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Ranking the B1G: Poor, Poor Indiana (Part 2)

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That is not the start Indiana wanted.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana State at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball’s action-packed opening weekend is behind us, and most Big Ten team took care of business with the exception of a few who found themselves in dogfights with some teams. None were worse than the Indiana Hoosiers, who found itself on the losing end of a blowout against the Indiana State Sycamores on Friday. As mentioned in the Big Ten preview, this would be a transition year for Archie Miller. But not even Purdue fans imagined he would have this kind of start at the helm. Let’s recap the weekend that was.

1) Michigan State Spartans (Preseason: 1)

Previously: W 98-66 vs North Florida

The Spartans played one game this weekend, an absolute demolition of an Atlantic Sun team by 32 points. Miles Bridges had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists in the game, and the only time the game was close was in the opening minutes, where North Florida actually held a lead.

Up Next: vs No. 1 Duke (Tue), vs Stony Brook (Sun)

2) Purdue Boilermakers (P: 2)

Previously: W 105-74 vs SIU-Edwardsville, W 111-42 vs Chicago State

Two hundred-point games bode very well for Purdue, who lost one of its best players from a season ago. Like Michigan State above, it’s hard to evaluate the quality of each win given the opponent, but any time you score over 100 points you’re in good shape.

Up Next: at Marquette (Tue), vs Fairfield (Sat)

3) Iowa Hawkeyes (P: 6)

Previously: W vs Chicago State 95-62, W vs Alabama State 92-58

The Hawkeyes looked like they didn’t miss Peter Jok at all, dismatling both of its opening opponents while scoring over 90 in each game. As with Purdue above, the scores should be taken with a grain of salt given the competition, but the scoring output still makes for an impressive showing.

Up Next: vs Grambling (Thur)

4) Wisconsin Badgers (P: 7)

Previously: W vs South Carolina State 85-50, W vs Yale 89-61

Ethan Happ had two good games (one much better than the other), and the Badgers of new looked like the Badgers of old in its first two games. Efficient, deliberately paced games are still the word for the Badgers, and if they can continue to play at such pace, they should have no problem staying at the top of these rankings for weeks to come.

Up Next: vs Xavier (Thur)

5) Minnesota Golden Gophers (P: 3)

Previously: W 92-77 vs USC Upstate

Minnesota found itself in a bit of a dog fight in the first game of the season, struggling with the Spartans for a half before pulling away in the second. The Gophers went 32% from three, Amir Coffey fouled out, but Jordan Murphy had 35 points in the game to lift Minnesota to the comfortable win. Sounds like a team we cover around these parts...

Up Next: at Providence (Mon), vs Niagara (Wed), vs Western Carolina (Sun)

6) Maryland Terrapins (P: 8)

Previously: W at Stony Brook 76-61, W vs Maryland Eastern Shore 96-43

Life after Melo Trimble seems off to a good start for the Terrapins, as they won comfortably in its first two games. They built a lead against Stony Brook and kept them at bay the rest of the way, and the second game was never really a contest.

Up Next: vs Butler (Wed), vs Bucknell (Sat)

7) Michigan Wolverines (P:5)

Previously: W vs North Florida 86-66

Another team that struggled with its opponent for most of the game, Michigan wouldn’t pull away from North Florida until the closing minutes of the second half. The final score makes the game look way worse than it really was, as North Florida held a lead for most of the first half, and was within four points for most of the second.

Up Next: vs Central Michigan (Mon), vs Southern Miss (Thur)

8) Northwestern Wildcats (P: 4)

Previously: W vs Loyola (MD) 79-75

Northwestern was in a dogfight against overmatched Loyola (MD) on opening weekend, shooting 23.8% from three, and a hair over 40% from two. Scottie Lindsey provided 26 points for the Wildcats, and Derek Pardon pitched in another 16. Let’s chalk this one up to getting used to playing at its temporary arena for now, but a team that returns nearly everyone from an NCAA tournament bid last season shouldn’t be struggling with a Kenpom #235 team.

Up Next: vs St. Peters (Mon), vs Creighton (Wed), vs La Salle (Sat)

9) Penn State Nittany Lions (P: 9)

Previously: W vs Campbell 86-75, W vs Fairleigh Dickinson 81-57

Each game has been covered at length, but needless to say, the Nittany Lions still need to clean up some things in order to move up here.

Up Next: vs Montana (Wed), vs Columbia (Fri)

10) Ohio State Buckeyes (P: 11)

Previously: W vs Robert Morris 95-64, W vs Radford 82-72

The win against Robert Morris was a cakewalk, the one against Radford was not. It almost was, until Radford started raining threes late in the game and made the Buckeyes sweat a bit. This is a prime example of what we expect of Ohio State this season: a talented team that may struggle with consistency game in and game out.

Up Next: vs Texas Southern (Thur), vs Northeastern (Sun)

11) Illinois Fighting Illini (P: 12)

Previously: W vs Southern 102-55, W vs UT-Martin 74-77

Another team that will likely be fairly inconsistent this coming season, the Fighting Illini blew out its opening opponent, then followed it up by barely scratching by against Kenpom #260 Tennesee-Martin. Illinois shot 28% from three in the game, but still had a double-digit lead early in the second half. The lead slipped away as the game went on, and it came down to a missed three-pointer to avoid overtime.

Up Next: vs DePaul (Fri), vs Marshall (Sun)

12) Indiana Hoosiers (P: 10)

Previously: L vs Indiana State 69-90, W vs Howard 86-77

A performance like this would normally warrant dead last, but there are reasons why that’s not the case. First, the Hoosiers actually lost their opener against the Sycamores, then they followed it up with a less-than-inspiring win against Kenpom #339 Howard. Everyone knew it would be a transition in Bloomington, but man, nobody thought it would be THIS bad.

Up Next: at Seton Hall (Wed), vs South Florida (Sun)

13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (P: 13)

Previously: W vs City College of New York 94-38, W vs Central Connecticut State 71-67

I get it Rutgers, you’re trying to build something, but DIII opponents are usually reserved for exhibition games or Maryland’s out of conference schedule, and this is neither. Also, only beating Kenpom #335 by four doesn’t bode well either.

Up Next: vs Cleveland State (Tue), vs Coppin State (Sun)

14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (P: 14)

Previously: W vs Eastern Illinois 72-68

I almost put Rutgers here, but they did play two games. Besides, it’s not like the Huskers fared any better in their only game against Kenpom #195, but they’ll have plenty of chances to move up the rankings if they do well in the next few weeks. Don’t bank on it.

Up Next: vs North Texas (Mon), at St. John’s (Thur), vs North Dakota (Sun)


Ranking criteria:

  1. Recent performance
  2. Overall body of work
  3. Season expectations