With each team five or six games in to their conference schedule, the Big Ten standings are taking shape. Indiana and Iowa are each off to 5-0 starts in the conference and have been rewarded in the polls. Iowa is now in the top 10 in both the AP and Coaches poll after knocking off Michigan State for the second time this season. Meanwhile Indiana has moved in to the top 25 in both polls after their hot start to the conference season.
Today, we take a look at how the five ranked Big Ten teams fared last week and a peak at what team may appear in the top 25 next.
Maryland Terrapins (16-2)
- AP: #7 USA Today: #5
Maryland remained the highest ranked Big Ten team even after suffering their second loss of the season in Ann Arbor 70-67. The Terrapins bounced back well, however, as they punished Ohio State 100-65 in College Park. Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter were on fire against the Buckeyes as they shot a combined 19-23 for 47 points.
The Terrapins will host Northwestern this week before their big showdown at Michigan State. This will be the only matchup between the two schools, and may go a long way toward winning the conference down the road.
Iowa Hawkeyes (14-3)
-AP: #9 USA Today #9
The Hawkeyes continued their hot streak to start conference play as they moved to 5-0 in the Big Ten. Iowa tallied a second win over Michigan State, this time in East Lansing, and a win at home against Michigan in the past week. This is the main reason Iowa jumped from outside the Top 15 in to the Top 10 in both polls. Jarrod Uthoff continued to lead Iowa as he posted 15 points and 10 rebounds against Michigan State and 23 more points against Michigan.
Iowa will travel to a struggling Rutgers team on Thursday, before facing Purdue at home on Sunday. The Hawkeyes won at Purdue 70-63 earlier this season, and the Boilermakers will come in to Iowa City with pay back on their mind. Iowa, however, has proven they can beat the same team twice already this season.
Michigan State Spartans (16-3)
- AP: #11 USA Today: #10
With Denzel Valentine back, most expected the Spartans to get revenge on Iowa as they played the Hawkeyes in East Lansing this time. Iowa took control of the game early, however, and never looked back. Michigan State lost 76-59 and shot just 4-21 from deep. Tom Izzo's squad then traveled to Wisconsin on Sunday and lost a tight game 77-76 on a go ahead bucket late by Ethan Happ.
Michigan State will look to bounce back with a home win against Nebraska before hosting #7 Maryland at home. Look for Izzo to have his team razor focused in their two home games this week. His teams rarely lose two in a row, especially at home. Michigan State against Maryland will be one of the premier games in the conference this season as it is the only time these two teams will meet.
Purdue Boilermakers (15-3)
- AP: #22 USA Today: #22
Purdue played just one game this past week after dropping a game at Illinois last Sunday. The Boilermakers beat Penn State on Wednesday 74-57. This is a game Matt Painter's team controlled throughout, as most expected against the Nittany Lions at home. Purdue pounded Penn State on the glass 42-25 including 14 offensive rebounds.
The Boilermakers have a busy week upcoming as they play 3 games. They will travel to Rutgers on Monday night (editor's note: Purdue won 107-57) before hosting the Buckeyes on Thursday. The Boilermakers will end their week on the road against red hot Iowa. This will provide a tough test for Purdue, who fared well in a few early season tournament where they played a busy schedule.
Indiana Hoosiers (15-3)
-AP: #25 USA Today: #23
The Hoosiers have now won 10 in a row as they won their only game this past week at Minnesota 70-63. Yogi Ferrell poured in 20 points and 7 assists. Senior guard Nick Zeisloft may have been the difference in the game as he shot 5-8 from deep off the bench.
Indiana plays two winnable home games this week against Illinois and Northwestern. The Hoosiers could move to a very impressive 17-3 (7-0) if they pull both these games off. Tom Crean's team will need this hot start in the conference as they finish the season with five of their final seven games against the other four ranked teams in the Big Ten.
There's not many teams close to being ranked in the Big Ten right now. Northwestern is 15-4, but against a sub-par non-conference schedule. The Wildcats do have a chance to knock off two top-25 teams this week and garner attention in the polls, however that is very unlikely with a trip to Maryland and Indiana. Michigan has looked better as of late, and plays four straight unranked teams the next two weeks. This is a good opportunity for Michigan to string some wins together.