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Ranking the B1G: Back To The Non-Conference

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Minnesota is this season’s sacrifice to the “Keep Tim Miles Around” God

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After two Big Ten games, we know a few things: 1) Michigan State is not immortal, 2) Nebraska has their early scalp, 3) Iowa is Rutgers, and 4) maybe Ohio State won’t be terrible this season?

1) Michigan State Spartans (Last Week: 1)

Previously: W at Rutgers 62-52, vs Southern Utah 88-63

The Spartans were favored by 16 over Rutgers. They led 47-43 with 4:28 left in the game. But hey, at least they’re not Kansas (or Florida, or Notre Dame, or Duke).

Up Next: vs Oakland (Sat)*

2) Purdue Boilermakers (LW: 3)

Previously: W vs Valparaiso 80-50, W vs IUPUI 86-61

Valparaiso was undefeated when they faced Purdue (they have two losses now), but the record might have been deceiving, as there were no real wins of note. It’s still a 30-point drubbing against a not-bad team, though.

Up Next: vs Butler (Sat)*

3) Ohio State Buckeyes (LW: 8)

Previously: W vs Michigan 71-62, W vs William & Mary 97-62

It might be surprising to see Ohio State so high up, but they had an incredible week, so they’re kind of here by default. It helps that nearly every team ahead of them last week had mediocre to bad outings. Chris Holtmann said something to the effect of rebuilds take time and patience, but he’s not a patient man. Let’s see if that means Ohio State is already rebuilt.

Up Next: vs Appalachian State (Sat)

4) Maryland Terrapins (LW: 4)

Previously: W vs Ohio 87-62, W vs Gardner-Webb 82-60

Another team that’s here by default, based solely on what the other teams have (or haven’t) done. They cruised past two overmatched opponents, but that’s still better than actually losing every game you played.

Up Next: BYE**

5) Minnesota Golden Gophers (LW: 2)

Previously: L at Nebraska 78-68, L at Arkansas 95-79

Speaking of losing every game you played, hi Minnesota! Losing to Miami because Dupree McBrayer didn’t play is fine. Losing to Nebraska for any reason is not, not when you’re the number 14 team in the country. Following that up with a road loss to Arkansas just compounds on the issue, even if that loss would have been forgivable on its own.

Up Next: vs Drake (Mon)

6) Michigan Wolverines (LW: 5)

Previously: L at Ohio State 71-62, W vs UCLA 78-69 (OT)

Michigan led Ohio State by as much as 17 in the first half. It was all Buckeyes from there. The Wolverines scored 19 points in the second half, after scoring 43 in the first. They did the opposite against UCLA, coming back from 15 down to force overtime.

Up Next: at Texas (Tue), vs Detroit Mercy (Sat)*

7) Northwestern Wildcats (LW: 7)

Previously: Idle

Didn’t play, didn’t move.

Up Next: vs Chicago State (Mon), vs Valparaiso (Thu), at DePaul (Sat)

8) Wisconsin Badgers (LW: 9)

Previously: W at Penn State 64-63, L at Temple 59-55, L vs Marquette 82-63

A horrible game by Penn State gave the Badgers their only win in the past two weeks. Digging themselves out of the hole they’ve dug so far will be great to see, especially with D'Mitrik Trice and Kobe King out indefinitely.

Up Next: vs Western Kentucky (Wed)

9) Penn State Nittany Lions (LW: 6)

Previously: L vs Wisconsin 64-63, W vs George Washington 74-54

Wisconsin is a tire fire, but losing to them in the past week keeps the Lions below them in the rankings. If the Nittany Lions can fulfill their potential, we may look back at the Wisconsin loss as the inexplicable loss to a bad team Penn State is so well-known for. They’ll be favored against the rest of the non-conference slate.

Up Next: at George Mason (Sun)

10) Nebraska Cornhuskers (LW: 13)

Previously: W vs No. 12 Minnesota 78-68, L at Creighton 75-65

Nebraska is good for one of these a season before collapsing, so step right up Minnesota! As expected, the Huskers followed up their win against Minnesota by losing to Creighton.

Up Next: vs No. 2 Kansas (Sat)

11) Illinois Fighting Illini (LW: 11)

Previously: W vs Austin Peay 64-57, L vs UNLV 89-82*

Two of Austin Peay’s four wins come against non-division 1 opponents. Illinois beat them by seven points. The Illini came back from a nine-point halftime deficit to lead UNLV late in the second half, but they collapsed late and the Rebels took advantage.

Up Next: vs Longwood (Wed), vs New Mexico State (Sat)*

12) Indiana Hoosiers (LW: 13)

Previously: W vs Iowa 77-64, L at Louisville 71-62

Indiana played even with Louisville until the very end, where, like Illinois, they just seemingly collapsed and couldn’t mount a comeback.

Up Next: vs No. 9 Notre Dame (Sat)*

13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (LW: 12)

Previously: L vs No. 3 Michigan State 62-52, W vs NJIT 73-64, W vs Fairleigh Dickinson 92-54

Rutgers actually gave Michigan State a game for most of the night, but they evaporated down the stretch and the Spartans were able to extend their lead beyond reach. Expectedly, they then beat the overmatched opponents.

Up Next: vs Fordham (Tue), vs No. 19 Seton Hall (Sat)

14) Iowa Hawkeyes (LW: 10)

Previously: L at Indiana 77-64, L at Iowa State 84-78, vs Southern 91-60

Thank the lord for Southern. Otherwise Iowa would have been on a six-game losing streak.

Up Next: vs Drake (Sat)*

Big Ten Standings

*Neutral site game
**They play a religion this week, so it doesn’t count.

Ranking criteria:

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