Last week is always a fun part of the season. Fans not only get to see the college season heat up, but get to do so while enjoying some turkey and mashed potatoes as well. All the action shook up the rankings as well.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week Three Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (+4)
The Boilermakers had an incredible week, going 3-0 against a stacked slate of West Virginia, Gonzaga, and Duke. It’s rare to see a team to beat any of those three, let alone all three in a matter of four days and all by double-digits. The win over the Blue Devils was particularly impressive, as Purdue cruised to 1.15 points per possession and led for almost the entire game. Zach Edey led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
At this point, it’s fair to view Gonzaga with a bit of skepticism. The Bulldogs got run off the floor by Texas and Purdue and narrowly escaped in two other games. A few buckets here or there and Gonzaga is staring at a 3-3 record through six games. And the same is true with Duke, who only has one quality win so far this season. These aren’t the same squads that finished first and eighth, respectively, on KenPom last season.
However, that doesn’t mean they’re bad teams, either. They’re both currently ranked in the top 20 on KenPom and could very well improve as the season continues. And for Purdue to embarrass them on a neutral court over the weekend is noteworthy. It deserves a ton of respect and demands the Boilers be taken seriously.
Purdue will now hope to keep that rolling with Florida State on the road on Wednesday and Minnesota at home on Sunday. Both look like easy wins.
#2 - Indiana Hoosiers (-1)
The Hoosiers had two underwhelming opponents this week and cruised to two easy wins, beating Little Rock at home on Wednesday and Jackson State at home on Friday. Both wins came by significant margins and pushed Indiana to 6-0 on the season.
Indiana will now enter one of its most important weeks of the season with North Carolina at home on Tuesday and Rutgers on the road on Saturday. Both are massive resume opportunities that could be huge for Indiana’s seeding in March. It’s also a key opportunity for Indiana to prove itself nationally.
#3 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-1)
The Illini only had one game this week, which came at home to Lindenwood on Friday. Illinois cruised to an easy win in the matchup to improve to 5-1 overall on the season. The team will now prepare for two intriguing games with Syracuse at home on Tuesday and Maryland on the road on Friday. KenPom expects Illinois to split the two games, so a sweep would be quite an achievement.
#4 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terps only had one game last week, which went well, as Maryland scored a 95-79 win over Coppin State at home on Friday. The win pushed Maryland to 6-0 on the season and sets up a huge week of action. Maryland will go on the road to face a vulnerable Louisville team on Tuesday and host Illinois at home on Friday. Two wins would substantially boost the team’s hopes for Selection Sunday.
#5 - Michigan State Spartans (-2)
The Spartans had a largely successful week, going 2-1 in a trip out west in the Phil Knight tournament. Michigan State fell to Alabama on Thursday, but rebounded with wins over Oregon and Portland over the weekend. The performance left Michigan State sitting at 5-2 overall, which is pretty impressive considering the team’s difficult slate to date.
Things will remain challenging for Michigan State this week as the Spartans face Notre Dame on the road on Wednesday and Northwestern at home on Sunday. Michigan State is presently favored in both games, but not significantly in either matchup, so it should be an interesting set of games for the program.
#6 - Penn State Nittany Lions (+1)
The Nittany Lions also only had a quiet week, with just one game on Friday night at home against Lafayette. A double-digit win in that one pushed Penn State to 6-1 heading into an intriguing road game against Clemson on Tuesday. The Nittany Lions are expected to be narrow favorites in that game, but it’s essentially a coin flip. Winning there will push Penn State in the right direction for a postseason bid.
#7 - Wisconsin Badgers (+1)
The Badgers had a pretty successful week in the Bahamas, going 2-1 against a pretty challenging slate. Wisconsin beat Dayton on Wednesday, fell in overtime to Kansas on Thursday, and rebounded with a win over USC on Friday. The stretch left the team sitting at 5-1 overall heading into another important week.
To date, the story of Wisconsin’s season has been the split between the team’s incredible defense and its lackluster offense production. The Badgers currently rank 12th nationally in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric, but just 115th in the same offensive statistic. That’s an incredible split. For perspective, last year’s Iowa squad (the one described as all offense and no defense) only had a 76 spot gap between its offense and defense, which is 27 spots smaller than the gap Badger fans are looking at right now.
This week, Wisconsin will hope to build on last week’s success with Wake Forest at home on Tuesday and Marquette on the road on Saturday. Both games look highly winnable.
#8 - Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)
The Buckeyes had a pretty solid week of play, going 2-1 in the team’s trip to Maui. Ohio State opened things up with a tough loss to San Diego State on Monday, but rebounded with wins over Cincinnati and Texas Tech to close things out. The wins pushed the Buckeyes to 5-1 on the season and up to 19th on KenPom.
The biggest difference maker so far for Ohio State has been Brice Sensabaugh, who’s playing at an All-Big Ten level. He’s dominating the team’s usage and shooting an incredible 46.2 percent from three-point range. If his numbers hold up even decently as the calendar turns to December and January, he’s going to have a legit shot at Freshman of the Year.
Ohio State will now prepare for a big one on the docket with Duke on the road on Wednesday. The Blue Devils look weaker than in years past, but are more than capable of putting together a quality performance. Ohio State will then get St. Francis (PA) at home on Saturday.
#9 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-5)
The Hawkeyes went 2-1 against the team’s slate this week, beating Nebraska Omaha and Clemson, but falling to TCU on Saturday night. Despite going 2-1, it was a relatively disappointing performance. The game against the Tigers was relatively competitive and the loss to TCU was tough, as the Horned Frogs previously lacked a quality win on the season. Iowa’s defense was particularly underwhelming, giving up 1.10 points per possession.
Iowa will hope to rebound this week with Georgia Tech at home on Tuesday. The game looks highly winnable as the Yellow Jackets have failed to beat a top 200 team yet on KenPom.
#10 - Northwestern Wildcats (--)
The Wildcats performed pretty well last week, going 1-1 against Liberty and Auburn in Mexico. The loss to the Tigers was also relatively excusable, as Auburn entered the season with pretty high expectations and the game was closely played. The split left Northwestern sitting at 5-1 overall. The team will now hope to keep that going with Pittsburgh at home on Monday and Michigan State on the road on Sunday.
#11 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1)
The Scarlet Knights played two underwhelming opponents at home last week and grabbed two wins in those matchups, beating Rider on Tuesday and Central Connecticut on Saturday. The wins pushed Rutgers to 5-1 overall.
Rutgers will now prepare for two really intriguing games with Miami (FL) on the road on Wednesday and Indiana at home on Saturday. KenPom projects the Scarlet Knights as underdogs in both games, but only just barely. If Rutgers can outperform expectations even marginally, two wins are possible.
#12 - Michigan Wolverines (-1)
The Wolverines had a relatively quiet week, winning the team’s lone game against Jackson State on Wednesday. By all accounts, Michigan still looks like a mess. The team’s defense is largely non-functional and the offense is almost non-existent from outside the arc. Without some significant improvements, it could be a long season in Ann Arbor.
This week, Michigan will prepare for a really challenging set of games with Virginia at home on Tuesday and Kentucky in London on Sunday. It’s hard to see the Wolverines winning either game. We’ll have to stay tuned and see if they can pull off an upset.
#13 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (--)
The Gophers split the team’s games in the trip out west last week, beating Cal Baptist on Monday, but falling to UNLV on Wednesday. The mixed results left Minnesota sitting at 4-2 overall heading into a tough portion of its schedule.
This week, Minnesota gets Virginia Tech on the road on Monday night and Purdue on the road on Sunday. It’s hard to see the Gophers winning either game, so even a split would be a huge accomplishment for the team.
#14 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (--)
The Huskers went 1-2 in the team’s games last week, losing to Oklahoma and Memphis and rebounding with a win over a horrid Florida State squad on Sunday evening. The win over the Seminoles improved Nebraska to 4-3 overall.
KenPom currently projects Nebraska as a favorite in just three remaining games this season. One of those comes on Wednesday at home against Boston College, which makes it an absolute must win. The Huskers also get rival Creighton on the road on Sunday.