The Big Ten had a loaded week of action. Fans got a litany of marquee games, including a monster matchup between Purdue and Arizona over the weekend. All those results had a significant impact on the league.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week Six Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (—)
The Boilermakers had another fantastic week, beating top ranked Arizona in an epic battle in Indianapolis on Saturday. The win pushed Purdue to 10-1 overall. The team has now won three straight since falling on the road to Northwestern in overtime to start the month.
Through 11 games, Purdue fans have to be thrilled with the team’s performance. Even with the misstep against the Wildcats, the team probably has the best resume in the country, already boasting four wins against top 10 KenPom teams and seven against top 100 teams. That’s akin to a good resume on Selection Sunday, let alone mid-December. If the team can keep up this momentum, some great things lie ahead.
Purdue gets a light slate this week, with only one game against Jacksonville at home on Thursday. KenPom favors the Boilers by about 30.
#2 - Illinois Fighting Illini (+1)
The Illini won the team’s only game this week, beating Colgate at home on Sunday afternoon. The win pushed Illinois to 8-2 overall. Illinois’ resume remains one of the more impressive in the Big Ten and well suited for earning another NCAA bid.
This week, Illinois gets a marquee matchup against Missouri in St. Louis on Friday. Illinois is favored, but that hasn’t meant much in recent years in this series, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. A win there would add some nice momentum heading into 2024.
#3 - Wisconsin Badgers (+1)
The Badgers won the team’s only game this week, beating Jacksonville State at home on Thursday night. The victory pushed Wisconsin to 8-3 overall. The team remained 1-0 in Big Ten play.
The team projects for another quiet slate this week, with just one game against Chicago State at home on Friday. The Cougars don’t look great on paper, but recently upset Northwestern on the road, so perhaps they can push the Badgers in Madison. Don’t hold your breath, though.
#4 - Ohio State Buckeyes (-3)
The Buckeyes only the team’s only game last week, beating UCLA in Atlanta on Saturday. It was a hard fought game and Ohio State had just enough in the closing minutes to grab the win. Ohio State improved to 9-2 overall with the win.
Ohio State will return to action this week at home against New Orleans on Thursday. A win there would set the Buckeyes up with a really intriguing game against West Virginia in Cleveland to close the year.
#5 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (+2)
The Huskers had a solid week, winning the team’s only game on the road against Kansas State on Sunday. The win pushed Nebraska to 9-2 overall and marked the team’s second straight win over a top 100 opponent.
Nebraska is another team that has to feel great about its progress through 11 games. The team hasn’t looked elite, but it’s looked pretty good and largely avoided missteps. And beating Kansas State is another step in the right direction. At this point, if Nebraska can simply win the games it should, it will be in NCAA Tournament position at season’s end, which is a tremendous statement after the last few years.
The team only gets one game this week, which comes at home against North Dakota on Wednesday. The Huskers will be sizable favorites.
#6 - Michigan State Spartans (-1)
The Spartans scored a massive win in the team’s only game last week, blowing out a top 10 ranked Baylor team in Detroit. The win jumped the team up roughly 30 spots in the NET rankings in a single afternoon. Michigan State now sits at 5-5 overall following the victory.
Michigan State will get two more games this week, facing Oakland at home on Monday and Stony Brook at home on Thursday. The Spartans are big favorites in both games. Spartan fans will hope the team’s success against Baylor carries over to these matchups.
#7 - Northwestern Wildcats (+1)
The Wildcats had a pretty disappointing week. While Northwestern split its games, the loss was particularly rough, as the team fell at home to a terrible Chicago State team on Wednesday. Northwestern rebounded with a win over DePaul on the road on Saturday, but it hardly made up for the resume bomb the Chicago State loss delivered.
Northwestern will hope to add another win this week, heading out west to face Arizona State in Arizona on Wednesday. KenPom favors the Wildcats, but only narrowly. A win there would certainly help in making up for the Chicago State abomination.
#8 - Indiana Hoosiers (+2)
The Hoosiers lost the team’s only game of the week, though it came as a bit of a “moral victory” against Kansas. The game was highly competitive, with Indiana falling just a few buckets short in the closing minutes.
Through 10 games, Indiana has a bizarre resume. The team has three losses but all three were against top 10 opponents on KenPom, including Saturday’s game against Kansas. That’s not exactly terrible. However, Indiana also hasn’t beaten anyone of note either, with its best win likely being on the road against a struggling Michigan squad. It’s clear Indiana ranks somewhere between the elite and bottom tiers. We just don’t know where yet.
Indiana will get two more games this week, with Morehead State at home on Tuesday and North Alabama at home on Thursday. We won’t learn much in those two efforts, unless the Hoosiers struggle in one of the outings.
#9 - Michigan Wolverines (+1)
The Wolverines had a decent enough week on the court, beating the team’s lone opponent at home on Saturday in Eastern Michigan. It was Michigan’s second straight win and pushed the team to 6-5 overall.
Unfortunately, Michigan had a rough few days off the court, as Juwan Howard apparently had a confrontation with long-time strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson, which led to a formal university investigation and a statement from Athletic Director Warde Manuel. The initial aftermath of the incident remains resolved for now, but one has to wonder how it could boil over into the team for the remainder of the season, especially given Sanderson’s vital role for the program.
We’ll get some answers to those questions this week, as Michigan prepares for a vital game against Florida in Charlotte on Tuesday. The Wolverines desperately need a marquee win to improve their postseason hopes. This figures to be their best chance for at least a month.
#10 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1)
The Scarlet Knights won the team’s only game this week against LIU at home on Saturday. The win pushed Rutgers to 7-3 overall. It was the team’s second straight win after the rough opening to December.
Rutgers will get a marquee opportunity this week against Mississippi State in Newark on Saturday. KenPom projects the Scarlet Knights as underdogs. It would be the team’s biggest win of the season if they can pull it off.
#11 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-5)
The Hawkeyes bounced back after a rough week, beating Florida A&M in Des Moines on Saturday. It was an absolute blow out and Iowa was able to unload its bench for much of the outing. Iowa now sits at 6-5 overall following the victory.
Iowa will get another quiet week this time around, with the team’s lone game against UMBC at home on Wednesday. KenPom gives Iowa a 99 percent chance to win and it’s hard to disagree with that projection.
#12 - Maryland Terrapins (—)
The Terps won the team’s only outing this week, beating a terrible Alcorn State team at home on Tuesday night by 40 points. The win pushed Maryland to 6-4 overall and it remained 1-1 in league play. Don’t look now, but the team is quietly 5-1 over its last six games. Perhaps it can build some momentum heading into the new year.
Maryland will now prepare for two key games this week. The Terps get Nicholls State at home on Tuesday and UCLA on the road on Friday. KenPom expects a split, but the team really needs to find a way to upset the Bruins. Two victories could really change the tone of this season.
#13 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (—)
The Gophers won the team’s only game this week, beating IUPUI at home on Tuesday in a lopsided affair. The win pushed Minnesota to 8-3 overall and the team remained 1-1 in Big Ten play. It was Minnesota’s third straight win, which has to be welcome news after the missteps in November.
Minnesota’s only game this week comes against Ball State at home on Thursday. The Gophers are significant favorites in that one.
#14 - Penn State Nittany Lions (—)
The Nittany Lions lost the team’s only game this week, falling in New York to Georgia Tech on Saturday. The game was competitive, even going to overtime. Unfortunately, Penn State fell short and dropped to 5-6 overall.
Penn State will hope to get back on track this week with Le Moyne at home on Thursday. A loss there would be devastating to the team’s already slim postseason hopes.