Things were quiet for the Big Ten again this week, as most of the league played in limited action and usually against inferior competition. However, there were a few upsets and enough marquee matchups to get some movement in these rankings.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week Seven Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (—)
The Boilermakers won the team’s only game last week, beating a horrible New Orleans team at home on Wednesday. The win pushed Purdue to 12-0 on the season. It was already the team’s ninth win by double-digits, including multiple against marquee opponents. Notably, Zach Edey sat out the game. Purdue will wrap up non-conference play this week with Florida A&M at home on Thursday. Don’t expect a competitive game.
#2 - Wisconsin Badgers (—)
The Badgers also won the team’s only outing of the week, beating Lehigh at home on Thursday night. It wasn’t a particularly competitive game as Steven Crowl led the way with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Wisconsin improved to 9-2 with the win and will prepare to wrap up non-con play this week against Western Michigan on Friday.
#3 - Maryland Terrapins (+1)
The Terps got back on track this week following a rough early December, beating Saint Peter’s at home on Thursday night. The win pushed Maryland to 9-3 overall. The win came by 30 points with Hakim Hart leading the way with 18 points and two rebounds. Maryland will wrap up non-con play this week at home against UMBC on Thursday and then head on the road to face Michigan on sunday.
#4 - Indiana Hoosiers (+1)
The Hoosiers swept the team’s games last week, beating Elon at home on Tuesday and Kennesaw State on Thursday. Both wins came by double-digits and pushed Indiana to 10-3 overall as the team gets a bye week before restarting conference play in January.
Through 13 games, it’s been a solid start for the Hoosiers. The team has two marquee wins and a few other lesser wins that could help boost Indiana’s resume. And while the losses have been tough, all have come away from home to quality competition. It’s been a solid start and certainly a better one than fans saw last season.
However, Indiana’s recent injury woes are becoming a significant concern as the Hoosiers played last week without Trayce Jackson-Davis and Xavier Johnson. And while Jackson-Davis is expected to return at some point, Johnson could miss months, if not the entirety of the season. Those are massive hits that Indiana won’t easily overcome. In a lot of ways, the season will likely ride on the health of those two.
#5 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-2)
The Illini had a rough week, losing the team’s only game against rival Missouri on Thursday in St. Louis. The game was particularly disappointing for fans as Illinois was favored at tip, but got run off the floor, falling by 22 points in a game that wasn’t really that close. Illinois sits at 8-4 overall following the loss.
At this point, it’s fair to have mixed feelings about Illinois through 12 games. While the team has really impressive wins over Texas and UCLA, it dropped a tough game against Virginia and had thoroughly disappointing outings against Maryland, Missouri, and Penn State. Losses are going to happen, particularly with the schedule Illinois played this year. However, the letdowns have been too drastic for a roster with this much talent. The team will have to become more consistent if it hopes to make noise in the Big Ten.
This week, Illinois returns to action on Thursday at home against Bethune Cookman. It should be a nice tune up game before league play restarts.
#6 - Penn State Nittany Lions (—)
The Nittany Lions scored a decent win last week, defeating Quinnipiac at home on Thursday evening. Penn State improved to 9-3 overall with the win. The team has now won three straight and five of the team’s seven games. Penn State will wrap up non-conference play at home against Delaware State on Thursday and then get Iowa at home on Sunday afternoon.
#7 - Ohio State Buckeyes (—)
The Buckeyes scored a blowout win in the team’s only game last week, besting Maine at home on Wednesday. The team improved to 8-3 overall following the victory. Ohio State will now wrap up non-conference play at home on Thursday against Alabama A&M this week and then restart conference play on Sunday on the road against Northwestern. The latter game projects as a coin flip.
#8 - Michigan State Spartans (—)
The Spartans beat Oakland at home on Wednesday in the team’s only outing last week, improving to 8-4 overall after besting the Golden Grizzlies. It was Michigan State’s third straight win after a relatively rough close to November.
Through 12 games, this is another team where fans should have mixed feelings. The Spartans have some bright spots, including wins over Kentucky, Oregon, and Penn State. However, missteps against Notre Dame and Northwestern stand out as well. The team also ranks an underwhelming 44th nationally on KenPom, which isn’t encouraging with Big Ten play about to restart. The Spartans will need to show some real growth and soon.
Michigan State will hope to make some of those improvements this week with Buffalo at home on Friday. It should be another nice tune up game for the program.
#9 - Northwestern Wildcats (+1)
The Wildcats won the team’s only game last week, beating Illinois-Chicago at home on Tuesday night. The win left Northwestern sitting at 9-2 overall. The team has now won four straight, including two against decent opponents in Michigan State and DePaul. We’ll see if Northwestern can keep things rolling this week at home against Brown on Thursday and at home against Ohio State on Sunday.
#10 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1)
The Scarlet Knights beat Bucknell at home on Friday in the team’s only game last week. The victory pushed Rutgers to 8-4 overall and up to 23rd nationally on KenPom. Rutgers will hope to keep things rolling this week against Coppin State at home on Friday.
#11 - Michigan Wolverines (+1)
The Wolverines lost the team’s only game last week, falling against North Carolina in Charlotte on Wednesday. The defeat left Michigan sitting at 7-4 overall. While Jett Howard had a great showing in the game and finished with 17 points, star big man Hunter Dickinson finished with just nine points in 27 minutes of action. It was a major disappointment for Wolverine fans as the team still searches for its first marquee win of the season.
In a lot of ways, this Michigan squad remains puzzling. Through 11 games, the team’s only consistent characteristic is inconsistency, as the same Michigan squad that narrowly avoided losses to Eastern Michigan, Ohio, and Lipscomb also played Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina down to the wire. That’s not a combination you see very often.
The reality is Michigan likely lies somewhere in between the team that went to overtime with Ohio and the one that lost by a bucket to Virginia just over a week later. This is an unfinished product that’s incredibly young, ranking 284th nationally in KenPom’s experience metric. Michigan is clearly still going through growing pains. The question is how long they take to resolve and how much damage has been done by then. We’ll have to wait and see.
Michigan will hope to get back on track this week at home against Central Michigan on Thursday. It should be an easy win for the Wolverines, as long as the team doesn’t play down to its competition. The Wolverines will then get Maryland at home on Sunday. Both games are critically important for the team’s postseason hopes.
#12 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (+1)
The Huskers won the team’s only outing last week, beating Queens at home on Tuesday. The win propelled Nebraska to 7-6 overall heading into the restart of conference play. Nebraska will open things up with rival Iowa at home on Thursday night. A win there would certainly boost the fan base’s hope of making the postseason.
#13 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-4)
The Hawkeyes had a horrendous week, dropping the team’s only outing at home to a putrid Eastern Illinois game. It’s easily one of the biggest upsets anywhere in college basketball this season, as Iowa not only lost as a 30-point home favorite, but did it by a nine-point final margin. The loss dropped Iowa to 8-4 overall heading into the restart of conference play.
Frankly, it’s difficult to put Iowa’s loss into the appropriate perspective. It was a massive blow to the team’s resume and postseason hopes. Even after the win, Eastern Illinois ranked 347th nationally on KenPom and had a 4-9 overall record. You simply can’t lose to a team like that, even on an off night and even without star forward Kris Murray. As we get closer to Selection Sunday, this loss is going to be a weight around the team’s neck.
The good news is Iowa can recover from the loss. While the loss itself was horrendous, the team otherwise had a respectable enough performance in non-con play. Wins over Seton Hall, Clemson, and Iowa State were decent and none of Iowa’s remaining losses were particularly rough, as they all came against top 40 opponents and two came away from home. Get rolling in January and Iowa’s resume could start recovering quickly.
Iowa will begin its efforts at rebuilding its resume this week with Nebraska on the road on Thursday. The Hawkeyes are narrowly favored by KenPom.
#14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (—)
The Gophers beat Chicago State at home on Thursday in the team’s only outing. The game was uncomfortably close, being decided by just three points. Dawson Garcia led the way with 18 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Minnesota improved to 6-6 overall with the win and will prepare to close out non-conference play this week with Alcorn State at home on Thursday.