After the first week or so of conference play, the Big Ten race has begun to start to come into place. Over the next few weeks, we will have an even clearer view of how things are going to go down. Let's take a look at how the Big Ten Powerhouse staff voted in this week's Big Ten power rankings:
Week 10 Power Rankings
#1 - Ohio State (Average - 1.7)
The Buckeyes reign supreme in this week's power rankings. Ohio State was voted #1 by 4 voters and was either #1 or #2 on every ballot except one ballot that placed them #3. Nothing about this is too surprising considering that Ohio State is 15-0 on the season and the highest ranked Big Ten team in the polls. The Buckeyes are also rated #1 on KenPom and have already recorded wins over Marquette, Notre Dame, and Purdue. They get a major challenge on Tuesday night on the road against MSU.
#2 - Wisconsin (Average - 2.1)
The Badgers barely took over second place in the rankings. The Badgers are undefeated on the season and have already recorded wins over Iowa, Marquette, Virginia, and West Virginia. In fact, at this point, there are few teams that can boost the same resume as Wisconsin and certainly none in the Big Ten. Wisconsin gets a challenging next few games with Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota.
#3 - Michigan State (Average - 2.2)
The Spartans just barely fell to #3 this week. The big thing holding them down from OSU and Wisconsin right now is that the Spartans have a lone loss to North Carolina at home in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. However, MSU has what could be the most impressive win of any of the top 3 in Big Ten season with a dominant road win over Indiana. MSU also boosts what is perhaps the single best non-conference win of any team in the Big Ten with the win over Kentucky and also beat Big 12 teams Oklahoma and Texas. The Spartans get OSU at home on Tuesday.
#4 - Iowa (Average - 4.2)
The Hawkeyes are basically on an island right now. Not quite as high as the conference's top three teams, but still a decent way above the next few teams. In fact, every voter except one voted Iowa as the #4 team in the conference. Iowa has yet to lose a bad game this season, only falling to Villanova, Iowa State, and Wisconsin with none of the games at home. The Hawkeyes get Northwestern and OSU next.
#5 - Illinois (Average - 5.2)
The Illini narrowly slide into 5th place with their recent wins over Indiana and Penn State. Illinois was a bit underwhelming to start the year, but have improved quite a bit and are winning the games that count with the above victories and a recent win over Missouri. They get Wisconsin on the road next in what should be the most challenging game of the season so far for Illinois.
#6 - Michigan (Average - 5.6)
The Wolverines are narrowly at #6 after winning their two opening Big Ten games and carrying a 4 game win streak. Michigan has 4 losses on the year, but have played one of the most challenging slates in the nation with games against teams including Arizona, Duke, and Iowa State in the non-conference season. Michigan gets Nebraska and Penn State next.
#7 - Minnesota (Average - 7.3)
Minnesota lost to Michigan in its Big Ten opener, but was able to record an important win over Purdue at home. The Gophers have still not established themselves as a great team, but are doing just enough right now to hang in the mix and be slotted at #7. The Gophers get Penn State and MSU next.
#8 - Indiana (Average - 7.7)
The Hoosiers still don't have a marquee win after falling to Illinois and MSU to open Big Ten play at 0-2. Indiana absolutely has to get a big win soon if they want to reach their season goals. The Hoosiers are a good team, but it's still unclear of whether they are good enough to do anything significant this year. Indiana gets Penn State and Wisconsin next.
#9 - Purdue (Average - 9)
The Boilermakers have started Big Ten play 0-2 and fell to #9 in the rankings this week. Purdue is loaded with talent, but haven't yet been able to get it to work together consistently. They get Nebraska and Illinois in their next two games and desperately need a win or two.
#10 - Penn State (Average - 10.3)
The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten's bottom tier this week in the rankings after playing pretty well against MSU and Illinois despite losing the games. They get Minnesota and Indiana next.
#11 - Nebraska (Average - 10.7)
Nebraska is much improved from last season, but still find themselves relegated to #11 in the power rankings. Getting Michigan at home might be the game where they can do something special.
#12 - Northwestern (Average - 12)
The Wildcats are really bad. Every voter in this week's poll voted them dead last in the conference. At this point, it's hard to see Northwestern even reaching 3 conference wins. They get Iowa and Illinois next.
At the top, perhaps the most interesting thing is to see the divide (however slight) between Ohio State and Wisconsin. If anything, the Badgers have actually done more this season than the Buckeyes and are certainly coming off a much bigger win over Iowa than OSU probably even has this season. Along with this, to see MSU so close to Wisconsin was kind of surprising. This will definitely change after Tuesday's game between OSU and MSU, but Wisconsin definitely seems underrated by our voters.
In the middle, it's interesting to see Illinois continue to receive so little love. Odds are Iowa is going to finish ahead of them by the end of the year, but wins over Indiana and Penn State are certainly not gimmes and one could make an argument they have a lot more momentum than Iowa has right now. To see that strong of a divide between those two teams was surprising. Once Michigan gets a few more wins under its belt, I think they will start to climb as well. I think people are still hesitant about the Wolverines due to the McGary injury.
In the lower portion, it was interesting to see Minnesota pass Indiana. Not necessarily because I thought it was the wrong thing to do, but just for the fact that it happened. It was hard to foresee that happening before the year began, but Indiana might even be a little too high in these rankings at #8. Indiana needs to record a big win and soon.
At the bottom, nothing too surprising. Northwestern should be dead last and at this point, Penn State probably looks a tad better than Nebraska. Basically, whoever grabs a conference win first is probably going to end up being higher over the next few weeks.