Non-conference play has come to an end and its on to Big Ten play. To say the start of the season was disappointing for the conference would be a bit of an understatement. Some alleged powerhouse programs underachieved in a big way, while some reloading programs got a harsh lesson or two.
We’ll see what happens in conference, but after many teams took a break for finals the past week, the weekend cemented some opinions and changed others (for both better and worse). So, who do our panelists see as the best and worst of Big Ten basketball?
Let’s remind you of the panelists before we give you the poll.
Andy Coppens – talking10.com (@AndyOnFootball)
Dave White – On The Banks (@OTB_SBNation)
Joe Dexter – BuckeyeBattleCry (@joedexter)
Michael Henry – BoiledSports (@BoiledSports & @therailroadtie)
Andy York – The Daily Gopher (@yorka1982)
Phillip Rossman-Reich – Lake The Posts (@RiseNU & @LakeThePosts)
Ken Kohl – BuckeyeBattleCry (@The_BBC)
Andrew Emmer – Testudo Times (@TestudoTimes)
Hondo Carpenter – Spartan Nation (@HondoCarpenter)
David Tucker – Testudo Times (@TestudoDave)
On to the poll…
– Newcomer Maryland is quickly rising up the charts in the minds of Big Ten voters, and outside of Wisconsin they have easily been the most impressive team through non-conference play. It’s win over then No. 13 Iowa State could easily be the best win by a Big Ten team in the non-conference season, as they defeated the Cyclones on a neutral court, winning 72-63. Now the question is can they continue to get the job done as conference play opens for them for the first time?
– One interesting team to watch come conference play will be Penn State. The Nittany Lions own a 12-1 record, tied for the best in the conference, but clearly the voters aren’t buying what PSU is selling. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t play a single ranked opponent in non-conference play and your strength of schedule is 319th of 351 according to KenPom.com. The interesting part is we’ll all find out quickly how good Penn State really is as they open Big Ten play against Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana in three of the first four games.