The first week of the college basketball season has come and gone, and each Big Ten program took the court at least two times. The level of competition varied, but each team showed a glimpse of what to expect this winter.
Here’s a ranking of the Big Ten based on what we saw in the opening week of the season and what we expect going forward:
1) Michigan State (3-0)
The Spartans notched one of the biggest wins of the week across the country by defeating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday. Add a win over Notre Dame and Michigan State easily had the best start to the season of any Big Ten program, and looked good in the process.
2) Illinois (2-1)
Brad Underwood’s bunch is arguably the most talented in the Big Ten, and while they struggled to beat Ohio at home and were crushed in the second half of Wednesday night’s mega-matchup with No. 2 Baylor, the Illini remain favorites to win the league title.
3) Wisconsin (3-0)
The Badgers took care of business against middling competition. The defending Big Ten champions return much of their production from last season and will be a threat to repeat behind them.
4) Iowa (2-0)
The Hawkeyes scored 200 points in two games. They have the most explosive offense in the country, and they’re going to put up triple-digits a few times this season. But Iowa’s defense is a mess. Once it plays teams outside the 200 1/4 u2032s in KenPom, that will become evident.
5) Indiana (3-1)
The Hoosiers added two quality wins to its resume with double-digit victories over Quad 1 opponents Providence and Stanford. Indiana was blown out by Texas in its one loss between those wins, but it is challenging itself in its non-conference slate and proving its quality.
6) Rutgers (3-0)
The Scarlet Knights won all three games it played by double-digits, and there was a lot to like for Rutgers fans. It will face its first real test of the season against Syracuse on Tuesday.
7) Michigan (3-0)
Aside from a heated discussion between head coach Juwan Howard and senior Isaiah Livers, the Wolverines looked functional. Hunter Dickinson is Big Ten Freshman of the Year material.
8) Ohio State (3-0)
Chris Holtmann’s squad is off to its usual hot start. The more interesting question is how the Buckeyes will fare in January.
9) Purdue (2-1)
The Boilermakers had double-digit wins over sub-100 KenPom teams, and a double-digit loss to top-30 KenPom team Clemson. Purdue has kinks to work out, but if there is anyone who can fix them, its Matt Painter. Purdue will be a top-half Big Ten program by the end of the season.
10) Maryland (3-0)
The post-Jalen Smith/Anthony Cowan era is off to a good start with three consecutive double-digit wins, but the Terrapins have not played anyone yet. Their first real test comes Wednesday against Clemson.
11) Minnesota (3-0)
The Golden Gophers played Loyola Marymount twice in two days. Minnesota won both games, the first by double-digits and the second by 3 points. In all three games, it depended greatly on guard Marcus Carr, who averaged 30 points on 34 minutes a night. Carr is one of the best guards in the Big Ten, but outside of Gabe Kalscheur, he does not have much help.
12) Penn State (2-0)
The Nittany Lions are off to a good start after a chaotic offseason, defeating VCU with a buzzer-beating three. Time will tell if Penn State can keep up its winning ways as the season goes along.
13) Nebraska (3-1)
Fred Hoiberg revamped the roster again, and the Cornhuskers will spend much of the season adjusting to each other. They defeated low-major opposition easily, but crumbled against mid-major Nevada.
14) Northwestern (1-0)
It is going to be a long season in Evanston, so it better enjoy its 43-point win over Arkansas Pine Bluff — the worst team in the country, per KenPom — before things ramp up.
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Brian Fonseca may be reached at [email protected]
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