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Ranking the B1G: Upset City

Not a Banner week for several teams in the league.

NCAA Basketball: Rider at Penn State
We’re just as confused, Pat.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue and Michigan State are the two best teams in the Big Ten. There’s a massive valley between second-ranked Purdue and the third-ranked team in the Big Ten. Yet, three to 14 could be arranged in any way you want and I don’t think many people would argue. Every single one of those teams, including Purdue itself, has looked downright dreadful at times, while also showing flashes at other times.

1) Michigan State Spartans (Last Week: 1)

Previously: W vs Houston Baptist 107-62, W vs Long Beach State 102-60

Two cupcakes, two easy wins. Nothing to see here.

Up Next: vs Cleveland State (Sat), vs Savannah State (Sun)

2) Purdue Boilermakers (LW: 2)

Previously: W vs Tennessee State 97-48

See above.

Up Next: vs Lipscomb (Sat)

3) Ohio State Buckeyes (LW: 3)

Previously: W vs The Citadel 94-65, L vs No. 7 North Carolina 86-72*

So we know the Buckeyes are good enough to beat cupcakes, but not yet good enough to hang with the big boys. The North Carolina game was close for a good while, but the Tar Heels departed themselves late in the second half, and that was that.

Up Next: vs Miami, OH (Sat)

4) Michigan Wolverines (LW: 4)

Previously: W vs Alabama A&M 97-47

Alabama A&M is winless on the year. They were also blown out by another Big Ten team in Minnesota.

Up Next: vs Jacksonville (Sat)

5) Maryland Terrapins (LW: 5)

Previously: W vs Fairleigh Dickinson 75-50

Another team who took care of their easy opponent. With Big Ten play right around the corner, it will be interesting to see if some of the missing players will be ready to go.

Up Next: vs UMBC (Fri)

6) Minnesota Golden Gophers (LW: 6)

Previously: W vs Oral Roberts 77-63, vs Florida Atlantic 95-60

They struggled with Oral Roberts for most of the game, but had no issues handling Florida Atlantic. Nate Mason is day-to-day with an injury.

Up Next: vs Harvard (Sat)

7) Illinois Fighting Illini (LW: 13)

Previously: W vs Missouri 70-64*

Beating Missouri gives the Illini the bump this week. Let’s see if they can keep it up.

Up Next: vs Grand Canyon (Sat)

8) Nebraska Cornhuskers (LW: 11)

Previously: W vs UTSA 104-94, vs Delaware State 85-68

Nebraska was in a battle with UTSA, but the Huskers pulled away late. Delaware State is consistently one of the worst teams in D1 basketball.

Up Next: vs Stetson (Fri)

9) Northwestern Wildcats (LW: 7)

Previously: W vs Lewis 85-48), L at Oklahoma 104-78

As I said a few weeks ago, this will be repeated throughout the year: Northwestern brought almost everyone back from a tournament team. They shouldn’t be losing by 30 to anyone, let alone two teams this season so far. This team is, allegedly, too talented to be beaten this badly. They need to figure their shit out pronto.

Up Next: vs Brown (Sat)

10) Penn State Nittany Lions (LW: 8)

Previously: W vs Binghamton 80-65, L vs Rider 71-70

I don’t subscribe to the idea that teams should “never” lose to opponents of a lower caliber. In fact, I find the notion quite ridiculous. That said, this Penn State team shouldn’t have lost to Rider. They were up 10 well into the second half, and up four with mere seconds left. Also, if an unnamed someone is going to run their mouth, maybe, I don’t know, actually make a difference in the game?

Up Next: vs Coppin State (Sat)

11) Iowa Hawkeyes (LW: 14)

Previously: W vs Southern Utah 92-64, W vs Colorado 80-73*

Colorado isn’t anything to write home about this season, but they’re still decent enough to take notice. Maybe Iowa can turn things around? We shall see.

Up Next: vs Northern Illinois (Fri)

12) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (LW: 10)

Previously: L vs Stony Brook 75-73 (OT)

Another team bitten by the upset bug, Rutgers followed up their “program changing” win over Seton Hall by laying a massive egg against Stony Brook. Worse yet is the loss coming against Steve Pikiell’s former team.

Up Next: vs Hartford (Thu)

12) Wisconsin Badgers (LW: 12)

Previously: W vs Green Bay 81-60

Finally, Wisconsin played a game where they could relax and just beat an inferior opponent. They even covered the spread!

Up Next: vs Chicago State (Wed), vs UMass Lowell (Sat)

14) Indiana Hoosiers (LW: 9)

Previously: L vs Fort Wayne 92-72, W vs Tennessee Tech 87-59

Say what you will about Tom Crean, and there’s a lot to say. He did not, however, leave Archie Miller with a team bad enough to lose to two mid majors in one season, at home. One upset is forgivable. Two blowout losses is a trend.

Up Next: vs Youngstown State (Fri)

*Neutral site game

Ranking criteria:

  1. Recent performance
  2. Overall body of work
  3. Season expectations