1.Indiana 10-2 – The Hoosiers, led by the talented trio of Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon and OG Anunoby, had the best nonconference victory by the Big Ten against Kansas on Nov. 11.
2.Wisconsin 11-2 – Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig have Final Four experience, but will their senior leadership be enough to carry the Badgers to their first regular season Big Ten title since 2015?
3.Purdue 11-2 – Caleb Swanigan (18.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game) is the frontrunner for Big Ten player of the year honors with two games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds this year, including a 32-point, 20-rebound performance Dec. 21.
4.Michigan 10-3 – Michigan coach John Beilein might not have his most talented team, but he’ll rely on a strong perimeter tandem with Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin leading the way.
5.Maryland 12-1 – The Terrapins will go as far as Melo Trimble can take them, and he’s having a career year so far offensively with 17.9 points per game.
6.Illinois 10-3 – Malcolm Hill had a 40-point performance this year, but Tracy Abrams and Jalen-Coleman Lands are two of the top three-point shooters in the league.
7.Minnesota 12-1 – The Gophers have eased pressure on Richard Pitino after their best start since 2012-13. Nate Mason and Jordan Murphy look to improve on strong Big Ten seasons last year and Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey are two top newcomers.
8.Ohio State 10-3 – The Buckeyes are as athletic as anyone in the conference on the wing, but they suffered an embarrassing loss at home to Florida Atlantic.
9.Northwestern 11-2 – Wildcats coach Chris Collins might have a team that could make a run at the program’s first NCAA tournament, because of the emergence of Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law.
10.Michigan State 8-5 – The Spartans’ worst start under Tom Izzo puts the streak of 19 straight NCAA tournament appearances in jeopardy, especially with freshman Miles Bridges sidelined with injury.
11.Iowa 8-5 – The Big Ten’s top scorer Peter Jok averages 22.6 points per game, but the Hawkeyes haven’t been the same since freshman big man Tyler Cook has been out with a broken finger.
12.Penn State 8-5 – The Nittany Lions have already gone through many highs and lows relying heavily on freshmen Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins.
13.Rutgers 11-2 – First-year coach Steve Pikiell has the Scarlett Knights off to their best start in 31 years, but they haven’t been tested much in nonconference play.
14.Nebraska 6-6 – The Cornhuskers need to turn things around in conference play to keep coach Tim Miles from hearing stronger hot seat talk at the end of the season.