With just over two weeks until the season tips off most preseason rankings and predictions have surfaced. Now we officially have the 2018 KenPom preseason rankings.
While some people have differing opinions pertaining to analytics when it comes to sports, the reality is KenPom’s model has proven to be reliable and incredibly accurate over time. There will always be some outliers, especially early on in the season, but they provide an easy to use tool to rank teams and predict outcomes without simple basing opinions on records and the final scores of games.
Anyway, here’s the preseason rankings for all 14 teams from the Big Ten:
- Michigan State (10th)
- Purdue (17th)
- Northwestern (18th)
- Wisconsin (31st)
- Michigan (32nd)
- Minnesota (36th)
- Penn State (40th)
- Maryland (41st)
- Iowa (54th)
- Indiana (65th)
- Ohio State (78th)
- Nebraska (98th)
- Illinois (104th)
- Rutgers (125th)
Michigan State first in the Big Ten was a given. Purdue and Northwestern up next wasn’t a surprise, though the KenPom rankings are a bit less friendly to Minnesota, who actually landed behind both Wisconsin and Michigan. I’m sure Penn State above Maryland is going to draw some comments from Terps fans, though everything else seems relatively in line with most other predictions/projections/rankings from pretty much everywhere else.
At the bottom of this years KenPom’s rankings is once again Rutgers, though the Illini are behind Nebraska. While the Illini will likely end up finishing above Nebraska this year, they did just lose a secret scrimmage to Indiana State (even if that probably shouldn’t be read into that deeply).
Indiana State edged Illinois in scrimmage over weekend. Jordan Barnes had 26 and 10 assists for Sycamores, LeRon Black 18 & 7 for Illini.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) October 23, 2017
Speaking of Indiana State, the Sycamores will face off against Purdue this weekend in a charity exhibition game at Mackey Arena. Purdue, like a number of other schools across the nation, received a waiver to allow the game without counting towards their two exhibition game limit. Proceeds from the outing will go toward hurricane relief and should make for a fun day in West Lafayette as the football team will face off against Nebraska later that night.
A number of other schools have also added charity exhibition games to their schedule, including Michigan State and Wisconsin. The Spartans will host Georgia for a charity exhibition game in Grand Rapids on Sunday to raise money for hurricane relief efforts for people in Georgia and the Bahamas. Wisconsin will host Northern Iowa on the 1st in a free game, asking for donations to Team Rubicon.