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College basketball rankings: Wisconsin stays atop Big Ten

Despite their first loss, the Badgers remain two games in front of the Big Ten pack according to the T-Rank prediction model. Maryland was not as lucky.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The big question entering this season was: who would rise up to challenge Wisconsin for supremacy in the Big Ten. Almost a month into the season, we're still waiting for an answer. It's not that any of the contenders have fallen flat -- though the Spartans' 5-3 record is as bad as it could be -- just that none of the teams has really stepped up:

Rank Team Record EM+/Game AdjOE AjdDE Proj. Rec.
4 Wisconsin 7-1 37 118.7 86.2 15-3
13 Ohio State 5-1 32 115.3 90.9 13-5
15 Michigan State 5-3 25 111.2 88.5 12-6
19 Iowa 6-2 24 112.0 90.6 11-7
24 Illinois 6-1 28 110.8 91.3 11-7
27 Michigan 6-1 22 117.0 96.7 11-7
31 Maryland 7-1 20 110.1 92.7 10-8
34 Purdue 6-1 22 108.8 92.5 10-8
40 Minnesota 5-2 15 107.2 92.5 8-10
60 Nebraska 5-1 11 103.2 91.3 7-11
67 Indiana 6-1 13 113.1 100.8 7-11
101 Penn State 7-1 5 104.7 98.0 5-13
156 Northwestern 5-2 -3 96.3 95.7 3-15
171 Rutgers 4-3 -4 97.0 98.5 3-15

Every team in the league has already lost at least once. The Badgers' home loss to Duke was somewhat surprising, but nothing to be ashamed of (especially the way Duke shot). Wisconsin is still well above the fray based on its overall performance. The Badgers have four wins against T-Rank top-100 teams (Green Bay, Boise State, Oklahoma, and Butler) -- Baylor is the only other team that can say that and none of their wins are against the top 70.

This week's Big Ten games

Unfortunately, we're unlikely to find out too much more about these teams in the coming week, as college basketball slides into its December swoon. After the rush of the holiday tournaments and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, now we get a slate of mostly "buy games" sprinkled in among finals breaks. Here are the top 10 Big Ten games for the upcoming week:

Date Conf. Matchup Matchup T-Rank Prediction TTQ
12/9 B1G / BE 24 Illinois vs. 10 Villanova Villanova, 72-69 (63%) 83
12/12 B12 / B1G 21 Iowa St. @ 19 Iowa Iowa, 81-76 (67%) 82
12/9 B1G / ACC 67 Indiana vs. 3 Louisville Louisville, 83-67 (92%) 66
12/7 Big East / B1G 69 Creighton @ 60 Nebraska Nebraska, 70-66 (68%) 64
12/6 B1G / Big East 4 Wisconsin @ 99 Marquette Wisconsin, 71-58 (91%) 57
12/6 B1G / CUSA 101 Penn St. @ 216 Marshall Penn St., 72-68 (66%) 54
12/10 A10 / B1G 153 Duquesne @ 101 Penn St. Penn St., 80-72 (77%) 50
12/10 B1G / Horz 4 Wisconsin @ 195 Milwaukee Wisconsin, 74-55 (97%) 46
12/10 MEAC / B1G 129 North Carolina Central @ 31 Maryland Maryland, 68-55 (90%) 44

In the top three games, Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana all get a chance at a big win, though only Iowa is favored. That Iowa game figures to be entertaining, though, with two high-tempo teams chucking the ball around and stuff (Wisconsin bias showing here, obviously). Indiana gets a chance to build off its big home win against Pittsburgh, with a neutral court game against Louisville. But I don't think Hoosiers fans should get their hopes up about this one.

The Wisconsin-Marquette game is usually a highlight of the season, and this certainly could turn out to be a competitive game at the Bradley Center, or whatever they call it nowadays. But Marquette has not impressed this season, and the Badgers figure to be out for blood. I'll be there, up in section 403, wearing red.