The Big Ten had another full week of action, including a variety of marquee matchups as parts of the 2023 Gavitt Tipoff Games and the 2023 Champions Classic. Unfortunately, most of those went poorly for the league, including some pretty lopsided losses. It shook up things in the Power Rankings as well.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week Two Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (—)
The Boilermakers only had one game last week and performed well in it, scoring a 12-point win over Xavier at home on Monday night. It was the team’s first quality opponent of the season, so it meant even a bit more than usual. Zach Edey remains a monster and there was nothing from the showing that should make Boiler fans change their view of the team.
Purdue now sits at 3-0 overall. The team will now prepare for a huge week in Maui, beginning with a ranked Gonzaga squad on Monday afternoon. The game is expected to be a battle with plenty of fireworks. That’s probably where we start learning if the Boilers have improved around Edey from last season.
#2 - Illinois Fighting Illini (—)
The Illini split the team’s games last week, falling at home to Marquette on Tuesday and rebounding with wins against overmatched opponents in Valparaiso and Southern later on. The mixed results left Illinois sitting at 4-1 overall.
At this point, it’s still hard to get a great gauge on this Illinois squad. The only decent opponent the team has faced so far is Marquette. And while Illinois lost that one, the team battled to the closing minutes and it’s taken care of business in its other outings. Illinois seems solid at this point — we just need more data to know how good it might be.
This week, Illinois will return to action on Friday against Western Illinois. Expect another lopsided win. We’ll have to wait until December to see the squad face against quality opponent.
#3 - Northwestern Wildcats (—)
The Wildcats had a decent performance last week, beating Western Michigan at home on Tuesday and Rhode Island on a neutral on Saturday before falling short against a really good Mississippi State squad on Sunday. The loss dropped the team to 4-1 on the season.
Like Illinois above, things are a bit murky on the Wildcats. The team seems solid, it’s just unclear if this is a squad in the top 30 or top 50 variety. We’ll have to wait to find out more, as the team is off this week before facing Northern Illinois at home on the 27th.
#4 - Iowa Hawkeyes (+2)
The Hawkeyes split the team’s games last week, falling on the road against Creighton on Tuesday but rebounding with a win over Arkansas State at home on Friday. The team’s defense was particularly underwhelming in the loss. Iowa now finds itself sitting at 3-1 overall, though none of the wins have come against a top 150 opponent.
Iowa will get another chance to prove itself this week with Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day as part of the team’s trip to San Diego. KenPom favors the Sooners narrowly.
#5 - Michigan State Spartans (+2)
The Spartans went 2-1 in the team’s games last week, falling to Duke in the Champions Classic on Tuesday and rebounding with blowout wins over Butler and Alcorn State at home over the weekend. The win over the Bulldogs was particularly impressive, as it projected to be relatively competitive game at tip.
Michigan State’s overall numbers from deep remain putrid, but the Spartans have started ticking up there this week. The team is now shooting 26.3 percent from three-point range on the season. Again, not great, but solidly ahead of where it was a week ago. The team’s defense is also starting to come together and the freshmen are getting more comfortable.
The team will now head west this week for a matchup with Arizona in California on Thursday. KenPom favors the Wildcats, but an upset would be massive for Michigan State’s resume moving forward. There should be a ton of athleticism on that floor.
#6 - Wisconsin Badgers (-2)
The Badgers also had a mixed week, as the team fell against Providence on the road on Tuesday and beat Robert Morris at home on Friday. Like a few other teams on this list, Wisconsin has looked like a decent team, but little more than that. We’ll need a few more games against quality competition before we will know where the Badgers sit.
Fortunately for fans, they won’t have to wait long as the team gets Virginia in Fort Myers on Monday as part of its non-conference tournament. Expect a physical game.
#7 - Michigan Wolverines (-2)
The Wolverines had arguably the oddest week of anybody on this list. Michigan opened with a blowout win over St. John’s on the road on Monday, but followed it with a brutal loss to Long Beach State at home on Friday. The loss dropped the team to 3-1 on the season.
Michigan’s statistical profile still looks decent, even despite Friday’s loss. However, the hiccup against the Beach could lead to some skepticism about Michigan’s early wins. The obvious question is whether St. John’s and Michigan’s two earlier opponents were worth much or if the Wolverines were simply running it up against poor competition. It’s impossible to answer without a little more data.
The Wolverines will hope to bounce back from Friday’s loss against Memphis on Wednesday as part of the team’s trip to the Bahamas. KenPom favors the Tigers narrowly.
#8 - Ohio State Buckeyes (—)
The Buckeyes won both of the team’s games last week against underwhelming Merrimack and Western Michigan squads to improve to 3-1 on the season. There was little notable to take away from either game. Ohio State will now prepare for a matchup against Alabama on Friday in Florida. KenPom favors the Tide by nine points. We’ll see if Chris Holtmann and his staff can pull off a surprise.
#9 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (+3)
The Huskers scored three solid wins last week, beating Rider and Stony Brook at home and earning a blowout win over Oregon State on Saturday on a neutral court. Nebraska now finds itself sitting at 5-0 for the first time since the fall of 2008. That’s an incredible accomplishment, even if the strength of schedule hasn’t been great.
Nebraska will now prepare for its toughest game of the season to date against Duquesne at home on Wednesday. A win there and the Huskers could very well go into the clash against Creighton unbeaten.
#10 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2)
The Scarlet Knights swept its games last week, besting Georgetown at home on Wednesday and Howard at home on Saturday. Both wins came by double-digits and pushed Rutgers to 4-1 on the season. The team will now prepare for Saint Peter’s at home on Monday before getting a week off for Thanksgiving.
#11 - Maryland Terrapins (-2)
The Terps are in absolute free fall right now. Despite lofty preseason expectations and a really talented roster, Maryland has been playing like one of the worst teams in the league. It culminated last week with a horrid showing on the road against Villanova, where the Terps finished with just 40 point against a good, but not great defensive unit. Maryland now finds itself sitting at 1-3 overall.
While it might not be time to hit the panic button just yet, the fingers should be outstretched and moving toward the button. It takes a lot to move down on KenPom this early in the season and the Terps have dropped 33 spots in four games. That’s an alarming drop and means any further missteps could very well be death blows to the team’s March hopes.
Maryland will get two winnable games this week against UMBC on Tuesday and South Alabama on Saturday at home. These are absolute must wins.
#12 - Indiana Hoosiers (-2)
The Hoosiers had relatively disappointing results last week, beating Wright State at home on Thursday but falling by 20 points against UConn on Sunday. The loss dropped Indiana to 3-1 on the season. Indiana has yet to beat a top 150 opponent or win a game by double-digits.
This week, Indiana will get Louisville in New York on Monday and Harvard in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Hoosiers need to find a way to win both games.
#13 - Penn State Nittany Lions (+1)
The Nittany Lions earned two more wins against bad teams last week, beating Saint Francis at home on Tuesday and Morehead State at home on Friday. Penn State now finds itself sitting at 4-0 overall. The team will now prepare for a meeting on Thanksgiving against a talented Texas A&M squad. Penn State is a major underdog in that one.
#14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)
The Gophers had a tough week, falling to Missouri at home on Thursday before rebounding against USC Upstate at home on Saturday. The split left Minnesota sitting at 3-1 overall. The loss to the Tigers was particularly rough as it looked like the Gophers were in great position to grab the win in the closing minutes before collapsing.
Minnesota will now prepare for Arkansas Pine Bluff at home on Tuesday and San Francisco in California on Sunday on a neutral court. The Gophers are projected to go 1-1 in those matchups.