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Week Three Rankings Reaction: Big Ten’s Michigan State falls after Duke loss

Minnesota and Purdue remain steady while Northwestern falls from both AP and USA Today Coaches polls

NCAA Basketball: Chicago State at Purdue
Purdue Boilermakers guard Nojel Eastern. Purdue is hanging tough in this week’s rankings.
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Three Big Ten teams remain scattered throughout both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll after a week that saw the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils defeat the then-No. 2 Michigan State Spartans in a primetime matchup. The Spartans dropped a few spots in each poll while Minnesota and Purdue remained steady. Northwestern, ranked No. 20 a week ago by both accounts, fell off after being routed Sunday by Texas Tech.

Still one of the best teams in the country, Tom Izzo’s Spartans remain in the mix after an easy bounce-back game against the Stony Brook Seawolves. The Northwestern Wildcats received 20 votes in the AP poll and 12 in the coaches poll, but two losses -- a Nov. 15 squeaker against Creighton and last night’s bomb against the Texas Tech Red Raiders -- was enough to have them fall short of the Top 25.

Week Three AP Poll:

  • No. 4 Michigan State
  • No. 14 Minnesota
  • No. 18 Purdue
  • Receiving votes: Northwestern (20), Maryland (9), Michigan (9)

Week Three Coaches Poll:

  • No. 5 Michigan State
  • No. 15 Minnesota
  • No. 16 Purdue
  • Receiving votes: Maryland (13), Northwestern (12), Wisconsin (8), Michigan (7)

Thoughts

Let’s start first with the Northwestern news. A loss to Creighton, especially within the last minute, isn’t a bad loss. But the Texas Tech-beatdown was enough to make those lenient poll-voters say ‘No thanks’ to keeping the Wildcats in the Top 25. This fall from poll grace shouldn’t surprise anyone:

Izzo and the Spartans will remain a force this year, much like they do every year. But so does Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils, and last week’s 88-81 loss in Chicago was enough to knock Michigan State off a few rungs. We could spend some time on reflecting and ‘what iffing’ -- like ‘What if the Spartans won?’ -- but that’s not going to change the game.

Michigan State will have some other chances this season to maintain and climb their way up to the tip-top of the rankings again. There’s no reason to think this is the beginning of a tailspin.

Led by Jordan Murphy, the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team is surprising some and likely reinforcing what coach Richard Pitino has said about his team’s strengths. A big win against Providence and a couple cakewalks have the Gophers at 4-0, and they remained in the same spots in both polls.

Depending on how Minnesota handles the three games in the week ahead, it could climb a few spots -- especially with a win over Alabama on Saturday -- or slip a couple notches. There are some good teams nipping at that No. 14/15 spot, so the pressure remains on for the Gophers.

Lastly, and definitely not least, the Purdue Boilermakers are making noise among poll-voters -- and people are tuning in. In fact, they’re atop our Week Two Power Rankings. So pay attention.

After clinging to the No. 21 spot in the coaches poll, Purdue jumped five spots to No. 16, making them only second to Texas A&M’s seven-spot hop in that poll. With quality play in the rear-view mirror and momentum driving them up the road, the Boilermakers will face Tennessee on Wednesday and then have a shot at No. 5/3 Villanova in the Battle for Atlantis tournament.

If Purdue can hang with, or even upset the likes of the Wildcats, we can expect more people to start paying attention.