Staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten men's basketball teams. National ranking from realtimerpi.com.
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1. Indiana (15-1, 3-0, 10th): This week: Wisconsin, at Northwestern. Sophomore center Cody Zeller has dropped on the national player of the year list, but is still No. 4 in the Big Ten in scoring (16.6), No. 2 in rebounding (7.8) and No. 2 in shooting (63.4 percent).
2. Minnesota (15-2, 3-1, 4th): This week: Michigan. The Gophers pushed Indiana to the wall at Assembly Hall. They are as athletic as anyone in the league, and seem to be playing with an edge and confidence that were missing last year.
3. Michigan (16-1, 3-1, 7th): This week: at Minnesota. Two straight games of far-below-average outside shooting has John Beilein concerned. This perimeter-oriented team can't afford a long-term cold spell.
4. Ohio State (13-3, 3-1, 27th): This week: at Michigan State. Talk about having somebody's number. Thad Matta is 17-3 against Michigan in his nine seasons as head coach of the Buckeyes.
5. Wisconsin (12-4, 3-0, 63rd): This week: at Indiana, at Iowa. Whatever rebounding drills the Badgers used last week worked. Against Illinois, they had 11 first-half offensive rebounds, 18 for the game and an overall edge of 43 to 24.
6. Michigan State (14-3, 3-1, 20th): This week: at Penn State, Ohio State. The Spartans get a big boost from knowing sophomore wing Branden Dawson didn't suffer a serious knee injury, as it first appeared, against Nebraska.
7. Illinois (14-4, 1-3, 18th): This week: Northwestern. Which is the real Illini team? The one that raced to a 13-1 record in nonconference play, or the one that has seen its 3-point-based offensive attack slowed in a 1-3 league start?
8. Iowa (12-5, 1-3, 75th): This week: Wisconsin. After losses to No. 5 Indiana, No. 2 Michigan and No. 22 Michigan State, the Hawkeyes righted things with a strong road victory at Northwestern.
9. Purdue (8-8, 2-2, 146th): This week: at Nebraska, West Virginia. The Boilermakers have the lowest-scoring leading scorer of any team in the Big Ten. Junior guard Terone Johnson is 17th in scoring at 13.1 points.
10. Nebraska (9-8, 0-4, 61st): This week: Purdue, at Penn State. The Huskers haven't won a Big Ten game yet, but have opened some eyes and earned respect with strong challenges of Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State.
11. Northwestern (10-7, 1-3, 106th): This week: at Illinois, Indiana. The Wildcats' ugly start has reignited speculation on the job security of Bill Carmody. His 14th season wasn't supposed to involve a 20-point home blowout to Iowa.
12. Penn State (8-8, 0-4, 167th): This week: Michigan State, Nebraska. A 70-54 home loss to Northwestern, in which the Nittany Lions' trailed by as many as 27 points, left coach Patrick Chambers wondering about his team's toughness.