Lots of different ways to look at it.
One of my favorites…what’s the overall record versus Power 5 + 3 (Big East, American and Atlantic 10) schools?
As of now, it’s 29-35. The ACC as a point of comparison is 36-27. Big East is 33-19. Big 12 is 19-14. Pac 12 is 17-13. In fairness, the SEC is 18-35, so there is somebody worse out there.
Real Time RPI has the Big Ten 6th, behind all the other Power 5s and the Big East. Somehow the SEC has the toughest schedule in the country, so they slot in 3rd in this system, overcoming the lack of a true national contender (at least at this point, you can’t put UK in that category, I don’t think) and the terrible record against other “big” schools. Pac 12 is #1 here. Sagarin has the Big Ten 5th, behind Big 12, ACC,Pac 12 and Big East (in that order).
We’re almost done with non conference games, so the strength of leagues is largely baked in at this point…most of the movement tends to come now, before league play settles in.
I think, based on the above, it’s no better than an average year for the conference. An average year tends to mean half the league teams get a bid, so I’d say 6 or 7 is what we may well be looking at, though it also depends greatly on who finishes where in the league, of course. We’ve now seen enough of the season to fairly conclude that, at least for the moment, MSU/Maryland/Purdue seem to be the cream of the crop. After that, it’s a free for all. Northwestern has the best record but they’ve also lost to the only credible opponent they’ve played. Everyone else in the mix (Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, hell even OSU after today I guess) has at least one win which looks good but also plenty of negatives on their resumes. So, suffice it to say… a LOT left to unfold before we can have any real idea as to what teams might have a shot to be Tournament teams in this league. Normally by this time, there’s more clarity.