Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst, January 4, 2016
With the stat-stuffing games that dominate the nonconference season now history, it's a lot easier to assemble a weekly Big Ten Player Rankings.
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The first week of conference play featured no shortage of impressive individual performances, from Diamond Stone's record-setting night to Jarrod Uthoff's dominant effort at Purdue, among several others.
See my latest list below.
1. Melo Trimble, Maryland. Trimble had a rough shooting night (3-15) in a scare against Penn State, but his playmaking down the stretch saved the Terps from an season-opening conference loss. Against Northwestern, he toyed with the Cat defenders on his way to 24 points and eight assists.
Last week: No. 1
2. Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa. Ten points and six blocks in a victory over No. 1 Michigan State: Impressive. Twenty-five points and five blocks in a road victory over No. 14 Purdue on Rick Mount night: Priceless.
Last week: 4
3. A.J. Hammons, Purdue. Hammons overwhelmed the young frontline of Wisconsin with 24 points, but turnovers and a determined Hawkeye defense kept the ball out of his hands in a home loss to Iowa.
Last week: 3
4. Denzel Valentine, Michigan State. Michigan State stumbled at Iowa without its star, but toughed-out a road win at Minnesota. Valetine is expected to be back in the next week, but there is no set timetable.
Last week: 2
5. Caris LeVert, Michigan. Always a triple-double threat, LeVert scored 22 points in a road win at Illinois, but it was his 10 assists that broke the Illini defense. He didn't play in Michigan's blowout win over Penn State due to a leg injury.
Last week: 5
6. Yogi Ferrell, Indiana. Yogi is off to a sizzling start in conference play, averaging 22 points and seven assists while shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. He pulled out his entire bag a tricks in a win at Nebraska, hitting stepback 3s, in addition to containing Nebraska shooting star Andrew White III.
Last week: 9
7. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin. Hayes continues to be the focal point of defenses; he's averaging 12.5 points and 8 rebounds, but shooting only 38 percent in conference play.
Last week: 6
8. Diamond Stone, Maryland. Stone went into beast mode on opening night with a Maryland freshman record 39 points vs. Penn State. The freshman center continues to get in better shape and impacts the game for the fourth-ranked Terps at both ends. Can he keep it up?
Last week: NR
9. Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern. Fun fact: McIntosh hasn't had fewer than eight assists in the last six games, averaging 8.5 dimes during the span. He's also scoring 15.9 points per game on the season, including 14 in two Big Ten games.
Last week: 10
10. Marc Loving, Ohio State. The Buckeyes are off to a 2-0 start behind the impressive play of Loving, who is averaging 23.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, while shooting 58 percent, including 75 percent from downtown (6-8).
Last week: NR