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2017-18 Week Four Rankings Reaction: Big Ten’s Minnesota, Michigan State Remain

After a rough week, Purdue is on the outside looking in and that... well that’s about it.

NCAA Basketball: the Barclays Classic-Alabama vs Minnesota Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As this short season has progressed, the Big Ten’s appearance in the national rankings has dwindled. Early on we saw as many as four teams from the conference receive nods as some of the best in the country -- now we’re down to two.

There’s little doubt the Michigan State Spartans will remain in contention all year long. This week, Tom Izzo’s brand of basketball climbed on both polls after three wins out west -- they beat DePaul, UConn and North Carolina -- in convincing fashion.

Then there’s the Minnesota Golden Gophers who also won three games, including knocking off then-No. 25 Alabama. The Gophers climbed to No. 12 in both polls after being ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Week Four AP Poll:

  • No. 3 Michigan State
  • No. 12 Minnesota
  • Receiving votes: Purdue (56) Northwestern (8), Maryland (1)

Week Four Coaches Poll:

  • No. 3 Michigan State
  • No. 12 Minnesota
  • Receiving votes: Purdue (62), Michigan (11)

Thoughts

Last week, we said the Purdue Boilermakers, ranked No. 18/16 were making noise and had an opportunity to rattle some cages if they could come out successful after a week with a couple difficult games. Those games against Tennessee and Western Kentucky proved to be too much for Purdue, who dropped their Battle 4 Atlantis games 78-75 and 77-73, respectively.

Now the Boilermakers are on the outside looking in, with games against No. 19 Louisville on Tuesday and Big Ten play beginning Friday at Maryland. You want a spot back, Purdue? Show us what you’ve got in these two matchups.

The big story here, though, is the Gophers program. Still undefeated (7-0), Minnesota rolled Alabama A&M 100-57, UMass 69-51 and edged Alabama 89-85 this past week (No, we aren’t going to talk about that weird 5-on-3 thing). Before they get to conference play in a Sunday game against Rutgers, Minnesota will host No. 10 Miami (5-0) on Wednesday.

This Miami game will give Richard Pitino’s team a chance to turn some heads. A win against a top-10 opponent will surely catapult Minnesota into the national conversation, but a loss -- depending on its margin -- will probably take the Gophers down hard.

There are only two teams better than Michigan State, according to pollsters: No. 2 Kansas (5-0) and the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (8-0), who handed the Spartans (5-1) their only loss prior to last week’s rankings. The Spartans will face the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday before heading into Big Ten play against lowly Nebraska.

At 6-0, the Irish have clawed their way back up the rankings ladder after being No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the USA Today poll, and a blow to the Spartans could help confirm that clawing. The good news for Spartans fans, however, is this Michigan State team is rolling and a victory against Notre Dame will give them the bargaining power in solidifying their spot in the country’s top three.