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Big Ten men’s basketball power rankings, Edition V

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Begrudgingly admitting that Michigan is good.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The conference continues to impress with its depth, as 11 or 12 teams making the NCAA Tournament is a real possibility. Except for Nebraska. Nebraska is not making the tournament. Lol.

1. Iowa (9-2, 3-1 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 1

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Rutgers Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawkeyes’ impressive depth was what ultimately propelled them to a two-point victory over Rutgers on Saturday. Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick have been lights out from behind the arc but had somewhat off nights, scoring eight and seven points, respectively. True freshman Keegan Murray came up big, scoring a career-high 14 points and tacking on nine rebounds. Jordan Bohannon has been hot from three as of late, as he’s hit nine threes in the Hawkeyes’ past two contests. Oh, and Iowa has the best player in college basketball on their team too. With victories over Northwestern and Rutgers, this loaded roster proved it is among the grittiest teams in the nation. -Revsine

2. Michigan (9-0, 4-0 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 2

Scream poor guard play and less-than-stellar schedule all you want (I sure know I have), the Wolverines have done nothing but win through the first third of the season. Freshman Hunter Dickinson is mashing undersized opponents at an historically efficient rate, and he’s flanked by likely NBA Draft picks in Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers, both of whom decimated the ‘Cats this past week with their versatile styles of play. Michigan faces its biggest challenges to date in Wisconsin and Minnesota this next week, but if it continue to dominates the interior, it will continue to be a problem in the conference. — Olinger

3. Rutgers (7-2, 3-2 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 3

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Rutgers Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries have prevented the Scarlet Knights from playing many full strength games. Ron Harper Jr. and Caleb McConnell returned in Rutgers’ matchup with Iowa earlier this week, but Harper looked a little rusty, scoring a season-low 13 points. Even without its full roster available, this team has shown it belongs in the top of the conference. It’s scary to think what Steve Pikiell’s squad will do now that it’s nearly (Freshman Cliff Omoruyi remains injured) back in full force. -Revsine

4. Illinois (8-3, 4-1 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 4

While not the prettiest pair of wins, Illinois managed to get back on track with tough victories over both Indiana and Purdue this past week. Even after giving up a 19-0 run in the middle portions of their game against the Boilermakers, the Illini responded with a 22-6 run regain the lead and eventually win 66-58. Ayo Dosunmu has only gotten better as a junior, particularly behind the three-point line, where he’s jumped from 29 to 42 percent this season. Senior Da’Monte Williams has also juiced the offense with a breakout shooting season, nailing 19 of his 28 three point attempts and posting an unreal 85.7 true shooting percentage, the third best mark in the entire country per BartTorvik. — Olinger

5. Wisconsin (9-2, 3-1 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 7

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The experienced Badgers had something to prove against Minnesota after an upset home loss to Maryland. The veteran-laden team came through, as Wisconsin tallied its third win against an AP Top 25 squad on the season after holding Minnesota to a season-low 59 points. D’Mitrik Trice and Micah Potter continue to be the centerpieces of Greg Gard’s squad. Trice held Minnesota star guard Marcus Carr to just 10 points, and Potter notched his second double-double on the season. -Revsine

6. Minnesota (10-2, 3-2 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 5

Who knew Marcus Carr plus transfer forwards was the equation to make basketball fun in the Gopher state? Carr came into this season as an established Big Ten star, but upping his scoring rate from 24.9 to 33.4 points per 100 possessions while also increasing his true shooting eight percentage points would have been bullish for any projections. Center Liam Robbins meanwhile has had no difficulty making the jump from the Missouri Valley Conference, as the Drake transfer dominated Ohio State on Sunday with 27 points, five blocks and 17 free throw attempts with Buckeye defenders bouncing off of him left and right. Their two losses on the season came in somewhat ugly fashion to Illinois and Wisconsin, but Minnesota has done more than enough to prove it’s legit. — Olinger

7. Northwestern (6-3, 3-2 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 6

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

This is the moment of truth for Chris Collins and the Wildcats as they look to bounce back from a two-game skid when they face Illinois on Thursday. The Michigan game was depressing, but I am willing to hold out hope that it is just a bump in the road. Pete Nance has been consistent, but the Wolverines may have revealed the secret to guarding him. Juwan Howard’s strategy of putting big man Hunter Dickinson on Robbie Beran and having the more mobile Franz Wanger guard Nance proved effective, as the NU star scored just 10 points. The ‘Cats will have to prove their hot start was not a fluke if they want to continue to contend going forward. -Revsine

8. Ohio State (8-3, 2-3 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 8

This team goes as E.J. Liddell does. It’s why OSU still comes in ahead of Purdue despite losing to the Boilermakers head-to-head, as Liddell was not suited up that night in West Lafayette. The sophomore forward is a compact and quick force inside, as he’s the only player in the conference to post both a block rate over five percent and a steal rate over 2.5 percent. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Minnesota’s Robbins overwhelmed Liddell and was not given the ball much down the stretch against Northwestern in the team’s two most recent losses. Ohio State does not have enough scoring creation throughout the rest of their roster to compensate for off-nights from the 6-foot-7 star. — Olinger

9. Purdue (7-5, 2-3 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 10

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Painter’s squad may have been dubbed the “Baby Boilers,” but don’t overlook them. The youngest team in the Big Ten has had a tough schedule as of late, losing three out of their last four contests. However, Trevion Williams has been a bright spot, averaging 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per outing. The Boilermakers have yet to win away from home, but freshmen Brandon Newman and Zach Edey look to continue on their upward trend when they face Nebraska at Mackey Arena on Tuesday. -Revsine

10. Indiana (7-4, 2-2 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 12

It’s been more of the same from the Hoosiers, who have emerged victorious in all the games they’ve been expected to win but falling to all on-paper superiors. One area they could stand to improve is in the open court, as they place in the eighth percentile nationally in transition offense and in the 14th percentile in transition defense, according to Synergy Sports. Given that transition scoring is statistically more efficient than half court play, it would behoove Indiana to convert more on the run and show more urgency sprinting back on defense this week against Wisconsin and Nebraska. — Olinger

11. Maryland (6-5, 1-4 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 11

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Terps were 1-2 in their three matchups this week, which is hard to complain about when two of their opponents are ranked in KenPom’s top ten. Eric Ayala had 17 second-half points to lead Maryland to an upset over Wisconsin and followed it up with 16 at Michigan. UMD’s victory over the Badgers was the program’s road victory over a top-10 team since 2008. Despite the tough losses to Michigan and Indiana, Mark Turgeon’s team certainly has the potential to emulate its performance in Madison and pull off a few more upsets. - Revsine

12. Michigan State (7-3, 1-3 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 9

The rapid spiral downward for the Spartans from a potential title contender to being thrilled to survive Nebraska on the road is quite the descent. MSU still has talented pieces and can score with the best of them, as they’ve only had one game in which they’ve posted an adjusted offensive rating under 99.8 according to BartTorvik (the exception being the disastrous 83.6 rating against Minnesota), but their defense is just so very not good. Xavier Tillman’s departure looms large, as Michigan State has been bludgeoned inside by post-ups and drives toward the rim from its opponents. — Olinger

13. Penn State (3-4, 0-3 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 13

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

PSU was slated to play two games this week but played only once due to a COVID cancelation against Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions fell to Indiana in overtime after clawing their way back with the help of strong three-point shooting. However, PSU’s lack of size has proven to be an issue this season, as it continued to struggle in the paint against IU. -Revsine

14. Nebraska (4-7, 0-4 B1G)

Last week’s ranking: 14

It speaks to the strength of this conference that the Huskers are dead last in the rankings this decisively. They play sound, modern basketball, ranking fifth overall in the country in ShotQuality’s “Rim & 3 Rate”, and have productive pieces in transfers Dalano Banton and Trey McGowens. However, the depth of talent just isn’t there, as they’ve slowly been worn down in a few competitive Big Ten losses. — Olinger