As today is the first day of the year's final month, I found it fitting to power rank the 12 B1G squads through the season's first three weeks. Half of the teams in this, the nation's elite conference, are Top 25-worthy despite only tying, 6-6, in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
Prior to the season starting, this was my Big Ten standings prediction throughout the entire offseason:
3. Ohio State
5. Michigan State
11. Penn State
While I still hold true to my initial predictions, with slight changes, these power rankings look very different. This is just based on games thus far and is in no way an indicator of how each team will finish, but rather how they've performed relative to expectations, so take a look:
4. Ohio State
8. Michigan State
12. Penn State
Indiana, Michigan and Illinois all remain unbeaten for the time being. The Hoosiers and Wolverines rank first and third in national polls, so this hot start was expected. Illinois, on the other hand, was a surprise by winning the Maui Invitational.
Ohio State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Nebraska come next, as each team has lost a single game. Both Ohio State and Minnesota fell to second-ranked Duke, while Northwestern lost to Maryland, and Nebraska to Kent State.
Michigan State and Iowa are both two-loss teams and looked mediocre in their respective Big Ten-ACC Challenge games against lower-tier ACC teams on the road. Both teams have a bevy of talent, but need to turn things around as soon as possible.
Wisconsin, Purdue and Penn State have been less than impressive in these first three weeks, as each of them are three-loss squads. Wisconsin's loss of Josh Gasser for the season now seems worse than originally anticipated, while Tim Frazier's season-ending injury may doom the Nittany Lions.
Biggest Surprise Players:
DJ Newbill-Penn State
Biggest Disappointment Players:
Amir Williams-Ohio State
Adreian Payne-Michigan State
Nine teams get back on the hardwood today, while Wisconsin faces off with California on Sunday. Each team has room to improve in the next month before Big Ten Conference play begins in what should be a deep and exciting league.