
5. Ohio State (13-4, 3-2) - Deshaun Thomas is playing out of his mind during Big Ten play, scoring 20 plus points in all five of the Buckeyes conference games.
6. Minnesota (15-3, 3-2) - Back to back losses to Indiana and Michigan is nothing to be ashamed off. But in an extremely competitive Big Ten, the Gophers are going to have to win games against the best to have chance at a Big Ten Title.
7. Iowa (13-5, 2-3) – No one has had a tougher schedule to start Big Ten play than the Hawkeyes. A blowout win at Northwestern and an upset victory over Wisconsin has Iowa playing with a lot of momentum as they travel to Ohio State on Tuesday.
8. Purdue (10-8, 3-2) – Purdue leads the Big Ten in rebounding during conference play, mostly due to 7’ freshman A.J. Hammons. After a non-conference victory over West Virginia, the Boilermakers next play at Michigan on Thursday.
9. Northwestern (11-8, 2-4) – Expectations were high for the Wildcats at the beginning of the season, as they hoped to make their first NCAA Tournament in school history. They played well in their last game against Indiana, but moral victories aren’t going to get you into the dance come March.
10. Illinois (14-5, 1-4) - Has there been a team that has fallen as fast as the Illini? Their next game against Nebraska is just what the doctor ordered.
11. Nebraska (10-9, 1-5) – The Cornhuskers won the battle of cellar dwellers over Penn State. Might be their only Big Ten win this season.
12. Penn State (8-10, 0-6) – In my best Charles Barkley voice, “Penn State is turrible.”