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Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings: Week 1

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Ranking the Big Ten institutions based on their basketball power.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Non-conference play has officially ended and it's time for Big Ten season. Four opening matchups--Illinois/Michigan, Northwestern/Rutgers, Iowa/Ohio State, and Maryland/Michigan State--are scheduled for Tuesday, so it's a good time to check in on the other teams in the conference.

Here's the Week 1 TCR Power Rankings:

Group 1

1. Wisconsin Badgers (11-1)

  • AP Top 25: No. 6
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 6
  • KenPom: No. 4

Wisconsin is an easy choice for this week's top position. A highly contested loss to No. 2 Duke is the only blemish on a respectable non-conference slate. Frank Kaminsky, the pride and joy of Benet Academy, has lead the way for Wisconsin as he's averaging 15.8PPG and 7.7RPG on the season.

2. Maryland Terrapins (12-1)

  • AP Top 25: No. 15
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 15
  • KenPom: No. 24

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)

  • AP Top 25: No. 21
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 18
  • KenPom: No. 12

Group 2

4. Indiana Hoosiers (10-3)

  • AP Top 25: NR (11 votes)
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: NR (7 votes)
  • KenPom: No. 45

The Hoosiers can out-score anyone in the country with junior PG Kevin Ferrell and freshman SG James Blackmon Jr. running the offense. Defense on the other hand--that can use some work. The lack of an inside presence has handicapped Indiana at times, but Tom Crean has found a way to work around that. The only issue I have with the Hoosiers is their ball security; it will be a disappointing Big Ten season if they continue to turn the ball over at such a high rate.

5. Illinois Fighting Illini (10-3)

  • USA Today Coaches Poll: NR (4 votes)
  • KenPom: No. 44

When Illinois is on they can compete with anyone. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened much as of late. The inconsistent play of Ahmad Starks and Aaron Cosby along with the lack of a legitimate inside threat has raised some serious concerns in Champaign. I do, however, still believe the Illini are a top 4-6 team in the Big Ten--mostly because they've been less bad than everyone else.

6. Iowa Hawkeyes (9-4)

  • KenPom: No. 42

Iowa's win @ No. 12 North Carolina may be the best non-conference win of any team in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes lost a lot from their 2013-14 squad, but they've done a good job of replacing the production thus far; senior Aaron White is a big part of that with his 15.8PPG and 7.2RPG.

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-2)

  • AP Top 25: NR (2 votes)
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: NR (18 votes)
  • KenPom: No. 27

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (12-1)

  • AP Top 25: NR (4 votes)
  • USA Today Coaches Poll: NR (3 votes)
  • KenPom: No. 83

9. Michigan State Spartans (9-4)

  • USA Today Coaches Poll: NR (13 votes)
  • KenPom: No. 22

I'm not sold on Michigan State this year. The Spartans' best non-conference win was over a mediocre Marquette team and they didn't exactly impress in any of their other victories either. Tom Izzo's recruiting has struggled a bit in recent years and it's finally starting to show with this team.

10. Michigan Wolverines (7-5)

  • KenPom: No. 79

11. Purdue Boilermakers (8-5)

  • KenPom: No. 84

Purdue got off to a nice 8-2 start, but they have since dropped three straight contests including a home loss to Gardner Webb. Despite this, the Boilermakers will be a tough matchup for nearly every team in the Big Ten thanks to junior Center A.J. Hammons and freshman Center Isaac Haas.

12. Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4)

  • KenPom: No. 86

Tim Miles' squad began the season ranked No. 21 in both major polls. Since then, the Cornhuskers have dropped games to Rhode Island, Creighton, Incarnate Word, and Hawaii; the team's best wins are @ Florida State and Cincinnati (2 OT).

Group 3

13. Northwestern Wildcats (9-4)

  • KenPom: No. 135

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-5)

  • KenPom: No. 151

I haven't watched Rutgers play this year. You shouldn't watch Rutgers play this year.

*****

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