Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Illinois, Purdue, and Indiana on top of latest power rankings

Over a month into the season, which Big Ten Basketball teams have played the best as league play nears?

Illinois v Iowa
Illinois v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages
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7. Northwestern Wildcats - 8-2 (1-0)

We talk about teams with high/low ceilings and floors and no one in the Big Ten describes that saying more than Northwestern. They easily have the best win of the group ( Purdue), along with the worst loss (Chicago State). A win over Dayton looks pretty good for them right now as well.

Returning guard Boo Buie (18.1 ppg and 5.0 apg) is having an All-Big Ten campaign as expected, including a 31-point performance against Purdue. Replacing Chase Audige in the scoring department has been Brooks Barnhizer (13.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg) and Princeton transfer Ryan Langborg (13.6 ppg).

Like last year, the Wildcats aren't getting much production from its frontcourt. Matthew Nicholson and Luke Hunger are more defenders than scorers, though sophomore Nick Martinelli (7.2 ppg) has given them a boost off the bench. The team has taken a slight dip on the defensive end without Audige but they remain potent on that end, while still relying on Buie for most of the scoring.

Games against Jackson State and Arizona State round out the non-con campaign before getting back to league play. The Chicago State defeat just about cancels out the benefits of the Purdue win so they need to avoid more bad losses going forward, while still finding ways to hold serve at home to be in position for a first-ever back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.