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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6. Michigan State Spartans - 6-5 (0-2)

Had I done the Big Ten Basketball power rankings a week ago, Michigan State would've been in the same tier as Maryland and Iowa. However, the preseason top-5 national team as finally starting to look like contenders, coming off blowout wins over Baylor and Oakland to get over .500.

Still, this is a team that started off the season on a bad note, losing at home to James Madison. Losses to Duke and Arizona weren't bad but falling to Wisconsin at home and then Nebraska on the road dug them a very early hole to this point. A key reason has been the lackluster play of the freshmen class, with five-star freshman big man Xavier Booker not even in the main rotation currently.

The Spartans still have plenty of talent to turn things around, as well as a Hall of Fame head coach on the sidelines. Tyson Walker is leading the way with around 20 ppg, while guys like AJ Hoggard, Malik Hall, and Jaden Akins are around 10 ppg, with plenty of room to improve. If the shooting, which was a strength of Michigan State a year ago, takes a jump back up, this team should still have a shot at competing for a top spot in the conference.

Home games versus Stony Brook and Indiana State round out the non-con campaign and the battle with the Sycamores could be closer than expected. This is a team that can't afford more bad losses but they do have an easy league slate to start the new year, with games against Northwestern and Penn State up first.