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Ranking The B1G: The Cream Is Starting To Rise

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The road remain treacherous in Big Ten play.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been some time since we saw one of these, and boy has there been activity in that span! Home teams continue to dominate Big Ten play, but a couple of squads, most notably Wisconsin, have been able to notch a few elusive road victories.

1) Michigan State Spartans (+3)

The Spartans take their rightful spot a the top. Michigan State is a full game ahead of everyone in the conference, and if not for that egg at Purdue, they’d be undefeated in conference play.

2) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+7)

Rutgers has started hot in conference play. Sure, their lone road win is against Nebraska, but taking care of their home court has paid dividends for the Scarlet Knights, and they’re solidly in the top quarter of the conference right now.

3) Wisconsin Badgers (+8)

Wisconsin, another team left for dead earlier this season, has come back to life in conference play, notching two road victories to date. The only other team to have more than one road win in conference play is Michigan State.

4) Illinois Fighting Illini (+4)

Illinois is another one of those teams with an elusive road win in conference play. The Fighting Illini are starting to look like the team that most thought they were going to see at the beginning of the season. They survived a scare against Northwestern to keep pace in conference play.

5) Iowa Hawkeyes (-3)

The Hawkeyes have been victims of having played road games in the Big Ten, but the biggest knock to them right now is that one of those road losses was to Nebraska. Of the six road wins in Big Ten play this season, only two have been against teams other than Nebraska and Northwestern, so Iowa takes a hit for not doing what everyone else could.

6) Maryland Terrapins (-1)

Another team that’s invincible at home but inept on the road. The Terrapins just finished battling it out with Purdue (more on them later) to get back in above .500 in conference play.

7) Minnesota Golden Gophers (—)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Minnesota is great at home, and terrible on the Road. They have victories over Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State at home (more on those three later), and losses to all the teams they’ve played on the road. Thus, they sit at .500 in conference play.

8) Indiana Hoosiers (-2)

Indiana struggled with Nebraska at home, then struggled with them again on the road. Then they did their civic duty and won all their home games and lost all their other road games.

9) Michigan Wolverines (+1)

Without Isaiah Livers, Michigan is in a world of hurt. They have yet to lose a home game as per contractual obligation, but they’ve also played more road games in the first half of their conference slate. Things should look up in the second half, where they’ll play at home more often and are contractually obligated to win.

10) Purdue Boilermakers (+2)

Purdue is another team that has played more road games so far in conference play, so I expect them to get some wins in the coming weeks, where they’ll have a few home games in a row. If not for that win against Michigan State, they’d be lower in these rankings.

11) Ohio State Buckeyes (-10)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once thought as head and shoulders above the rest of the conference, Ohio State has beaten two teams in conference play: Nebraska and Penn State. The latter of those two came almost two months ago! They also have the dishonor of being one of the few teams to have actually lost a home game this season.

12) Northwestern Wildcats (+2)

While the team below it has more conference wins, Northwestern actually beat them head to head. The Wildcats also came oh so close from notching a road victory against Illinois this weekend, so they get the nod.

13) Nebraska Cornhuskers (+1)

Something tells me that Fred Hoiberg’s revenge tour is going to be more interesting to see than Jim Harbaugh’s revenge tour.

14) Penn State Nittany Lions (-11)

Like Ohio State, Penn State is another one of the few teams with the dishonor of having lost a home game (to the same team as Ohio State, to boot). Unlike the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions’ season ended when they lost their third straight conference game. Nothing they do from here on out matters.