clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten Power Rankings: Purdue Rises Above

Purdue is far and away the top team in the Big Ten.

Dec 10, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter talks with guard Fletcher Loyer (2) and guard Ethan Morton (25) during a break in the action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Back after a long hiatus, our basketball power rankings are here again! As opposed to doing these at the start of the season, waiting a few weeks to get a sense of what teams were doing seemed prudent, as ranking teams off reputation never seemed like that appealing of a task.

This time around we’re doing a group effort, as several members of our staff have pitched in to give their thoughts on the conference so far, so the rankings are an average of what everyone thinks of each team to date. Without further ado, let’s get some rankings!

1: Purdue Boilermakers

The Boilers are red hot, undefeated on the season, and ranked atop the AP for the second time in school history. A team many expected to take a step back due to their departures, Purdue seems to have reloaded quite well and is looking like a team that wants to finish what they started last season.

2: Maryland Terrapins

The Terps also started red hot, but they stumbled against Wisconsin then lost a close one to Tennessee, dropping them a spot in the rankings. They get UCLA on Wednesday to make up for the losses last week, so we’ll see if the hot start was smoke and mirrors or if Maryland is ready to contend for a Big Ten title.

3: Indiana Hoosiers

Another team that looked invincible to start the season, Indiana has crashed back to earth a little after losses to Rutgers and Arizona. The Wildcat loss is forgivable, but a team with hopes to win the Big Ten and more should probably not drop a game against a team that only mustered 45 points in their latest outing. More on that later!

4: Wisconsin Badgers

Here they are, once again, expected to finish at the bottom of the conference, but somehow managing to exceed expectations once more. This Wisconsin team is looking a lot more like Wisconsin teams of old, as there is no Johny Davis on the squad to help them offensively, as a result, they’re back to being one of the slowest teams in the country, but are only shooting 45 percent from the field. As long as games continue to be defensive slugfests, the Badgers should be alright.

5: Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois finds itself this low on the rankings solely due to its inconsistency. Their highs are incredibly high, as they’ve taken down Nos. 8 and 2 UCLA and Texas, respectively, but have also lost to Maryland and Virginia, which, like Indiana above, are forgivable, but getting blown out on their own court against Penn State is unacceptable for a team with conference title aspirations.

6: Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State seems to be quietly going through the season, squeaking their way into the top 25 almost unnoticed. Their only losses so far are to ranked San Diego State and Duke, both away from home, and the other game where the outcome wasn’t in hand in the closing minutes was last week, as they needed a buzzer beater to beat Rutgers at home. They still have North Carolina left on the non-conference before the buy games to end the year, but with how the Tar Heels are doing right now, that shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

7: Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa would be higher on this list if Kris Murray weren’t missing from the lineup. The Hawkeyes have mostly taken care of business, but missing Murray meant playing into Wisconsin’s hand, and letting the game slip away in the closing minutes. They do have a win against then-ranked Iowa State, but that’s offset by losses to Duke and TCU.

8: Michigan State Spartans

No Big Ten team has played a more difficult schedule than the Spartans, who have faced a whopping five of their non-conference opponents away from home! And, while losing to the likes of Alabama and Gonzaga is no big deal, the home loss to Northwestern has a lot to do with why they’re ranked down so low. Don’t expect Michigan State to stay down here long, as they’ve been playing without Malik Hall for a few weeks.

9: Michigan Wolverines

Like Ohio State, Michigan seems to also be going through the season almost unnoticed, losing to all the ranked teams on their schedule and beating all the unranked foes. The worst of the offenders was the 25-point loss to Arizona State, with the losses to Virginia and Kentucky being better contested. Michigan also plays North Carolina, so we’ll see if the Wolverines can notch another win against a power conference opponent not named Minnesota before conference play resumes, as their lone power win is against a not-so-good Pitt team.

10: Penn State Nittany Lions

The Lions were in a bit of a slide before blowing the doors off Illinois, and would have been ranked a lot lower if Saturday hadn’t happened. But Saturday did happen, and the Lions can take some momentum into the buy games as they prepare for the meat grinder that is conference play.

11: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers seems to really be missing the services of Geo Baker and Ron Harper, Jr. The Scarlet Knights are 141st in adjusted offensive efficiency, so they’ve had to rely on their stellar defense, ranked 3rd in efficiency, to stay in games. This may be the works of a vintage Rutgers team under Steve Pikiel, one that plays tenacious defense and hopes for the best on offense. Don’t be surprised if it’s another “can’t lose at home, can’t win on the road” season for the Knights.

12: Northwestern Wildcats

They beat Michigan State, so they get the edge over Nebraska on that merit. They played Auburn tough, but lost, got blown out at home by Pitt, and haven’t played anyone of note outside of those three. Who knows what kind of team Northwestern is this season, but after the collapse of last year, it can’t be much worse, right?

13: Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Huskers’ calling card so far was having beaten Creighton on the road. The Jays have not won since (so the Nebraska curse extends to basketball then?), and now that win has lost all its luster. They also gave Purdue everything the Boilers could handle, so Nebraska is going to be a vastly improved team over last season. Whether that means a vastly improved record is yet to be seen.

14: Minnesota Golden Gophers

What Nebraska was for so many seasons The Gophers have become. With only one returning starter in Jamison Battle, Minnesota has struggled to gain any consistency. Every power conference opponent they’ve faced has beaten them by double digits, with an extra loss to UNLV sprinkled in for good measure. One could argue Minnesota’s schedule is the second toughest in the league, if only because of how bad the Gophers themselves have been to date.