The B1G is completely unpredictable this year. In fact, the only thing that seems like a certainty is that the home team will win. Unless, of course, you are hosting the Wisconsin Badgers (10-6 overall, 3-3 B1G) who already have two road wins over ranked teams in conference play.
The Badgers lost to the new No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini (12-5 overall, 4-2 B1G) by one point at the Kohl Center for something like the first time this century but then bounced back and beat the former No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions (12-4 overall, 2-3 B1G) in Happy Valley for another big road win.
Even though the Badgers are still just receiving votes in both polls (No. 34 in AP with 19 votes and No. 36 in the Coaches with 17 votes), the nice thing about the B1G is that they’ll have myriad chances to notch quality wins and move up in the rankings. As opposed to, say, a different conference.
The difference between the Big Ten and the SEC this season?— Jeff (BPredict) (@BPredict) January 12, 2020
Wisconsin is in a stretch where 7 of 8 games are against KenPom Tier A opponents. Florida is going to play 7 games over 4 weeks of which zero are against KenPom Tier A opponents. pic.twitter.com/PZ4jwEkAP9
The conference doesn’t have any highly ranked teams anymore because Ohio State can’t win games now and Michigan State got creamed by Purdue but here are the current rankings: the Michigan State Spartans are No. 15 in the AP Poll and No. 14 in the Coaches Poll, the Maryland Terrapins are No. 17 in both polls, the Michigan Wolverines are No. 19/No. 20, the Ohio State Buckeyes are No. 21/No. 19, the Illinois Fighting Illini are No. 24 in the AP and the Iowa Hawkeyes are No. 24 in the Coaches.
Iowa, Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue and Rutgers are all receiving votes in the AP and Indiana, Illinois, Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Purdue are receiving votes from the Coaches. That is 11 of the 14 teams in the conference are being considered as one of the 25 best in the nation.
That’s pretty insane.
The top-five in both polls is still the same, with the Kansas Jayhawks falling out and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Baylor Bears, Duke Blue Devils, Auburn Tigers and Butler Bulldogs making up the best teams in the land.
As far as other, more analytically inclined rankings go (through 1/13/20):
The Badgers host the No. 17 Maryland Terrapins on Tuesday night and travel to East Lansing to do battle with the No. 15 Spartans on Friday evening. We will have a bunch of coverage on both games all week.