While the Big Ten continues to be home to the top ranked team in the nation for a 3rd straight week, the conference continues to have just 2 other teams ranked besides the Spartans. While this does include two other top-15 schools in #4 Maryland and #14 Purdue, the Big Ten is still down from the 6 teams it had ranked in the preseason AP Poll.
Today, we take a look at how the three ranked Big Ten teams fared last week and a peak at what team may appear in the top-25 next.
Michigan State Spartans (12-0)
- AP: #1 (64) USA Today: #1 (29)
Michigan State is almost the unanimous #1 team in both polls, missing out on one first place vote in the AP Poll and 2 in the Coaches Poll. The Spartans won their only game last week against Northeastern in Boston. The Huskies hung with Michigan State for the first half, before a 12-0 run sealed it for Tom Izzo's squad at the beginning of the 2nd half.
The Spartans certainly have a challenge ahead of them to try to stay unbeaten without their star Denzel Valentine for the next couple weeks to a month. Their first test will be against Oakland at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday. After that, the Spartans will start conference play with Iowa next week.
Maryland Terrapins (10-1)
- AP: #4 (1) USA Today: #4
Maryland moved up to #4 in both polls after defeating Princeton 82-61 in their only game last week. Mark Turgeon's team blew by the Tigers in the 2nd half after a highly contested first half. The Terrapin's only loss is still at North Carolina.
The Terrapins will round out their non-conference schedule against Marshall on Sunday before opening up Big Ten play at home against Penn State.
Purdue Boilermakers (11-1)
- AP: #14 USA Today: #13
Purdue suffered their first loss on Saturday in a tough battle with Butler 74-68. This loss moved the Boilermakers down to #14 in the AP and #13 in the USA Today poll. The good news for Purdue is that freshman Caleb Swanigan had a dominating performance against the Bulldogs shooting 10-14 for 25 points and adding 11 rebounds.
The Boilermakers finish off their non-conference schedule with a tough game against a previously ranked Vanderbilt team on Tuesday. Matt Painter's squad will then start conference play in Madison against the Badgers.
With no Big Ten team playing a top-25 opponent there aren't any chances for a signature win for a team outside the rankings. Northwestern continues to be the team who could move in to the top-25 with their only loss coming at the hands of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The only problem is the Wildcats are struggling to make up any ground in the polls with no quality wins on their resume. The next 3 games are winnable for the Wildcats before they host Maryland in what would certainly be a signature win if the Wildcats could get it.