WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It’s been an interesting start to the college basketball season in the Big Ten. There’s been some huge wins on the national stage so far since all the fun started on Nov. 5. There have been a handful of ugly losses too, and plenty of fun in between.

We learned that the team we thought was No. 1 in the Big Ten in the preseason — Michigan State — would take some lumps and show some vulnerability. And we’ve seen that Ohio State can take on the big boys and dole out some haymakers. Hence, a change at the top.

We also learned that one thing hasn’t changed. It’s still going to be hard to win on the road in the Big Ten. During the new December window where everyone plays two conference games, the home team won all but the last one — Michigan State at bottom-feeder Northwestern — posting a 13-1 record. So there’s a 12-way tie for second place behind the Spartans, with everyone stuck in the mud at 1-1.

So, to no one’s surprise, there’s been plenty of movement since our preseason Big Ten Power Rankings. Here’s Volume II, with the next one coming after the first week of conference games in January. There’s sure to be some debate here, so please feel freel to weigh in.

Here is Volume II of my Big Ten power rankings:

1. Ohio State

  • Record so far: 11-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 4
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 2, Coaches No. 4, kenpom.com No. 1
  • Best win(s): North Carolina, Kentucky, Villanova, Cincinnati, Penn State
  • Worst loss: Minnesota
  • Next conference game: Jan. 3 vs. Wisconsin
  • The skinny: When you can knock off bluebood programs in impressive fashion and do it week after week, that’s saying something. The Buckeyes have been the best team in the conference by far through November and December, with the only blemish a loss on the road at Minnesota that probably cost them being ranked No. 1 overall.

2. Michigan State

  • Record so far: 9-3 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 1
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 14, Coaches No. 18, kenpom.com No. 5
  • Best win(s): Seton Hall, Georgia, UCLA, Rutgers
  • Worst loss: Virginia Tech. No harm with losses to Kentucky and Duke.
  • Next conference game: Jan. 2 vs. Illinois
  • The skinny: Michigan State was ranked No. 1 in the country to start the season, but got bounced promptly after a season-opening loss to Kentucky. We’ve found out that’s no big deal, though, since we’ve already gone through five No. 1 teams in seven weeks. This is my first controversial choice, keeping them ranked so high, but I’m giving them some credit for being 2-0 in the league and I feel a winning streak coming on. It has something to do with the teams behind them as well, none of whom seem worthy of a No. 2 ranking.

3. Maryland

  • Record so far: 10-2 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • Preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 2
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 13, Coaches No. 8, kenpom.com No. 8
  • Best win(s): Notre Dame, Marquette, Illinois, Temple
  • Worst loss(es): Seton Hall, Penn State
  • Next conference game: Jan. 4 vs. Indiana
  • The skinny: It’s weird that I always seem to feel the same way about Maryland teams the past three or four years. I ranked them very high again this year, but when you watch them, you wonder why they seem so disinterested. I’ve watched both losses, on the road at Penn State and to Seton Hall without its best player, and I’m thinking the Terps should be better than that. Maybe the fire of the Big Ten season will change their attitudes.

4. Indiana

  • Record so far: 11-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 6
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 30, Coaches No. 30, kenpom.com No. 34
  • Best win(s): Florida State, Connecticut, Notre Dame
  • Worst loss: Wisconsin
  • Next conference game: Jan. 4 at Maryland
  • The skinny: OK, let the griping begin. Indiana at No. 4? Call me a homer all you want, but I’ve ranked them ahead of Michigan and Penn State because I respect an 11-1 record. I gave no credit to the Hoosiers' November schedule in November, but I also said we would learn all we’d need to during a tough December slate. All they’ve done is go 4-1, and besides the bad loss at Wisconsin, they’ve shown a lot of great things in wins over Florida State, Connecticut, Nebraska and Notre Dame. This may not last, but they’ve earned this spot for now.

5. Michigan

  • Record so far: 9-3 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 5
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 11, Coaches No. 15, kenpom.com No. 11
  • Best win(s): Gonzaga, North Carolina, Iowa, Iowa State
  • Worst loss(es): Illinois. Passes for losses to No. 1 Louisville, No. 10 Oregon.
  • Next conference game: Jan. 5 at Michigan State
  • The skinny: After the wins over Gonzaga and North Carolina, I had the Wolverines penciled in as high as No. 2 in the rankings, but during these three losses I’ve seen some reasons for concern, and yes, I am aware that it’s come against some tough competititon. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of in-game coach Juwan Howard is, and who steps up as a leader besides point guard Zavier Simpson. Three of their first four conference games in January are on the road, so are there more bumps ahead?

6. Penn State

  • Record so far: 10-2 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 9
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 20, Coaches No. 24, kenpom.com No. 24
  • Best win(s): Maryland, Syracuse, Georgetown, Wake Forest
  • Worst loss: Ole Miss. Pass granted for loss at Ohio State
  • Next conference game: Jan. 4 vs. Iowa
  • The skinny: Last week Penn State entered the AP top-25 poll for the first time since 1996. It helps being 10-2 and having a top-5 win over Maryland, but I’ll be curious to see how the Nittany Lions hold up on the road in the Big Ten. They’re certainly as talented as they’ve ever been, but it’s still Penn State, right? Outside of the Maryland win, nothing really jumps off their schedule at me. Still a lot to prove in my mind.

7. Iowa

  • Record so far: 9-3 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 10
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 25, Coaches No. 40, kenpom.com No. 20
  • Best win(s): Texas Tech, Minnesota, Iowa State, Cincinnati
  • Worst loss(es): San Diego State, DePaul, Michigan. (Semi-passes all the way around since the three are a combined 33-4 right now.)
  • Next conference game: Jan. 4 vs. Penn State
  • The skinny: The Hawkeyes are off to a nice start this season, navigating a brutal nonconference schedule pretty well. There’s no shame in any of those three losses, really. The Texas Tech win was big, but we’ll see if they can keep this up. Losing Jordan Bohannon for the year is going to hurt them at some point.

8. Purdue

  • Record so far: 7-5 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 3
  • Current national ranking: AP No. 38, Coaches No. 28, kenpom.com No. 13
  • Best win(s): Virginia, TCU
  • Worst loss(es): Nebraska, Texas, Marquette
  • Next conference game: Jan. 2, vs. Minnesota
  • The skinny: Purdue has had a tough nonconference schedule too, but they’ve come up on the short end of the stick too often, and three of their five losses are to unranked teams. Purdue has really struggled to shoot the ball in their five losses, shooting 33.9 percent or less in four those five losses. They aren’t deep either, and with Matt Haarms out with a concussion, they’re not the same team. They’ve fallen the furthest in our rankings, but that might be more of an indictment on me for ranking them so high in the first place.
Purdue's Matt Haarms (USA TODAY SPORTS)

Purdue's Matt Haarms (USA TODAY SPORTS)

9. Illinois

  • Record so far: 8-4 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 8
  • Current national ranking: Coaches No. 44, kenpom.com No. 45
  • Best win: Michigan
  • Worst loss(es): Missouri, Miami.
  • Next conference game: Jan. 2, at Michigan State
  • The skinny: Most people ranked Illinois much higher than I did in the preseason, but they’ve proven me out so far. They’ve got plenty of talent, but they also can look pretty ugly at times. And outside of the Michigan win, they haven’t beaten anyone decent. Feasting on cupcakes doesn’t fool me.

10. Rutgers

  • Record so far: 9-3 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 12
  • Current national ranking: Kenpom.com No. 53
  • Best win(s): Wisconsin, Seton Hall, Stephen F. Austin
  • Worst loss(es): St. Bonaventure, Pittsburgh
  • Next conference game: Jan. 3, at Nebraska
  • The skinny: Steve Pickel’s crew has looked very good at times, especially in that huge in-state win over Seton Hall, which is something of a Super Bowl for Rutgers fans. This might be as high as Rutgers gets all year, but know this much: They will be a tough out for everyone at home.

11. Wisconsin

  • Record so far: 6-5 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • Preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 7
  • Current national ranking: Kenpom.com No. 51
  • Best win(s): Indiana, Marquette
  • Worst loss(es): Richmond, New Mexico, Rutgers
  • Next conference game: Jan. 3, at Ohio State
  • The skinny: Seems strange to see the Badgers way down here, but outside of looking great in that game against Indiana, they’ve done nothing to impress me all year. It’s very possible that they might lose their first five Big Ten games in January unless we see more out of this Wisconsin offense.

12. Minnesota

  • Record so far: 6-5 overall, 1-1- in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 11
  • Current national ranking: Kenpom.com No. 45
  • Best win(s): Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Clemson
  • Worst loss(es): Oklahoma, Utah
  • Next conference game: Jan. 2, at Purdue
  • The skinny: Richard Pitino’s squad has taken a few hits in the nonconference portion of the schedule, but that might pay off down the road for his young team. The win over Ohio State was impressive, and further proof that the Gophers, even with an average team, are always going to be tough to beat in Williams Arena.

13. Nebraska

  • Record so far: 5-7 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 14
  • Current national ranking: Kenpom.com No. 139
  • Best win: Purdue
  • Worst loss(es): UC-Riverside, Southern Utah, George Mason, North Dakota
  • The skinny: Outside of a three-day stretch where they took Indiana to overtime on the road and then pounded Purdue at home, this team has been downright terrible all year. Even after you felt like they figured things out in their Indiana/Purdue weekend, they turn around and lose to North Dakota on Saturday, the first time that’s happened since 1933. That’s 83 years, people. Still a major rebuilding job for Fred Hoiberg back home in Lincoln.

14. Northwestern

  • Record so far: 5-6 overall, 0-2 in the Big Ten
  • My preseason Big Ten ranking: No. 13
  • Current national ranking: Kenpom.com No. 100
  • Best win(s): Providence, Boston College
  • Worst loss(es): Merrimack, Radford, Pittsburgh
  • Next conference game: Jan. 5, at Minnesota
  • The skinny: Chris Collins’ club is the only conference team that didn’t win a league game in December, breaking the home win streak at 13 with Wednesday night’s loss to Michigan State. This is going to be a long conference season. If the Wildcats coudn’t even beat Merrimack and Radford at home, how are they going to beat the Big Ten’s big boys?

What do you think about our power rankings? Please feel free to comment below and share this story with your friends.

Follow Tom Brew on Twitter @tombrewsports

Join our Facebook page at @SportsIllustratedPurdue