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Week Five Rankings Reaction: Big Ten’s Purdue Returns After Week Hiatus

Minnesota gets knocked a couple pegs while Michigan State stays dominant

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time not too long ago that the Purdue Boilermakers were knocked from the national rankings, both in the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. That was last week. But this is this week -- and the Boilermakers are back.

The other two Big Ten teams being named among the country’s Top 25 are no surprise. Neither is there placement. Here’s what we’ve got this week:

Week Five AP Poll:

  • No. 3 Michigan State
  • No. 14 Minnesota
  • No. 21 Purdue
  • No others receiving votes

Week Four Coaches Poll:

  • No. 3 Michigan State
  • No. 15 Minnesota
  • No. 21 Purdue
  • Receiving votes: Michigan (7)

Thoughts

Let’s start with the Boilermakers’ return to the polls this week. After being in the top 25 in the AP’s poll for 42 consecutive weeks, two nasty losses to (now No. 24 in AP) Tennessee and Western Kentucky didn’t help the cause and Purdue fell from the rankings last week.

And understandably, right? A team can’t have losses like that -- albeit by small margins -- and expect to be rewarded for it.

It took three wins for Purdue to return to poll glory. In this case, the Boilermakers (8-2, 2-0) topped previously-ranked Louisville and Big Ten foes Northwestern and Maryland. Coming in at No. 21, Purdue did what it needed to do to get back on the rankings.

There isn’t much that needs to be said about the Michigan State Spartans. This team is remaining dominant and is remaining at No. 3 because they still have something No. 1 Duke (10-0) and No. 2 Kansas (7-0) doesn’t -- a loss. But the Spartans (7-1, 1-0) didn’t bat an eye in a 81-63 win against Notre Dame and cruised to their first Big Ten win over Nebraska.

The schedule ahead for the Spartans gives them an opportunity to improve to 9-1 and 2-0 in conference. They play Rutgers on Tuesday and Southern Utah on Saturday.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had a chance to climb the rankings and force a real national conversation around this program, but couldn’t quite edge a Miami Hurricanes team last week. Because of that loss, followed by an easy win over Rutgers, Minnesota was brought back down to earth and knocked a couple pegs in each poll.

You want to earn a spot in the top 10, Richard Pitino and crew? You’ve got to win those games like Miami. Big Ten play continues against Nebraska on Tuesday and then a game against Arkansas on Saturday. These are games a top-10 program wins easily.

Let’s close by talking about other vote-getters. In the Big Ten, there aren’t really any, aside from a few votes cast for Michigan. This is a decline in what we’ve seen since the beginning of the season. In earlier weeks, Northwestern, Maryland, Michigan and even Wisconsin were seeing votes. Now...well, not so much.