Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings Jan. 16

Welcome back to Big Ten basketball power rankings! We’ll be posting weekly rankings now until the conference tournament. This week, our rankings are made up of eight WIUX Sports personalities: Adam Cohen (adamcohenIU), Tyler Darwick (@TylerDarwick), Cole Dunbar (@Cole_Dunbar), Quinn Saturday (@QTipsforSports), Levi Snow (snowman2469), David Sugarman (Dshug24), Andrew Vailliencourt (@AndrewVcourt), and Tori Ziege (@ToriZiege).

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

1. Wisconsin Badgers (8), (16-2, 4-1), Average: 1.25 High/Low: 1/2

What They’re Saying: “It will be interesting to see how this team responds to the loss of point guard Traevon Jackson. I wouldn’t read much into the Rutgers loss, but it is essential for guards Josh Gasser and Bronson Koenig to produce more.”  – Levi Snow

“Wisconsin showed us nothing is promised in the world of college basketball when it had its first Big Ten loss of the year at Rutgers. Despite not having Kaminsky or Jackson, this is still a bad loss for the Badgers. Kaminsky is back, but the loss of Traevon Jackson to a foot surgery could hurt Wisconsin’s chances in its upcoming games.” – Cole Dunbar

2. Maryland Terrapins (2), (16-2, 4-1) Average: 2, High/Low: 1/4

What They’re Saying: “Maryland had a strong out-of-conference season with wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State and remain one of the two Big Ten teams in the top 25 nationally. But the Terrapins looked bad on the road against Illinois and barely got by Rutgers at home. Despite their ranking, the Terps are going to need to prove themselves, especially on the road, over the next couple months.” – Adam Cohen

3. Michigan State Spartans (12-5, 3-1), Average: 3, High/Low: 2/4

What They’re Saying: “Michigan State has impressed me the most out of any Big Ten team. They’re one bad defensive possession away (on Dec. 30 vs. Maryland) from being in first place and the only undefeated team in conference play. Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine and Brendan Dawson are playing like three of the best upperclassmen in the Big Ten. Once again, Tom Izzo is getting the most out of his roster. Should we be surprised?” – Adam Cohen

4. Indiana Hoosiers (13-4, 3-1), Average: 4.25, High/Low: 3/5

What They’re Saying: “The Hoosiers are proving they’re different than last season by being able to stick it out in close games. That being said, many of those games shouldn’t be have close in the first place, like Tuesday’s 3-point win against Penn State. IU continues to play up and down to its opponents, and I worry that it will struggle against Illinois on Sunday, especially with center Hanner Mosquera-Perea out indefinitely. Therefore, the Hoosiers’ top-five position in the conference is tenuous, at best.” – Tori Ziege

5. Iowa Hawkeyes (12-5, 3-1), Average: 4.5, High/Low: 3/5

What They’re Saying: “Iowa might be one of the most underrated teams not only in the Big Ten but in the country. The Hawkeyes are off to a good start to conference play at 3-1, including a big win in their opener at Ohio State. Watch out for the Hawkeyes this year, as they are definitely a dangerous team in the B1G.” – Cole Dunbar

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (14-4, 3-2), Average: 6, High/Low: 6/6

What They’re Saying: “Congratulations on winning the first college football playoff. Basketball still needs some work.” – Tori Ziege

7. Michigan (10-7, 3-2), Average: 7.75, High/Low: 7/10

What They’re Saying: “The Wolverines are the best bad team in the Big Ten. You can almost arrange the bottom eight in any order you want, and it’d be hard to argue with you. So far, this is one of the worst seasons in recent memory for the conference as a whole, with really only two very good teams.” – Andrew Vailliencourt

8. Purdue Boilermakers (10-7, 2-2), Average: 8.375, High/Low: 7/11

What They’re Saying: “The Boilermakers have really earned my respect in Big Ten play as all four games of their games have been close contests, including two single-digit losses against the Big Ten’s only nationally ranked teams. Purdue might not make the NCAA tournament itself, but it might also prevent some other teams by beating them unsuspectingly.” – Quinn Saturday

9. Illinois Fighting Illini (12-6, 2-3), Average: 9.125, High/Low: 8/10

What They’re Saying: “Many thought with the injury to star senior guard Rayvonte Rice this team would struggle. However, the Fighting Illini are 2-1 since his injury with a very impressive upset win over Maryland. The next five games are very winnable and will determine if they’re going dancing in March.”  – Tyler Darwick

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-7, 2-3), Average: 9.125, High/Low: 7/11

What They’re Saying: “Expected to be near the top of the Big Ten standings this year, the Cornhuskers have instead been what we expected to see when they first joined the conference: mediocre. There’s still time to turn it around, but the clock is ticking and there aren’t many signs that things will change. Such a shame, because Terran Petteway has had an excellent season thus far.” – Quinn Saturday

11. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-8), (2-3), Average: 11, High/Low: 9/13

What They’re Saying: “Rutgers has had a better-than-expected start to its Big Ten season. Upsetting Wisconsin and playing Maryland to the wire on the road are both encouraging signs. Most teams probably won’t have those results against these two squads this season. However, Rutgers has always struggled to find consistency, and losing in conference play is still in Scarlet Knight’s DNA going back to the Big East and American days. Once they get into the middle of the Big Ten grind, wins will be tough to come by.” – Adam Cohen

“Though Frank Kaminsky was hurt, for Rutgers to pick up a win against Wisconsin was massive: the first top-five win in program history. After following that up by nearly upsetting another top-25 team in Maryland on the road, there’s hope yet for a team that hasn’t been a part of March Madness since 1991. With winnable games against Minnesota, Michigan and Penn State all coming up, we’ll see if Rutgers is serious about turning the program around or if this is just a fluke.” – David Sugarman

12. Northwestern Wildcats (10-7, 1-3), Average: 12.5, High/Low: 11/14

What They’re Saying: “To me, the 11-14 positions are all mundane and interchangeable, and Northwestern epitomizes that. The Wildcats played close against Michigan State and Illinois and beat who it was supposed to in Rutgers. But they also had an embarrassing 81-58 outcome against Wisconsin. Hopefully further play will provide some clarity to the conference picture. But then again, this is college basketball we’re talking about.” – Tori Ziege

13. Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-7, 0-5), Average: 13, High/Low: 12/14

What They’re Saying: “The Golden Gophers are definitely the most disappointing team in conference play thus far. They entered the Big Ten season with an 11-2 record but have lost their first five conference games. Minnesota hosts Rutgers in its next game, and it’s a must-win in the most dire meaning.” – Levi Snow

“Minnesota has had a rough start to begin Big Ten play, starting 0-5. However its schedule has not been a favorable one, playing three road games. In Golden Gophers’ two home games, they have played very strong opponents in Ohio State and Iowa. Although Minnesota got off to a slow start, I doubt it will be at the bottom of the Big Ten for long.” – Cole Dunbar

14. Penn State Nittany Lions (12-5, 0-4), Average: 13.125, High/Low: 11/14

“After starting the year 12-1, the Nittany Lions have had an anvil dropped on their heads like Wile E. Coyote. Penn State is 0-4 in Big Ten play and had to of thought it could’ve at least picked up one W from its first slate of games. With two of their losses coming by less than 5 points, the Nittany Lions have found themselves winless conference play with a tough road ahead. They still have dates with Maryland, Wisconsin (again) and Ohio State twice.” – David Sugarman