Let’s be honest. The last week or so of Big Ten action wasn’t exactly tremendously entertaining. That’s generally the case around this time of year. Things start out with a bang, but ease up before the teams head out for their holiday non-conference tournaments. It’s why most of the teams occupied their time with opponents ranked near the bottom of the national KenPom ratings.
Still, there were some decent games mixed around the league. And we learned a few new things over the last few days. As such, let’s take a look at my latest Big Ten power rankings.
But before you do jump into the power rankings, a reminder about how my rankings are made. Once the season starts, my power rankings reflect actual gameplay. Who have you beaten, when did you do it, and how have you played otherwise? Those are the questions I focus on. The same can be said for losses. And given that these are power rankings, it’s a rolling scale. More recent results will be weighed more heavily.
Big Ten Week Three Power Rankings
#1 - Ohio State Buckeyes (--)
The Buckeyes were ranked atop my power rankings last week and I see no reason to drop them now. Ohio State had two games last week against underwhelming opponents and cruised to two wins. The team beat Stetson at home on Monday and Purdue Fort Wayne at home on Friday. The wins pushed Ohio State to 5-0 overall this season.
Ohio State turned a lot of heads nationally earlier this year with its blowout win over Villanova, but this team still seems to be a bit under the radar. Nonetheless, Ohio State is rated 7th nationally on KenPom and would probably be higher if preseason projections were removed. The Buckeyes are playing at an incredibly high level right now.
This week, Ohio State gets Kent State at home on Monday and Morgan State at home on Friday. Both should be wins, but don’t sleep on Kent State, who is a lot better than its name might insinuate.
#2 - Michigan State Spartans (--)
The Spartans only had one game last week, but cruised to an easy win over Charleston Southern at home on Monday night. Michigan State now sits at 3-1 overall as it prepares to head to Maui for its non-conference tournament. The team will face off against Virginia Tech on Monday afternoon.
One player who deserves a special shout out here for Michigan State is Malik Hall, who has scored 23 points in his last two games. He’s been a really nice surprise for a freshman and could be a key piece for the team moving forward.
#3 - Maryland Terrapins (--)
The Terps are another team that is just quietly marching on. Last week, Maryland had two games and cruised to easy wins in both, beating Fairfield at home on Tuesday and George Mason at home on Friday. The wins pushed Maryland to 5-0 on the season.
This is when things will dial up, however, for Maryland. The team will begin its non-conference tournament on Thanksgiving with a game against Temple. It figures to be the toughest opponent Maryland has faced to date.
#4 - Penn State Nittany Lions (--)
The Nittany Lions had a scare over the weekend, but were able to escape at home against a feisty Yale team over the weekend. Penn State also won earlier in the week at home against Bucknell on Tuesday night. The two wins pushed Penn State to 5-0 overall.
It’s still early and Penn State has yet to face any great teams, but this has all the looks of an NCAA caliber squad. And if Penn State can play well this week in its non-conference tournament, many are going to have to start taking notice. Penn State will open play on Wednesday against Ole Miss. The game figures to be really competitive.
#5 - Indiana Hoosiers (--)
The Hoosiers only had one game last week and scored a 25-point win at home on Wednesday against Princeton. The win pushed Indiana to 5-0 on the season. Indiana will now prepare for its toughest opponent of the season at home on Monday against Louisiana Tech. We’ll start learning a lot about this team during that matchup.
#6 - Michigan Wolverines (--)
The Wolverines only had one game last week, which came against an underwhelming Houston Baptist team at home on Friday night. Michigan scored an easy victory, finishing with 111 points. The win pushed Michigan to 4-0 on the season.
Michigan will now prepare for its trip to the Bahamas this week. The Wolverines will open up against Iowa State on Wednesday afternoon. We’ll learn a lot more about Michigan and how Juwan Howard’s squad will look in the days to come.
#7 - Purdue Boilermakers (--)
The Boilermakers only had one game last week, which came at home against Jacksonville State on Saturday. Purdue was able to score a convincing win to improve to 3-2 overall on the season. At this point, we still don’t know a ton about this Purdue team. It lost to the two good teams it’s faced and has beaten everyone else. Nojel Eastern’s play has also been relatively concerning, as he has put up pedestrian numbers for someone many thought could be in All-Big Ten contention this year.
Purdue will now head to Florida to open up its non-conference tournament trip against VCU on Friday. This will be a nice opportunity for fans to learn a lot more about the Boilermakers.
#8 - Wisconsin Badgers (--)
The Badgers only had one game last week and cruised to a relatively easy win against Green Bay at home on Thursday night. The win pushed Wisconsin to 4-1 on the season. It was a nice followup to the team’s massive win over Marquette a few days earlier.
This week, Wisconsin will head to New York for its non-conference tournament and will face off against Richmond on Monday. This will be a really nice opportunity for the Badgers to score a few more resume building wins.
#9 - Illinois Fighting Illini (--)
The Illini had three games last week and ended up coming away with three wins. Illinois faced Hawaii on Monday night, The Citadel on Wednesday, and Hampton on Saturday. The only game that was a bit testy was the matchup against Hawaii. The others were pretty resounding wins for Illinois. The wins pushed Illinois to 5-1 on the season.
Illinois only has one game this week, which will come on Tuesday against a really underwhelming Lindenwood squad. Expect a convincing win.
#10 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (--)
The Gophers were another team that had multiple games against underwhelming opponents last week. Minnesota opened with a win over Central Michigan on Thursday and followed that up with a win over North Dakota on Sunday. Both wins were by more than 20 points. Obviously, a good sign for any team.
Minnesota only has one game this week, but it will be a significant one, as the Gophers face a rising DePaul team at home on Friday. Minnesota has already missed out on three opportunities for resume wins this year, so Friday will be a big night for the Gophers.
#11 - Iowa Hawkeyes (--)
The Hawkeyes had games against North Florida and Cal Poly at home last week. Iowa was able to score convincing wins against both to improve to 4-1 on the season. And now, Iowa will prepare for its non-conference tournament in Last Vegas this week. Things will open up on Thursday with a matchup against a loaded Texas Tech squad. Buckle up.
#12 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (--)
The Scarlet Knights only had one game last week, but bounced back from a tough loss by beating Stephen A. Austin at home. The win pushed Rutgers to 4-1 on the season. Rutgers will have an interesting slate of games this week with NJIT at home on Tuesday and UMass at home on Friday. Both are top 200 opponents on KenPom.
#13 - Northwestern Wildcats (--)
The Wildcats split the team’s games last week, losing to Radford at home on Tuesday and beating Norfolk State at home on Friday. As a result, Northwestern now sits at 2-2 overall heading into its non-conference tournament. That will open up on Monday in Florida against Bradley. Expect a tight game, as Northwestern is just a one-point favorite per KenPom.
#14 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (--)
The Huskers only had one game last week, but were able to score a win in it on Friday night at home against Southern. With the win, Nebraska now sits at .500 on the season. It’s probably not going to be a great yet, but that’s at least an encouraging sign.
This week, Nebraska will open up its non-conference tournament on Monday in the Cayman Islands against Washington State. It’s a big opportunity for the Huskers to show people the first two games of the season are behind them.