The college basketball season is now just a week old, but we have already learned a lot about our beloved Big Ten teams. Here are some of my takeaways from this first week of action.
Wisconsin is not the favorite in the Big Ten
The Badgers have only played three games, and we will know more after their trip to Maui, but they do not look very much like the best team in league. Wisconsin lost to a quality Creighton team on the road. It was a closer game than the final score, but Greg Gard’s team turned the ball over 16 times and didn’t look quite as polished as you’d expect a team that returned every scholarship player from a year ago to look. However, it is not that Wisconsin looked awful, they just didn’t look nearly as good as a few other Big Ten teams did against top competition.
Indiana would seem to be the new favorite after the Hoosiers fought their way to an overtime win against Kansas (who knocked off Duke in their next game). Yogi Ferrell’s former team looked even better without him than they did with him. So far this season, Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby have looked as good as IU fans had hoped and James Blackmon Jr. has looked even better. I’ve said before that I was not aboard the Blackmon hype train, but his offensive stats this season have been more impressive than ever.
The Hoosiers’ in-state rivals Purdue looked highly-competitive against the defending national champions Villanova. Caleb Swanigan and the Boilers fell short, but they showed that they are not a team that will back down from a challenge. As of right now, I’d put them on level with Wiscy, if not a small step above.
Rutgers already look better than they did under Eddie Jordan
Steve Pikiell is 3-0 as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights. We won’t know for sure until Rutgers heads down to face an always tough Miami team, but so far this team looks like they might just win more than one Big Ten game this season.
- I was right that Penn State would drop an early game, I just got the wrong team. The Nittany Lions lost their opener to Albany and beat Grand Canyon later in the week.
- Multiple Big Ten teams should win their early season tournaments, including Michigan, Maryland, and Purdue
- Minnesota is our last hope to tie the Gavitt Games, they should have a good shot against St. Johns, unfortunately, Michigan’s thumping of Marquette does not count.
- Jeremy Hollowell will be the first (former) IU player to come into Mackey Arean this season, as his current team Georgia State plays Purdue right now.
- Illinois has a legit shot to win the NIT Tip-Off, but West Virginia will be a tough first match-up
- Prediction of the week: Wisconsin makes it to the final in Maui, but loses big to North Carolina