Well, I guess the transitive property makes Purdue better than Ohio State. And that can only mean one thing: the B1G conference season is in full swing. #2 Michigan won in convincing fashion again today, destroying the Hawkeyes at home. I'd be hard-pressed to even find a negative remark about this squad so far. They come out of the gates fast, and never stop. Until I see otherwise, the Wolverines are the best team in the Big Ten. Hard to judge second-best Indiana, seeing as they haven't played a game since last Monday. Ohio State showed that they are definitely beatable on the road, even when Deshaun Thomas scores 20+ points. Michigan State moves up just a tad, but I can't give them a whole lot of credit for beating mediocre PurDon't at home. Speaking of the Boilermakers, when the NCAA tournament comes around, that Purdue game won't be a key loss for the Illini after all, but their Ohio State win will definitely be a big one. And I'll take a win over a top ten team and a loss to a mediocre team on the road any day of the week. Imagine if we'd won convincingly at Purdue, and then also met expectations by losing to OSU on Saturday. Either way we'd be 1-1 in the conference standings, but which would you rather have: a quality win over the 8th best team in the country, or an expected win over a struggling-at-best team? Illinois' "stock" for sure rose this week, despite the road loss. I'm by no means saying the Boilermakers are even a decent team, but it makes the loss to them seem like more of a fluke rather than a real problem. I'm still not ready to call Minnesota a Tier 2 team, especially after only scoring 17 points in the first half Sunday night against Northwestern at home. Wait until they go on the road, and face teams like Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois (this Wednesday).
Meanwhile, lowly Penn State doesn't play until tomorrow, where they'll be welcoming in the Hoosiers. And unless Tim Frazier is some kind of mythical healer, the Nittany Lions will get blown out of the water from start-to-finish by Indy. Then there's "that team up north." Northwestern is slowly running out of excuses, from "but our key players are hurt!" to "our depth is poor!" to "the sun is in our eyes!" blah, blah, blah. Only quality wins for the Wildcats so far are Baylor and Illinois-Chicago. Not looking like "Chicago's Big Ten team" will be reaching the NCAA Tournament this year either. Below is my weekly breakdown of the Big Ten teams by tier, but this time I also ordered them 1-12 (like power rankings).
Elite: (1) Michigan
Extremely Good But Not Flawless: (2) Indiana
Unproven Whether They Can Win Consistently: (3) Illinois, (4) Minnesota, (5) Ohio State, (6) Michigan State, (7) Wisconsin
Bubble Teams At Best: (8) Iowa, (9) Purdue
Yeah, They Suck: (10) Northwestern, (11) Nebraska, (12) Purdue