The Big Ten is down to only two teams in both polls after a rough week for the ranked teams in the league. Purdue and Wisconsin dropped in both polls while Maryland dropped completely out of the top 25 in each poll. Not a good week for the so-called top dogs of the league.
However, on the bright side more teams received votes this week with Minnesota just on the outside looking in of the AP Top 25. That’s one way to look at it glass half full for the league. Anyway, here’s where the Big Ten landed in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll:
Week 17 AP Poll:
- #16 - Purdue
- #22- Wisconsin
- Others receiving votes: Minnesota (66), Michigan (14), Michigan State (3) and Maryland (1)
Week 17 Coaches Poll:
- #16 - Purdue
- #21 - Wisconsin
- Others receiving votes: Minnesota (10), Maryland (9), Northwestern (8), Michigan State (7) and Michigan (2)
Purdue still remains the highest ranked Big Ten team, and, in my opinion, the most complete team as well. Minnesota is starting to make a case for that top honor, but I’ll get to them a little later on. So, for now, let’s first look at how the Boilermakers landed at their current ranking in each poll.
The Boilermakers dropped two spots in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll after a 1-1 week. Purdue needed overtime during the week to top Penn State, but wasn’t as lucky on Saturday, falling at Michigan. And it was a true beat-down, might I add.
Barely getting by a below .500 team and losing by 12 points to a bubble team certainly causes for a drop in the rankings, so I’m fine with where the Boilermakers are sitting at in both polls. Another week like this past one and they’ll barely be ranked next week.
Speaking of barely being ranked, what’s going on with those Badgers?
Wisconsin dropped two more games this past week and justifiably dropped six spots in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll. Wisconsin has quickly dropped from a top 10 team to barely being ranked in just three weeks and it’s raised cause for concern moving forward.
The Terps weren’t as lucky as Wisconsin this week. After a winless week, Maryland finds themselves outside the top 25 in both polls for the first time since Jan. 9. The Terps lost a pair of home games this past week, first falling to Minnesota on Wednesday and then getting throttled by Iowa on Saturday.
The Terps find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak — with each loss coming by double digits — and now are in danger of losing their double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament next week. They’ll need to figure something out this week if they want to get this season back on track.
Now that we are past all of the downers from last week, let’s take a brief look at the hottest team in the entire league — Minnesota.
That’s right, the Golden Gophers are playing incredible ball right now and find themselves just outside the top 25 in both polls. Minnesota received 66 votes in the AP Top 25 to land as the first team outside the rankings and 10 votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll to land seven spots outside the top 25.
The Golden Gophers have reeled off 7 straight wins for a perfect 7-0 record in the month of February. It’s quite incredible how they rebounded from a five-game losing streak to put together this great stretch. And because of that I don’t understand how these guys are still unranked. When you talk about the best 25 teams in all of college basketball right now, I don’t know how they aren’t part of that group. There’s only one complaint I have about these two rankings in regards to the Big Ten teams, and that’s how Minnesota is still unranked. It ultimately doesn’t matter, but I still don’t get it.
Outside of Minnesota, three other Big Ten teams received votes in the AP Poll — Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland — and four teams received votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll — Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan State and Michigan. None of these teams deserve to be ranked, but both Michigan and Michigan State are playing better ball at the right time of the year. If both run the table again this next week then we could see them even closer to cracking the polls.