Big Ten Power Rankings: Is Purdue still the number one team?

Purdue v Indiana
Purdue v Indiana / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Big Ten play is in full swing, as every team has played at least three conference games. Some teams look great, others look dysfunctional, but most teams in the league look completely average thus far. This may make ranking all these so-called “average” teams difficult, but that doesn’t matter because we’re ranking every Big Ten team anyway. 

1. Purdue

In a set of rankings that some may disagree with, having Purdue at number one is probably not something people will disagree with, although they may not still be the consensus number one team in the conference. They have ranked wins over Gonzaga, Tennessee, Marquette, Arizona, and Illinois and a 6-2 conference record, showing they are still the top team despite not having the best conference record. Their only losses were at Northwestern and Nebraska, resulting in court storming but respectable losses in challenging road environments.

2. Wisconsin

Wisconsin, the top team in the current conference standings, ranks number two in the power ranking. While they are the only team with just one loss in conference play, Purdue has looked like the more talented team. That's not to say the Badgers have looked like a top team, which they have with wins over Marquette, Virginia, and Michigan State. With losses to respectable opponents Tennessee, Providence and Arizona, this team deserves their top two spots, in these rankings, despite their recent loss to Penn State.

3. Illinois

Illinois has looked like a very solid team so far this season, having wins over FAU, Northwestern, and Michigan State. Their star guard, Terrence Shannon Jr. is currently dealing with legal issues, but on Sunday he returned to action against Rutgers. They recently dropped one to Maryland at home, not something you’d like to see with a team of this caliber. Although they lost that one, they are still a very good group, which is why they are still slotted in the top three in the conference power rankings. 

4. Nebraska

One of the more surprising teams in the Big Ten, Nebraska, comes in at number four in the power rankings. The Huskers have some big wins on the season, with home wins over Michigan State and Purdue boosting their resume. They recently lost two in a row, but bounced back on Sunday against Northwestern, which is why they’re ranked above the Wildcats in these rankings. Nonetheless, this is a very good team poised to win their first ever NCAA tournament game this season.

5. Northwestern

The other team that has beaten the number one power ranked Purdue, the Northwestern Wildcats, come in at number five. NU has some solid wins on the year, to Dayton, Michigan State, and already mentioned Purdue, and have looked good throughout the season. This has its exception when they played Chicago State, a game they lost in shocking fashion. Despite this, they are still one of the better teams in the Big Ten as of right now.  

6. Michigan State

Michigan State may be one of the three most talented teams in the league, but they find themselves at number six because of how they’ve played their schedule. Although they do not have any truly bad losses, having seven of them is more than most would have expected at this point in the season. Having wins over Baylor and Indiana State does help out the Spartans, who are still very talented and should make noise in postseason play. 

7. Ohio State

Another team on the bubble is Ohio State, who would have been much higher in these rankings a couple of weeks ago, but have dropped three games recently in conference play. They bounced back with a win over Penn State, but having a loss to Michigan is not a loss you want to have on your resume. Having solid wins over Alabama and West Virginia, though are keeping them in the NCAA Tournament conversation, one they could make if they play well down the stretch. 

8. Indiana

The Hoosiers come in at number eight in the conference rankings, probably to the dismay of many IU fans. Not because they may think Indiana should be higher, but because the talent on this team should result in more wins that would give them a better ranking. Eight is the best I can give the Hoosiers, mostly because of the lack of good wins, but also because of the amount of beat-downs they have suffered. It’s not too late for this team to turn it around, but the NCAA Tournament will pass them by if they don’t pick up some big wins late in the season.

9. Minnesota

The Gophers slot in at number nine, with the three straight losses they have suffered hurting their ranking. They won seven straight in December-January, where they looked like a top team in the conference, but they have come back to earth recently, dropping several spots in the league standings. Minnesota seems to have fallen off the bubble, with little chance to make the Tournament without a major turnaround. 

10. Iowa

Iowa rounds out the top ten in these rankings with some good wins, but also several losses on their schedule. They had a solid win over Seton Hall early, but lost to Michigan at Home, which is a bad loss at this point in the season. This is not as talented a team as previous Hawkeye squads, but have looked solid at times, meaning they could get hot and make a run as we move late in the season. 

11. Maryland

Maryland comes in at eleven in these rankings, a spot much lower than people would have expected in the preseason. They’ve dropped far too many games to be ranked higher, but do have a win over Illinois on the road, which really bolsters their resume. Besides this game, they have looked like a bottom team in the conference, really disappointing those who thought this could be a top team in the Big Ten.

12. Penn State

A team possibly on the rise, Penn State, comes in at number twelve with their big win over Wisconsin. They’re the only team to beat the Badgers in league play, showing how good this team could be if they play up to their potential. Unfortunately, they haven’t played up to this caliber for most of the season, sporting a losing record thus far. Despite this, they are looking better and could move up these rankings if they keep it up.

13. Rutgers

Another one of this year’s bottomfeeders, Rutgers, barely misses out on the last-place spot, but at times have played the part. The Scarlet Knights usually play tough at home, but otherwise have looked like a lowly team. Wins over Nebraska and Seton Hall are helpful, but their schedule is not as strong as others, resulting in this thirteenth place spot. 

14. Michigan

And last, and pretty much least, we have Michigan rounding out the rankings. They have had a very disappointing season, with far too many losses, including six-out-of-seven. Their best win is against St. John’s, but that seems like ages ago because of how many games they’ve dropped since then.