After beating Kansas in one of the early marquee match ups in the 2015 college basketball season, Tom Izzo saw his Spartans jump from #13 to #3 in the AP rankings. This jump gave the Big Ten two teams in the top 3 as Maryland moved up to #2 with North Carolina's loss to Northern Iowa over the weekend.
The Big Ten did have a team drop from the rankings, however, as the Michigan Wolverines fell out of both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll after their 86-70 loss to Xavier. Today, we take a closer look at the new polls and take a quick look ahead at the ranked team's upcoming opponents.
Maryland Terrapins (3-0)
- AP: #2 (6) USA Today: #2 (3)
The Terrapins moved up to #2 in both the AP and USA Today polls, jumping UNC after their loss to Northern Iowa. It wasn't a perfect week for Mark Turgeons squad either, as they squeaked by Rider 65-58 after trailing for most of the game. The Terps also beat Georgetown 75-71. While it was ugly at times, Maryland remained unbeaten and for a team that's still learning how to win together with a few new pieces in Rasheed Sulaimon and Diamond Stone, finding ways to win is important.
The Terps travel to Cancun this week, where they will play two games. The first on Tuesday against Illinois State. With a win in this game, Maryland will face the winner of TCU and Rhode Island for the Rivera Division Cancun Challenge Championship on Wednesday. Maryland raps up a busy week on Saturday at home against Cleveland State. All of these are very winnable games for the Terrapins, so don't be surprised if they double up their win total to move to 6-0 after this week.
Michigan State Spartans (3-0)
- AP: #3 USA Today: #4
Michigan State saw a huge jump in both polls with their impressive come from behind victory over previously #4 Kansas on Tuesday 79-73. The Spartans also took care of Arkansas Pine Bluff 92-46 on Friday to move Tom Izzo's squad to 3-0. Denzel Valentine has been huge for Michigan State in the first few games, posting huge numbers, including a triple double against Kansas with 29 points, 12 assists, and 12 rebounds. These two wins saw Michigan State jump 10 spots in the AP poll and 9 in the Coaches.
The week ahead will be a long one for the Spartans as they will have 4 games, including 3 on the west coast in the Wooden Legacy Tournament over the weekend. Michigan State should take care of Eastern Michigan at home on Monday, but they will then begin the Wooden tournament against Boston College on Thursday. If they get past the Eagles, the Spartans will face the winner of Boise State and UC Irvine Friday, with a possible championship showdown against Arizona or Providence pending on Sunday. This should be a good early test for Tom Izzo's team in an NCAA Tournament type feel playing 3 games in 4 days against quality competition.
Indiana Hoosiers (3-0)
- AP: #13 USA Today: #14
The Hoosiers pretty much stayed where they were in both polls after convincing victories over Austin Peay and Creighton in the 2nd week of the season. Tom Crean's squad won both games by 20 plus points. James Blackmon has been off to a great start to the season averaging over 18 points per game making exactly 7 field goals in all 3 contests.
This week, Indiana will face a tough challenge to stay unbeaten through the Maui Invitational. First, they will face off Monday night against Wake Forest. They will meet Vanderbilt if they win that game and then Kansas, UNLV, or UCLA depending on the next result. This will be a tough week for Indiana, but it will be a good measuring stick for Tom Crean to see where his team stands, especially playing 3 games in 3 days.
Purdue Boilermakers (5-0)
- AP: #16 USA Today: #15
The Boilermakers are off to a fast start, already tallying 5 wins on the season. Matt Painter's team capped off this past week winning the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament 85-70 over Florida. Purdue also took care of Old Dominion 61-39 on Saturday. Purdue has done it with spread out scoring early on with 5 players averaging double figures while they have dominated the boards paint as they are in the top-10 in defensive rebounds per game.
Purdue will have a quiet upcoming week with just a match up against Lehigh at Mackey Arena on Saturday. Look for the Boilermakers to remain unbeaten and continue to climb in the polls.
Last week we noted that Iowa had a chance to garner more attention in the polls with some quality opponents on the schedule. A win over Marquette on Thursday was a good way to start. The Hawkeyes now have the Advocare Invitational this week where they will face Dayton and then potentially Notre Dame and Wichita State or Xavier. This will really test Fran McCaffery's team and with 3 wins will surely have the Hawkeyes as the 5th Big Ten team in the top 25.