The Big Ten kept things rolling last week, with a litany of conference matchups and a few marquee games elsewhere, including battles against teams like Arizona and Tennessee. Of course, all the action shook up the rankings considerably.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week Five Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (—)
The Boilermakers scored two solid wins this week, beating Hofstra at home on Wednesday and Nebraska on the road on Saturday in overtime. The victory over the Huskers took all Purdue had in regulation and came with a tad of controversy, but the Boilers were able to steal a win in overtime. The win pushed the team to 10-0 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play. Zach Edey remained a monster in the win over Nebraska, finishing with 11 points and 17 rebounds against Nebraska.
Obviously, Purdue sits in great position heading into the final weeks of 2022. The Boilers are undefeated and sit atop most of the weekly rankings. The advanced stats sites also love the team, with KenPom ranking Purdue fifth nationally. The only question is whether Purdue can continue improving or the team flat lines as it has in years past. It’s going to be a major challenge moving forward which will begin against Davidson in Indianapolis on Saturday. Expect a heavy Purdue crowd for that one.
#2 - Wisconsin Badgers (+4)
The Badgers had a fantastic performance this week, beating Maryland at home on Tuesday and knocking off rival Iowa on the road on Sunday in overtime. Both opponents rank in the top 25 on KenPom. The wins pushed Wisconsin to 8-2 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play.
Despite underwhelming preseason expectations, Wisconsin is quietly assembling one of the nation’s more impressive resumes. The Badgers now have wins over six top 75 KenPom opponents, with three coming against top 35 teams and two against top 25 teams. Add in that nearly all have come away from home and that’s a great 10-game run. It should put the program in great shape for making the NCAAs in March.
Wisconsin will hope to build on that momentum this week with Lehigh at home on Friday. It figures to be an easy win.
#3 - Maryland Terrapins (-1)
The Terps had a rough week, dropping both of the team’s games. Maryland fell on the road to Wisconsin on Tuesday and on Sunday in New York City to Tennessee. While both games were competitive, Maryland was unable to get the job done in either outing. The losses dropped Maryland to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play.
Despite the recent missteps, Maryland remains in great position heading into the end of the year. The Terps still have a really solid resume with a few marquee wins and neither of last week’s losses are anything fans should hang their heads over. The team showed plenty of fight and simply fell short against quality competition away from home. It was going to happen eventually.
Maryland will hope to rebound with a massive game on the docket on Wednesday at home against UCLA. A win there would really boost the team’s resume heading into the new year.
#4 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-1)
The Illini split the team’s games, beating Texas in New York City on Tuesday, but falling at home in a shocking loss to Penn State on Saturday. The mixed results left Illinois sitting at 7-3 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten play.
At this point, it’s fair to have misgivings on this Illinois squad. While the team has shown incredible potential, it seems like each step forward is met with a sizable misstep. For example, just look at some of the team’s overall measures. It’s difficult to envision a team going 2-0 against top 10 KenPom opponents, but 0-2 in Big Ten play to open a season, but that’s exactly where Illinois sits right now. It makes evaluating the Illini really challenging. We’ll have to wait and see if the team can find some consistency.
This week, Illinois only has one game, which comes against a dreadful Alabama A&M squad at home on Saturday. It should be an easy win.
#5 - Indiana Hoosiers (-1)
The Hoosiers split the team’s games this week, beating Nebraska at home on Wednesday, but falling to Arizona in Las Vegas on Saturday by double-digits. The loss to the Wildcats was Indiana’s second loss of the season and dropped the team to 8-2 overall.
Following Saturday’s loss to Arizona, many have rightfully criticized the Hoosiers and their aspirations this season. Through 10 games, Indiana looks like a nationally relevant team, but not one good enough to win the Big Ten right now. While still short-handed without Jalen Hood-Schifino right now, Indiana has shown some warts. It’s fair to criticize and the question is whether the Hoosiers can fix them in time for March.
Unfortunately, Indiana won’t get much time to reflect on Saturday’s loss before another challenging outing as the Hoosiers will go on the road to face off against Kansas on Saturday. It’s obviously expected to be a major challenge.
#6 - Penn State Nittany Lions (—)
The Nittany Lions had mixed results this week, falling at home to Michigan State on Wednesday, but bouncing back with a huge win over Illinois on the road on Saturday. The split left Penn State sitting at 7-3 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play.
Through 10 games, there’s no denying Penn State has shown substantial progress. The team is playing like an NCAA outfit, even if there have been a few missteps. As always with teams in this situation, the question is going to be whether Penn State can take care of business in the games it should win over the next few months, i.e., against beatable opponents at home and weaker teams on the road. Do that and a return to the NCAA Tournament is there for the taking.
Penn State will begin those efforts this week against Canisius at home on Sunday. The Nittany Lions will be significant favorites for that one.
#7 - Ohio State Buckeyes (—)
The Buckeyes only had one game this week and were extremely fortunate to come out with a win in it, holding off Rutgers narrowly at home on Thursday night. The win came with plenty of controversy, as the Big Ten officials screwed up in the closing minutes, likely giving Ohio State the win. Either way, the Buckeyes were “victorious” in the official results and improved to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play.
Ohio State only gets one game this week, which comes against North Carolina in New York City in Saturday. A win there would do a lot for the program’s resume and really give the Buckeyes a boost heading into a key portion of the season.
#8 - Michigan State Spartans (—)
The Spartans had a productive week, beating Penn State on the road on Wednesday and Brown at home on Saturday. The wins pushed Michigan State to 7-4 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play. It was a nice bounce back after a rough finish to November.
Michigan State will hope to keep that momentum going this week with in-state Oakland at home on Wednesday. The Spartans will be heavy favorites in the game.
#9 - Iowa Hawkeyes (—)
The Hawkeyes went 1-2 in the team’s games this week, falling to Duke in New York on Tuesday, beating Iowa State at home on Thursday, and falling to Wisconsin at home in overtime on Sunday. The loss to the Badgers was the roughest of the three, particularly given the game was played in Iowa City and Iowa was so close to winning without Kris Murray in the lineup. Iowa will now hope to rebound against Southeast Missouri State at home on Saturday. It should be an easy win.
#10 - Northwestern Wildcats (—)
The Wildcats won the team’s only game this week, beating Prairie View A&M at home on Sunday. The win pushed Northwestern to 7-2 overall. Robbie Beran led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Northwestern will return to action at home on Saturday against DePaul. It figures to be a fun in-state meeting.
#11 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (—)
The Scarlet Knights had a rough week, dropping both of the team’s games. Rutgers fell on the road to Ohio State on Thursday and at home against Seton Hall on Sunday. Even if the loss to the Buckeyes was controversial, there wasn’t much encouraging to take out of the performances. Rutgers’ defense underwhelmed in the first game and the offense underwhelmed against the Pirates. The losses dropped Rutgers to 6-4 overall.
Rutgers now enters a precarious part of its slate with Wake Forest at home on Saturday. Given some of the missteps to date, this one really needs to be a win.
#12 - Michigan Wolverines (+1)
The Wolverines won the team’s only game last week, beating Minnesota on the road on Thursday. It was the team’s first win since before Thanksgiving after narrowly falling short against Virginia and Kentucky. The win left Michigan at 6-3 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play. The Wolverines will hope to build off that win this week with Lipscomb at home on Saturday.
#13 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1)
The Huskers lost both of the team’s games last week, though neither game itself was particularly unexpected. Nebraska fell on the road against Indiana on Wednesday and followed it up with a loss to Purdue in overtime at home on Saturday. The losses dropped Nebraska to 6-5 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten play.
Nebraska will get an intriguing game this week against Kansas State in Kansas City on Saturday. KenPom projects the Huskers as narrow underdogs. We’ll have to wait and see if Nebraska can pull out some magic.
#14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (—)
The Gophers lost both of the team’s games last week, falling to Michigan at home on Thursday and Mississippi State at home on Sunday. The losses left Minnesota sitting at 4-6 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten play. Minnesota will hope to bounce back this week against a terrible Arkansas Pine Bluff team at home on Wednesday.