(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)

What an exhilarating week of conference play. It began with Michigan State overcoming an 8-point deficit to win at Rutgers, and concluded Thursday night with Purdue squeaking one out over #23 Maryland in a hard-fought contest. (Iowa also recorded a non-conference 98-84 win against Iowa St. late Thursday night). Every gym was seemingly packed to the rafters, and there were some classic finishes. Both of IU’s wins came down to the last possession, Northwestern nearly knocked off undefeated #5 Michigan at the buzzer, Purdue’s win ended with a game-winning block, and Minnesota came back to beat #24 Nebraska after trailing by double digits midway through the second half.

Now that the dust has settled, the Big Ten features twelve (!) teams in the top-53 of the KenPom ratings as of this morning. For some context, last year, only six teams were in the top-53 at season’s end. There is still a lot of basketball to play, but let’s see how the teams stack up right now.

Big Ten Power Rankings: December 7th, 2018



9-0 (2-0)

Last: 1
When Michigan defeated Villanova, we all thought that this team could do serious damage in conference play. When they stomped UNC, we thought that Michigan could be a 1 seed in March. But all it takes is a few slip ups against conference opponents on the road, and the Big Ten is no joke. Michigan has started off conference play very well, significantly defeating Purdue and pulling through on the road in Northwestern. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis continues to impress everyone, and Michigan upperclassmen Zavier Simpson and Charles Matthews continue to command the game. Michigan looks like a top 2-3 Big Ten team.

  • Win against Purdue 76-57
  • Win at Northwestern 62-60


Ohio State

8-1 (2-0)

Last: 5
The Buckeyes couldn’t have played better in its conference opener against Minnesota Sunday, shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc, and out-rebounding the Golden Gophers 42-33.

  • Win against Minnesota 79-59
  • Win against Illinois 77-67



8-1 (2-0)

Last: 3
Every year, Wisconsin seems to be underrated. They were just a few possessions away from taking down Virginia two weeks ago and have been dominant since then. Ethan Happ is lights out and Trice will continue to be overlooked behind the shadow of Happ. They will be a scary team in conference play.

  • Win at Iowa 72-66
  • Win against Rutgers 69-64


Michigan State

7-2 (2-0)

Last: 3
A 22-point victory over a ranked Iowa squad just goes to show that one can never count out Michigan State in Big Ten play.

  • Win at Rutgers 78-67
  • Win against Iowa 90-68



7-2 (2-0)

Last: 8
Indiana could possibly find itself in the top 25 if they win against Louisville this Saturday in Bloomington. Although the last two conference games were close, IU still found a way to win. This team has potential but needs to finish games stronger. Romeo Langford needs the ball in his hands more often for this IU team to strike fear in other conference rivals.

  • Win against Northwestern 68-66
  • Win at Penn State 64-62



6-3 (1-1)

Last: 7
A solid win against a ranked Maryland team at home on Thursday will surely help a team that could have easily gone on a three day skid. Purdue travels to Austin to play a hit-or-miss Texas team that defeated UNC, but lost to Radford and VCU. Carsen Edwards will win Big Ten POY at this rate.

  • Loss at Michigan 57-76
  • Win against Maryland 62-60



7-2 (1-1)

Last: 6
With each true test, Maryland has come up short thus far. The best wins they have at this point are against Marshall and Penn State. It was a tough loss on the road against Purdue. Cowan looks like he will be in the running for Big Ten POY with the way he has been leading the team thus far, but it may not be enough to carry them through the season. They play a group of Loyola teams this week.

  • Win against PSU 66-59
  • Loss at Purdue 60-62



7-2 (1-1)

Last: 10
Led by Amir Coffey’s 32 points, the Golden Gophers earned a huge home victory against a ranked opponent in Nebraska Wednesday. If it weren’t for an embarrassing 20-point loss against Ohio State Sunday, Minnesota would easily crack the top-five.

  • Win against Oklahoma State 83-76
  • Loss at Ohio State 79-59
  • Win against Nebraska 85-78



7-2 (0-2)

Last: 2
So maybe the Oregon win doesn’t have as much weight as it did a few weeks ago. However, these Hawkeyes are no joke. Even though they fell to MSU and Wisconsin, two powerful conference opponents, they bounced back big time against Iowa State and won by double digits. If junior Isaiah Moss can get going, Iowa is dangerous and can definitely finish top 5 in the conference.

  • Loss against Wisconsin 66-72
  • Loss at MSU 68-90
  • Win vs Iowa State 98-84



7-2 (1-1)

Last: 9
Allowing Minnesota to shoot almost 58 percent from the field in the second half of its contest Wednesday led to Nebraska’s first conference loss of the season.

  • Win against Illinois 75-60
  • Loss at Minnesota 85-78



6-3 (0-2)

Last: 12
Despite an 0-2 Big Ten Conference record, Northwestern proved that it is for real. Losing by a four combined points to both Indiana and a top-five team in Michigan showed that the Wildcats are poised for an upset at anytime.

  • Loss at Indiana 66-68
  • Loss against Michigan 60-62


Penn State

4-4 (0-2)

Last: 11
It is tough to assess how good the PSU team is this year. They did beat a ranked VT team, but are now 0-2 in conference play. It is possible that VT was overrated as they have yet to be tested significantly. Lamar Stevens continues to play at an incredible level and intensity that will give the team a fighting chance to stay close and win some close games this year.

  • Loss at Maryland 66-59
  • Loss against Indiana 62-64



5-3 (0-2)

Last: 13
Poor Rutgers. They never seem to catch a break and conference play will not help their team with how strong the conference is top-to-bottom. On the bright side, Illinois seems to be in far more trouble than Rutgers. They should win at least a few more games prior to conference play resumes next year.

  • Loss against MSU 67-78
  • Loss at Wisconsin 64-69



2-7 (0-2)

Last: 14
Illinois can’t figure out how to win games late and has started the conference season 0-2. The game against OSU was a close one, but at the end of the day, the win column says all. Illinois simply can’t win and is probably the worst team in the conference right now.

  • Loss at Nebraska 60-75
  • Loss against Ohio St. 67-77

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