We aren't quite to the halfway point of the Big Ten season, but there is clearly a separation forming as the top six in the conference are all above .500 in B1G play and have proven to be ahead of the rest on the court. Now, that's not to say the bottom half of the conference can't play basketball as they clearly own some big wins - but they also have some head scratching losses as well.
So, it got us thinking, since the top half of the conference is separated by just 2 games who really are contenders and who will be pretenders when all is said and done. We took into consideration trends, players, offense, defense, and of course the schedule played and yet to be played in looking at all of these teams.
Who ended up being contenders and who do we see as pretenders when all is said and done? Let's explore!
Michigan (19-1, 6-1 B1G)
Why they are Contenders: The Wolverines have been running on all cylinders for the most part and could be the most explosive offensive team in the country right now. They've scored 80 or more points in 3 conference games already - a feat that shouldn't be overlooked at all for a conference that is always known for it's defensive abilities. Add in a team that also happens to play some very good defense (59.2 opponents ppg) and you have the makings of a really, really good basketball team - one that is ranked No. 1 in the nation and could very well be in contention for a run to the Final Four. They've got a mix of youth and talent that has combined for a great amount of chemistry and names like Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glenn Robinson III, and Nik Stauskas have to scare anyone they go up against.no comments