Jon Crispin, BTN men's basketball analyst, January 14, 2019
Outside of undefeated Michigan and Michigan State, no team's playing better than Maryland.
The Terrapins, behind Big Ten player of the week Bruno Fernando, are on a roll, winners of five in a row. As a result, Maryland moves up to No. 3 in my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal.
See the full list below.
1. Michigan (17-0, 6-0). The Wolverine machine continues to roll, continues to impress, and (scarily) continues to improve.
Last week: 1
2. Michigan State (15-2, 6-0). Without Joshua Langford, the Spartans are relying on their discipline and execution. The recipe for a run is there.
Last week: 2
3. Maryland (14-3, 5-1). As much as my gut tells me the young Terps will hit a wall at some point, my eyes tell me otherwise. Bruno Fernando is the Moe Wagner of 2018-19.
Last week: 6
4. Indiana (12-4, 3-2). Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan have been the offense, but the Hoosiers will have to find balance and continuity to be a consistent threat to the top of the B1G.
Last week: 4
5. Minnesota (13-3, 3-2). Getting Eric Curry back adds experience and depth, and playing Amir Coffey at the point could be the answer to an inconsistent offense.
Last week: 7
6. Iowa (14-3, 3-3). The Hawkeyes are really good when they defend. But, for Iowa, it is not a matter of "when," it's a matter of "if" they defend. Luka Garza and Tyler Cook give them a formidable and versatile frontcourt.
Last week: 10
7. Wisconsin (11-5, 3-2). The Wisconsin-Purdue game was fantastic basketball. When Brad Davison is good, it alleviates pressure on Ethan Happ and D'Mitrik Trice. That was a game they needed to win, though.
Last week: 5
8. Nebraska (12-4, 2-3). The dreaded cliche of the challenge of winning on the road may be what defines the season for what is a dynamic and dangerous NCAA tournament team.
Last week: 9
9. Purdue (10-6, 3-2). Carsen Edwards is one of the best in the country, but Trevion Williams may be the key to sustainable offense. If the Boilers continue to play through the big in the post and around the perimeter, it will free up Edwards more often.
Last week: 8
10. Ohio State (12-4, 2-3). Losing three straight can derail a season in the B1G. Chris Holtmann's Buckeyes have to accept that they do not have much room for error, and must rely on defensive and offensive execution to win close games.
Last week: 3
11. Northwestern (10-7, 1-5). Without Vic Law at Michigan, it is unfair to define the Wildcats by that loss. Without a true point guard, there is vulnerability, but with Ryan Taylor and A.J. Turner getting comfortable and Law getting healthy, Northwestern will compete at every level.
Last week: 11
12. Penn State (7-10, 0-6). The potential of the personnel is there, but potential isn't enough to win in the B1G. The execution has to match potential in order to compete.
Last week: 12
13. Rutgers (8-7, 1-4). The Scarlet Knights have shown that they can win, so they move up. Steve Pikiell is building culture, he's recruiting the right kids and developing talent, and no one looks at a trip to Piscataway as an easy contest.
Last week: 14
14. Illinois (4-12, 0-5). The Illini are five minutes or so (per game) away from having a few more wins. It gets even harder to maintain discipline and focus when losses pile up–particularly the close ones.
Last week: 13