Jon Crispin, BTN men's basketball analyst, November 20, 2017
Thanksgiving week means lots of food and lots of hoops.
There are still so many questions out there but after a week (and a few days) of play, here?s where I think they stack up in my weekly Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal.
Editor's note: This power poll is compiled every week before Monday's slate of games.
1. Michigan State: There is still room for improvement with this team, but the ceiling is still incredibly high. Spartans fans have to be hoping Miles Bridges' ankle sprain will not set him or the team back.
Last week: 1
2. Purdue: The Boilers are right up there with Michigan State at the moment, with the Spartans getting the slight edge. This team can win in a variety of ways. Don?t be surprised if they crack the top 10 in the coming weeks.
Last week: 2
3. Minnesota: Jordan Murphy can physically dominate the game as a true power forward. I like this team more and more every time I see them play. Establishing depth will be a key to its overall success.
Last week: 3
4. Maryland: Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson make this team a legitimate top 25 competitor. The length, physicality and versatility of Michal Cekovsky, Bruno Fernando and Darryl Morsell could turn them into a Big Ten contender.
Last week: 6
5. Northwestern: This is a very good team when the Wildcats are getting balanced contribution from their big four (Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law and Dererk Pardon). We saw against Texas Tech that this is a team that may lose some games to opponents itshould beat if that balance isn?t there. The test is not found in the loss, the real test is how they respond.
Last week: 4
6. Wisconsin: It?s impossible to ignore or question Wisconsin anymore. The system works and there?s certainly a confidence that comes from understanding and buying into where you fit in the system. Don?t be surprised if Ethan Happ leads this team in points, rebounds, assists and steals again this season. His patience and trust in his teammates is remarkable.
Last week: 9
7. Iowa: Hawkeye fans may have to live with some highs and lows this season, but it will be well worth it in the end. As exciting as the sophomore class is, Luke Garza and Jack Nunge take this team to another level. Fran McCaffery has a variety of options with his rotation, which I expect to get secured by the beginning of 2018. Isaiah Moss finding consistency could make this team scary.
Last week: 5
8. Michigan: The Wolverines have not been able to give us much of a true look at how good they can be yet. They have faced so much zone that it?s hard to determine their most productive and cohesive lineups. I still like the pieces well enough and will always bet on John Beilein to think highly of the potential of this team.
Last week: 8
9. Penn State: The Nittany Lions have looked good at times and limited at other times. The effort is always there for Pat Chambers-coached teams, but the offense gets stagnant and relies heavily upon the talent of Tony Carr. The ball has to move better for this team to reach its potential in conference play.
Last week: 7
10. Ohio State: I have been very pleased with the progress Chris Holtmann has made with the Buckeyes. He is focusing on accountability and has trust in the experienced players like Jae?Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop. The energy and activity has been good and each game seems to be another step in the right direction.
Last week: 11
11. Illinois: The Brad Underwood era is off to a good start, as the Illini have shown a willingness to compete. Mark Smith and Kipper Nichols make the future look bright, but the focus still remains to build a culture and an identity that will allow Illinois to attract top talent and win at a high level.
Last week: 12
12. Indiana: It?s been a tough start for Archie Miller and the Hoosiers. I do not look at this as a rebuilding year, as there are still some talented players on the roster. It is more like a renovation year where you are revamping the appearance, perception and internal culture of the program while maintaining the foundation.
Last week: 10
13. Nebraska: With Isaac Copeland and Glynn Watson, there is certainly potential in Lincoln. I just need to see that the team that gave up and did not fight against St. John?s is not the team we?ll see this season. This program has gone through a lot with numerous transfers this past offseason, but it will only be as good as its ability to keep its heads up and continue to compete.
Last week: 13
14. Rutgers: I have a tough time moving this team up before the start of conference play, but I am really liking the makeup and progress of Steve Pikiell?s Scarlet Knights. There?s a belief and an expectation there that will allow them to compete at a higher level. I feel this is the year for them to make a jump.
Last week: 14