Teams in the Big Ten are finally starting to shake off the rust that they may have picked up in the offseason. At this point in the season, ball clubs are starting to get a feel for lineups and can begin building new concepts week over week. They will all have the rest of the month for their tuneups before their respective Big Ten-ACC matchups and early conference games.Two teams are worth mentioning due to their wins looking better or their losses looking worse. On the positive, Penn State’s win over Georgetown is starting to look really good with Georgetown’s thumping of Texas. Speaking of Texas, Purdue’s losses to the Longhorns, as well as Marquette, look worse.
November 22, 2019 Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings
No. 14 Northwestern (1-2, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Week: Loss vs. Radford 56-67
Northwestern entered the week with both one win and one loss on the season and faced the Radford Highlanders Tuesday night. The Wildcats came out on the wrong end for the second time this season, losing to the Highlanders by 11 points. Radford went on a 17-0 run during the first half and Northwestern never recovered as their cold shooting night from the field played a key role in their defeat.
No. 13 Nebraska (1-2, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Week: Win vs. South Dakota St. 90-73
After starting the season with back-to-back losses, Nebraska picked up their first win of the season against South Dakota State. The Cornhuskers held the Jackrabbits to 14% shooting from the three-point line and used their scoring on the inside to put South Dakota State away for good. Nebraska is back in action Friday night with a home contest against the Southern Jaguars and then host the Washington State Cougars on Monday.
No. 12 Minnesota (2-3, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Week: Loss at Utah 69-73, Win vs. Central Michigan 82-57
Minnesota ended a three-game losing skid after defeating Central Michigan Thursday night for their second win of the season. Over the next week, the Golden Gophers have match ups against North Dakota and DePaul respectively. North Dakota has just one win on the season while DePaul is currently 5-0 with a victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road.
No. 11 Rutgers (4-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Week: Loss vs. St. Bonaventure (Neut.) 74-80, Win vs. Stephen F. Austin 69-57
Rutgers gets their first loss of the season against a winless St. Bonaventure team on a neutral court. Expectations for this Scarlet Knights team need to be tempered once again; however, they do have an opportunity to earn wins against the middle to low tier of the Big Ten. Rutgers is getting good utilization from Stony Brook transfer Akwasi Yeboah.
No. 10 Iowa (3-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week: Win vs. Oral Roberts 87-74, Win vs. North Florida 83-68
Iowa has not been able to stop softer teams defensively, but Luka Garza is the centerpiece of this team. He has had 59 points in the last week over the two games and continues to lead the Big Ten in productivity. If they can fix up their defense, they should have a decent season as well.
No. 9 Purdue (2-2, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Week: Win vs. Chicago St. 93-49
The Boilermakers stopped the bleeding with a blowout win over Chicago State, in which the bench scored 52 of the team’s 93 points. Unfortunately, for the Boilermakers, other teams have passed them up due to accumulating wins and because Purdue’s losses to Marquette and Texas look worse today than last week. Purdue has one more tune-up game on Saturday night before brutal back-to-back-to-back contests against VCU, FSU/Tennessee, then Virginia.
No. 8 Illinois (4-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Week: Win vs. Hawaii 66-53, Win vs. Citadel 85-57
Illinois will continue to have to wait before they can prove they live up to the hype. They are taking care of business against lesser schools and will play Miami, Maryland, and Michigan in early December.
No. 7 Indiana (5-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Week: Win vs. Troy 100-62, Win vs. Princeton 79-54
Indiana continues to rack up wins against one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the country. They will continue to play lower teams for another week before the Big Ten/ACC matchup against Florida State. IU appears to have a lot more depth than last year and can be a consistently difficult team to play, even with injuries.
No. 6 Penn State (4-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Week: Win vs. Bucknell 98-70
One of five remaining B1G unbeaten teams, Penn State is looking to stand out among a muddled middle of the pack in the conference. Lamar Stevens launched his B1G POY campaign on Wednesday, dropping 27 and 8 against Bucknell, keying a 28-point win. The Nittany Lions travel to NYC on Wednesday to take on Ole Miss in the NIT Tip-Off and will face Oklahoma St. or Syracuse two days later.
No. 5 Wisconsin (4-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Week: Win vs. Marquette 77-61, Win vs. Green Bay 88-70
The Badgers had an impressive win in the Gavitt Games against Marquette, winning at home with a 16-point margin. The Marquette team that they beat was the same one that knocked off Purdue just last week. Things are starting to get interesting for a balanced Wisconsin team that has 6 players averaging 8.0 points per game or more.
No. 4 Michigan (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Week: Win vs. Elon 70-50
Michigan is shooting 35% from deep so far this year. If that continues or slightly improves, MSU, Maryland, and OSU definitely have to watch out. We cannot overlook this team just because of a coaching change. There’s too much talent to ignore.
No. 3 Maryland (4-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Week: Win vs. Oakland 80-50, Win vs. Fairfield 74-55
Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith continue to lead the undefeated Terrapins. They’ve scheduled easy so far, so we won’t know how good they are until December. Maryland has 8 players playing at least 10 minutes per game. We’ll see if that depth pays off later.
(Tie) No. 1 Michigan State (3-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Week: Win vs. Charleston Southern 94-46
MSU’s loss to UK looks worse after Evansville’s giant upset and the Wildcats’ disappointing follow-up effort against Utah Valley. The Spartans shouldn’t look back though as they face Virginia Tech to start the Maui Invitational on Monday. A tournament final matchup with Kansas looms, and then a home showdown with Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. We will learn plenty about the Spartans over the next two weeks.
(Tie) No. 1 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Week: Win vs. Stetson 86-51
The Buckeyes remain atop the rankings after a lopsided win over Stetson. Kaleb Wesson won B1G Player of the Week on Monday, but older brother Andre picked up an eye injury and will miss some time. OSU should start 7-0 before heading to #5 UNC on December 4th.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ