Jon Crispin, BTN men's basketball analyst, December 7, 2015
It's Monday, and that means it's time for me to share my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal.
The biggest mover this week? That would be Wisconsin, which following wins at Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and vs. Temple, move up four spots to No. 6.
Michigan State, the freshly minted No. 1 in the national polls, remains atop my list for the second straight week.
Editor's note: All records are through Sunday, Dec. 6 action.
See my latest rankings below:
1. Michigan State (9-0). There's no way around this one, Michigan State has already faced adversity with injuries in November and is playing the best basketball in the country. They are the only March-ready team in the country.
Last week: 1
2. Purdue (8-0). Although the Boilermakers continue to develop and evolve as the pieces come together, this is one of the most complete teams in the country, and it has Final Four potential.
Last week: 3
3. Maryland (7-1). We have yet to see Maryland's best. Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter Jr. seem to be comfortable, but they are seriously missing the glue and leadership that Dez Wells provided.
Last week: 2
4. Iowa (6-2). Depth would be nice for the Hawkeyes, but starting four seniors and one junior puts significant poise, experience and balance on the floor for the majority of the game. Foul trouble could be an issue, however this team has been impressive.
Last week: 4
5. Indiana (6-3). I continue to be optimistic about the Hoosiers because of the way they play (offense) and the matchup issues they create with their spacing and perimeter shooting. Captain Obvious just reminded me that their defense needs to improve.
Last week: 5
6. Wisconsin (6-3). The win on the road at Syracuse tells me a lot about the development of this team. Defensively, it is looking more and more like a Bo Ryan team. The Badgers protect the paint and keep the ball in front.
Last week: 10
7. Northwestern (7-1). This team continues to impress. Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh make the Wildcats an NCAA tournament-caliber team. The key will be to enter Big Ten play at 12-1 with all the momentum they can muster.
Last week: 8
8. Michigan (6-2). No question this team is talented, but I challenge the Wolverines' toughness. Xavier and UConn won the physical battle, and the Wolverines lost those games by a combined 30 points. I need to see the fight in them for them to move up.
Last week: 7
9. Nebraska (6-3). Shavon Shields and Andrew White III are a much better tandem than Shields and Terran Pettaway the last couple of seasons. Nebraska plays hard and is developing some balance and depth. Keep and eye on the Huskers.
Last week: 9
10. Illinois (4-5). Regardless of the losing record, I would have had this team in the 7-8 range if it were not for the Mike Thorne Jr. injury. Just as John Groce gets Kendrick Nunn back, he loses his dominant post presence. I'd love to see this team at full-strength.
Last week: 6
11. Penn State (5-2). After getting a hands-on look at the Nittany Lions this past weekend, I can see the pieces coming together. The insertion of Julian Moore into the starting lineup gives them more activity inside on both ends, and Shep Garner and Brandon Taylor have been lethal from the 3-point line.
Last week: 13
12. Ohio State (3-4). This will be a completely different team in February than it is today. In the meantime, the Buckeyes need to play with energy and enthusiasm to maintain their competitive edge.
Last week: 11
13. Minnesota (5-3). As I've mentioned in previous weeks, depth is a big issue for the Gophers. As the core group gets comfortable with defensive rotations and getting easy baskets off of turnovers, this team will gradually become more and more competitive and relevant.
Last week: 12
14. Rutgers (3-5). There's no way around it, Eddie Jordan is building a program from the ground-up and doing so in the best conference in the country. The goal will be to get each and every player to buy into the difficult and challenging process.
Last week: No. 14