By Chris Emma-
(CBS) The additions of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten have been much maligned and often ridiculed. Heck, I’m guilty of it, too. But the Terrapins are holding up their end of the bargain by bringing the conference respectable basketball.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
Maryland’s first year in the Big Ten has seen its start red-hot, going 17-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play. Coach Mark Turgeon has a roster stockpiled with East Coast talent and will only continue this sustained success. Maybe this season brings the Terrapins tournament success too, after it’s surely looking like this program can flourish in its new league.
Are the Terrapins best in the Big Ten? Let’s dive into this week’s power rankings:
1.) Wisconsin (16-2, 3-1) — A stunning loss last week to Rutgers reminded the Badgers how important Frank Kaminsky is to their Final Four team. With his return, Bo Ryan’s club rebounded with an impressive win over Nebraska. This is still the Big Ten’s best team.
2.) Maryland (17-2, 5-1) — Michigan State came to College Park and got its lunch handed to it by the Terrapins. Take that as a statement that Maryland is a legit threat to win the Big Ten in its first season.
3.) Iowa (13-5, 4-1) — A monster week from Aaron White helped the Hawkeyes to two wins, including the season sweep of Ohio State for the first time in more than a decade. This was nothing short of impressive.
4.) Michigan State (12-6, 3-2) — If Tom Izzo was flustered after a win over Northwestern last week, he’ll be really disappointed with the blowout loss to Maryland. The Spartans will be fine, though. They always seem to find a way.
5.) Indiana (14-4, 4-1) — It’s crazy to think that the Hoosiers — the Big Ten’s most storied power — are a sleeper, but Tom Crean has his team playing great basketball.
6.) Ohio State (14-5, 3-3) — The Buckeyes are a different team without Aaron Craft and have a lot of work to do in order to get back to their level of the past four years.READ MORE: Illinois State Departments, Driver Service Facilities Reopen Monday Weeks After COVID Surge
7.) Purdue (11-7, 3-2) — With their season on the brink in State College, the Boilermakers pulled out a comeback over Penn State, led by the stellar play of Kendall Stephens. There could be some life left in Purdue.
8.) Michigan (11-7, 4-2) — Just as the Wolverines were looking like a legitimate threat, Caris LeVert is lost for the season on a fluke injury. Things are about to get ugly in Ann Arbor.
9.) Nebraska (10-7, 2-3) — The good news in Lincoln is that Terran Petteway has really improved his play. The bad news is the wins aren’t coming consistently, at least yet.
10.) Illinois (12-7, 2-3) — The Fighting Illini had a win in line over Indiana, playing in front of a record crowd at State Farm Center, and let it slip away. It was another brutal blow for a season that hasn’t gone quite right.
11.) Minnesota (12-7, 1-5) — This is undoubtedly the best 12-7, 1-5 team in the country. The Golden Gophers have tournament potential that just hasn’t shown much early in Big Ten play.
12. ) Northwestern (10-8, 1-4) — Chris Collins and his Wildcats had their hearts ripped out three times in the span of seven days. They could easily be 4-1 in Big Ten play.
13.) Rutgers (10-9, 2-4) — It’s hard to say a team that’s 10-9 is a surprise, but most (myself included) pegged the Scarlet Knights to be a disaster.
14.) Penn State (12-6, 0-5) — There was a reason the Nittany Lions were 12-1 in nonconference play. They played cupcakes. We’re seeing what they’re made of against real opponents.MORE NEWS: Police Issue Multiple Alerts Involving Robberies, Burglaries, Carjackings Across The City
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.