Published Monday, January 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm / Updated at 10:47 pm
BASKETBALL
Barfknecht's Big Ten Ratings, Jan. 14

World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten men's basketball teams. RPI from RPIratings.com

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1. Wisconsin (16-0, 3-0, 1st)

This week: at Indiana, Michigan. Win your favorite beverage with this one: Wisconsin has beaten Indiana 12 straight times. No foe has ever thumped the Hoosiers 13 times in a row.

2. Michigan State (15-1, 4-0, 9th)

This week: at Northwestern, at Illinois. Two overtime wins last week saved the Spartans' spot in the national Top 10. Two games against part of the league's bottom half this week should allow easier breathing.

3. Iowa (14-3, 3-1, 18th)

This week: Minnesota. In one week's time, Fran McCaffery went from being suspended for a game to claiming his signature win. Iowa's topping of then-No. 3 Ohio State was the first over a Top 5 team in 13 years.

4. Ohio State (15-2, 2-2, 16th)

This week: at Minnesota, at Nebraska. Worries about how battle-tested OSU would be from a soft nonconference schedule have proven true. Getting well at Minnesota won't be easy.

5. Michigan (11-4, 3-0, 49th)

This week: Penn State, at Wisconsin. The Wolverines, without Mitch McGary, need Glenn Robinson III to become the All-American that many projected him to be.

6. Minnesota (13-4, 2-2, 48th)

This week: Ohio State, at Iowa. Other than Wisconsin going undefeated, Minnesota has been the surprise of the league. The Golden Gophers like Richard Pitino's uptempo, high-pressure style.

7. Illinois (13-4, 2-2, 31st)

This week: Purdue, Michigan State. Why did the Illini, after moving into the Top 25 last week, lose two games? They had 39 offensive rebounds, but only 11 second-chance points.

8. Indiana (11-5, 1-2, 71st)

This week: Wisconsin, Northwestern. Forward Noah Vonleh has won the league's freshman of the week honor five times, tied for the third most in Big Ten history.

9. Purdue (11-5, 1-2, 104th)

This week: at Illinois, Penn State. When center A.J. Hammons plays hard, this team is a threat. When the 7-foot sophomore coasts, the Boilermakers are nothing special.

10. Northwestern (8-9, 1-3, 148th)

This week: Michigan State, at Indiana. First-year coach Chris Collins danced in the locker room after the Wildcats got their first Big Ten win. But not many more Ws are expected.

11. Penn State (9-8, 0-4, 119th)

This week: at Michigan, at Purdue. Lot of talk in Happy Valley about this being a young team that loses focus at key times and can't pull out close games. Sounds similar to the story in Nebraska Valley.

12. Nebraska (8-8, 0-4, 85th)

This week: Ohio State. It's unclear if it's good for the Huskers to have eight days between games. Regardless, that time is critical to figure out the path going forward.

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