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Ranking the B1G: Big Ten Takes the Challenge

Ohio State has separated themselves from the rest of the conference.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten wins the Big Ten/ACC Challenge 8-6, and some of the wins looked impressive. Some of the losses, however, should have left coaches wondering what’s going on with their teams. Is Nebraska really that bad? Will Michigan State be OK? Has Purdue righted the ship? We shall see!

1) Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)

The Buckeyes beat North Carolina by a lot, and Penn State by even more. If they keep playing like this, it’ll be hard to see them drop for a while. North Carolina already has three losses on the season though, so maybe that win will lose its luster as time goes. We’ll see.

2) Maryland Terrapins (+1)

Maryland looks mortal, as they needed every second to beat Illinois. Playing Notre Dame in the challenge might have been a mismatch, and it showed in the game.

3) Michigan Wolverines (-2)

Michigan is the other team to score 100 this week, beating Iowa in the process. Unfortunately, the Wolverines came back down to earth some when they ran into the Louisville buzzsaw.

4) Purdue Boilermakers (+4)

Have the Boilermakers woken up yet? They beat Virginia by a very comfortable margin then dispatched of a Northwestern team that looked somewhat competent in their own blowout of Boston College. Let’s see how things progress.

5) Penn State Nittany Lions (-1)

Penn State blew out their bad ACC challenge opponent at home, then got blown out by a better team on the road. Par for the course.

5) Indiana Hoosiers (—)

Indiana blew out their good ACC challenge opponent at home, then got blown out by a worse team on the road. Par for the course.

5) Michigan State Spartans (+1)

Michigan State nearly got blown out by their equal ACC challenge opponent at home, then beat a worse team at home by not that big a margin. Tie the other two, but nothing more.

5) Iowa Hawkeyes (+2)

Are you noticing the trend? Go 1-1 in the week, look respectable in one of the games, tie for the number 5 spot in this week’s rankings.

9) Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)

Minnesota is starting to play better, and while they also went 1-1 and looked decent, one of their losses was to one of the teams tied for fifth. That counts for something.

10) Wisconsin Badgers (+2)

Water is liquid, the sky is blue, Wisconsin beat Indiana at the Kohl Center. Some things just are.

11) Northwestern Wildcats (+3)

As the last team in the rankings to have won a game last week, Northwestern gets to climb up some. It will be interesting to see how this hot and cold team evens out as the season progresses.

12) Illinois Fighting Illini (-1)

Based on when they played, their loss to Miami was already accounted for in last week’s rankings. Yet, they went and did basically the same thing against Maryland, but in opposite order. They led the Terrapins for nearly the entire game, until the very end, when Anthony Cowa led the Terps to victory.

13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-4)

The losses seem to be piling up for the Scarlet Knights. They get a Wisconsin team that they have beaten at home before. Let’s see if they can do it again.

14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1)

Can Nebraska be this bad? They’ve gotten blown out against any team with a pulse, and last week was no different. Barring some miracle work in the coming weeks, I don’t see them climbing out of dead last.