Big Ten basketball power rankings Dec. 5th

Welcome to the first Big Ten basketball power rankings of the 2014-2015 season. Our rankings are made up of ten WIUX Sports personalities: Adam Cohen (adamcohenIU), Tyler Darwick (@TylerDarwick), Cole Dunbar (@Cole_Dunbar), Brian Fox (@RealBrianFox), Quinn Saturday (@QTipsforSports), Levi Snow (snowman2469), David Sugarman (Dshug24), Andrew Vailliencourt (@AndrewVcourt), Eli Wilz (wilz_i_am) and Tori Ziege (@ToriZiege).

Team Name, First Place Votes, Record, Average, High/Low

1. Wisconsin Badgers (10), (7-1), Average: 1, High/Low: 1/1

What They’re Saying: There’s no shame in losing a close one to Duke, and the Badgers have already fought through and won in some gritty performances against Georgetown and Oklahoma.” – David Sugarman

“Frank Kaminsky and company are showing early that they plan to be in Indianapolis come the end of the season. The Badgers came out champions in the Battle 4 Atlantis which had several ranked teams in the mix (North Carolina, UCLA, and Butler). Their one loss to Duke at home does not affect their standing at the top of my B1G power rankings.” –Cole Dunbar

2. Michigan Wolverines, (6-1), Average: 2.4, High/Low: 2/3

What They’re Saying: “Michigan has looked really good so far despite losing three players to the NBA. John Beilein is one heck of a coach, and he’s working his magic again. If it weren’t for a last-second block in their loss to Villanova, The Wolverines would be in the top 10.” –Andrew Valliencourt

“I ranked the Wolverines at No. 2 because they, along with Iowa, were the only Big Ten teams to beat an above average ACC team during the challenge. While I think UNC is overrated, I think Syracuse is a really good team that will be a lot better near the end of the season. That was a great résumé-building win for a Michigan team that was expected to have an off year this season.” –Quinn Saturday

3. Ohio State Buckeyes, (5-1), Average: 3.5, High/Low: 2/5

What They’re Saying: “The Buckeyes got a tough assignment in the B1G/ACC Challenge, having to play at Louisville. OSU was able to stick around against one of their premiere teams in the country.” –Adam Cohen

“Ohio State flopped in its first big test of the season against Louisville. College basketball’s assists leader, Buckeye senior Shannon Scott (averaging 10.4 assists per game), was held to zero assists and rode the bench the last 12 minutes of the match-up. Down 17 at half, State gets credit for fighting back, but is still a few steps back from being one of the elite teams this season.” –Tori Ziege

4. Maryland Terrapins, (7-1), Average: 4.8, High/Low: 2/11

What They’re Saying: “This team could really struggle to score points without Dez Wells.  The Terrapins have scored 65 or fewer points in two of three games without him.” –Levi Snow

“There are a lot of good freshmen in the Big Ten this year, but keep an eye on Melo Trimble. The relatively unheralded guard just dropped 16 points on Virginia’s vaunted defense. For comparison’s sake, Rutgers scored 26 points against Virginia, period.” –Brian Fox

5. Michigan State Spartans, (5-3), Average: 5.5, High/Low: 3/9

What They’re Saying: “The Spartans couldn’t get a win in any of their three big non-conference games against Duke, Kansas and Notre Dame. This team has lost too much talent to compete at the level they did last year. There aren’t many scoring options on this team.” –Andrew Vailliencourt

“Michigan State shouldn’t fret too much over the three early losses due to its strength of schedule. A one-point loss at Notre Dame might not look too bad down the road.” –Adam Cohen

6. Illinois Fighting Illini, (6-1), Average: 6.2, High/Low: 5/8

What They’re Saying: “Illinois came into the year with some very talented players but the jury was still out. Despite falling at Miami, they fought back to make it close and also beat a good Baylor team in Las Vegas.” – Adam Cohen

“With teams bottled up in the B1G and lots of cupcake schedules, there’s not much to judge the conference on with the exception of the Big Ten/ACC challenge. The Illini came out flat and shot poorly in a loss at Miami, and will lose their top 25 ranking as a result. But John Groce’s squad will have another chance to prove its worth in a looming match-up with No. 10 Villanova on Tuesday.” –Tori Ziege

7. Iowa Hawkeyes, (6-2), Average: 6.3, High/Low: 4/11

What They’re Saying: “The Hawkeyes had the most impressive win for the Big Ten in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge by stealing one in Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels. On a night where it shot 3-20 from the three and its leading scorer, Aaron White, didn’t make a field goal, this team showed how tough it will be all season.” –Tyler Darwick

“Aaron White missed every shot from the field and the Hawkeyes still won in Chapel Hill which tells me two things: this is a great defensive team, and guys like Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury are much improved.” –Brian Fox

8. Indiana Hoosiers, (6-1), Average: 8.3, High/Low: 5/11

What They’re Saying: “The Hoosiers would be an AP top 25 team if it weren’t for a two-point loss to Eastern Washington. Granted, the loss is inexcusable, but I don’t think it’s reflective of this team. Indiana has more depth than last year as newcomers James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft and Emmit Holt have shown dependability as scorers. However, size will continue to be a problem for this team moving forward.” –Tori Ziege

“It’s hard to figure this team out, nice wins against SMU and Pitt, but a home loss to Eastern Washington. I think we will really find out if this team can compete based on how they do against Louisville. But for now, it’s hard to trust the Hoosiers.” –Andrew Vailliencourt

9. Purdue Boilermakers, (6-1), Average: 8.7, High/Low: 7/10

What They’re Saying: “Purdue’s one and only loss thus far came in the Maui Invitational to an underrated Kansas State team. The Boilermakers then went on to finish well in the tournament, knocking off Missouri and winning in OT on a buzzer-beater against BYU. Head Coach Matt Painter is very high on his new big man Isaac Haas, who is currently averaging 12 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. His team could be dangerous come time for conference play.” –Cole Dunbar

10. Nebraska Cornhuskers, (5-1), Average: 9, High/Low: 4/12

What They’re Saying:  “The Cornhuskers have had the most disappointing start for any Big Ten team thus far. After falling in its first test of the year at Rhode Island, Nebraska barely got by a struggling Florida State team in the B1G/ACC Challenge.” –Adam Cohen

“Nebrasketball is a team that I am looking forward to making a splash in the Big Ten this season. After making the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years last season, the campaign ended in disappointment after a first round exit at the hands of Baylor. But Tim Miles is one of the most entertaining coaches in the nation and will without a doubt whip these guys into shape by the time Big Ten play starts. Like most power-five teams, Nebraska has had a fairly cupcake schedule up to this point, which undoubtedly helped lead to its No. 12 position in my power rankings this week. The Cornhuskers’ only loss is to URI, who although I think will end up being a respectable team out of the A10 this season, is still a bad loss for a Nebraska team that wants to continue rising the ranks of the Big Ten. Fortunately, the Cornhuskers have dominated the rest of their opponents this season, and I will look forward to them bouncing back. Their next game is against Creighton, and if Terran Petteway and crew can put together a good showing, expect them to climb the rankings, and quickly.” –Eli Wilz

11. Minnesota Golden Gophers, (5-2), Average: 10.5, High/Low: 8/12

What They’re Saying: “Last season, the Golden Gophers set school records for most three-pointers made (272) and attempted (773) in a single season. This year, Richard Pitino’s squad continues to thrive on the jump shot but struggle on defense. When leading scorer Andre Hollins puts up 27 like he did against Wake Forset, this team will be just fine. But when shooting goes cold as the Minnesotan winter, the Golden Gophers are in trouble.” –Tori Ziege

12. Penn State Nittany Lions, (7-1), Average: 10.9, High/Low: 8/12

What They’re Saying: “Penn State: Although Penn State has one of the better records right now at 7-1, its competition has been weak. The Nittany Lions have yet to play a ranked team, and probably won’t play one before B1G play begins. Don’t be surprised if Penn State comes into conference play with only one loss. They could be in for a rude awakening when they have to play at Wisconsin on Dec. 31.” –Cole Dunbar

“While the schedule so far hasn’t been too hard, that Nittany Lions do have a good win over USC and look the best overall in my four years at Indiana. D.J. Newbill has been exceptional so far, ranking third in the nation in scoring. I don’t think NCAA is a possibility but NIT is definitely within reach.” –Quinn Saturday

13. Northwestern Wildcats, (5-2), Average: 13.2, High/Low: 13/14

What They’re Saying: “A student of Coach K, second-year Head Coach Chris Collins will keep experimenting with this team, and I think the Wildcats will have a couple of surprising wins as a result. But for the most part, expect Northwestern to continue its growing pains (like, barely escaping Elon Phoenix at home in overtime) this season”–Tori Ziege

“Chris Collins’s club looks to still be far away in year number two. Close calls against the likes of North Florida and Elon and not being competitive against Northern Iowa isn’t going to cut it.” –Adam Cohen

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights, (4-3), Average: 13.6, High/Low: 13/14

What They’re Saying: “Amidst the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers struggled mightily in its first and only year in the AAC last season. Despite a head coaching change, it doesn’t get much better for the Scarlet Knights as they enter the toughest conference in the country, and figure to be in the basement of the B1G for quite a while.” –Tyler Darwick