Tom Izzo, Michigan State Spartans, Big Ten basketball

Joe Jackson and Ethan Carbone combine to give their Big Ten basketball power rankings two weeks into the season.

 

Matchup Of The Week: #18 Alabama vs. #12 MSU

Sneaky Good Matchup Of The Week: Ohio State vs. Cincinnati

1. Illinois

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)

Record: 4-1

Last week: Monmouth (W) 103-65, #8 UCLA (W) 79-70,  #16 Virginia (L) 61-70

This week: Lindenwood (Nov. 25 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: UCLA, Monmouth, Kansas City

Worst losses: N/A

Illinois dominated against a lesser opponent in Monmouth before taking a trip out to Vegas where they went 1-1. The Illini dominated the final 10 minutes of the UCLA game thanks to the likes of Terrance Shannon Jr. who played out of his mind with a 29-point game. Against Virginia, Illinois got sloppy in the final five minutes of the game which caused them to lose. Realistically that loss says a lot of good things about Illinois as well as Virginia. 

2. Indiana

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

Record: 4-0

Last week: Xavier (W) 81-79, Miami (OH) (W) 86-65

This week: Little Rock (Nov. 23 – 6:30 p.m.), Jackson State (Nov. 25 – 12:30 p.m.)

Best win: Xavier, Miami (OH), Morehead State

Worst losses: N/A

This Indiana team has lived up to expectations so far and a key reason for that is the play from All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis. Veteran point guard Xavier Johnson has also stepped up and hit big shots when it’s necessary. 

3. Iowa

Last week’s ranking: 5 (+2)

Record 4-0

Last week: Seton Hall (W) 83-67, Omaha (W) 100-64

This week: Clemson (Nov. 25 – 7 p.m.)

Best wins: Seton Hall, Omaha, NC A&T

Worst losses: N/A

All of Iowa’s preseason questions seem to be getting answered quickly this season. Kris Murray can take the next step. Filip Rebraca and Tony Perkins have filled holes on this Hawkeyes team. Iowa has been impressive and looked all the part against the Hall, but still have yet to play a ranked team.

4. Michigan State

Last week’s ranking:  6 (+2)

Record: 3-1

Last week: #4 Kentucky (W) 86-77, Villanova (W) 73-71

This week: #18 Alabama (Nov. 24 – 10:30 p.m.), Phil Knight Invitational Games TBD (Nov. 25 & 27)

Best wins: Kentucky, Villanova, Northern Arizona

Worst losses: N/A

Joey Hauser and Malik Hall have been running the big men and forward positions incredibly well, especially for being undersized. They have been able to get buckets as well as defend with ease and make it difficult for their opposition to gain ground. Against Kentucky, Hauser led all scorers with a total of 23 points.  

The Spartans also hold two incredible non-conference wins this early into the season, in Kentucky and Villanova.

5. Maryland

Last week’s ranking: 11 (+6)

Record: 5-0

Last week: Binghamton (W) 76-53, Saint Louis (W) 95-67, Miami (Fla) (W) 88-70

This week: Coppin State (Nov. 25 – 4 p.m.)

Best wins: Saint Louis, Miami (Fla), Western Carolina

Worst losses: N/A

Coming into the season many would have guessed a 1-2 stretch last week for the Terrapins. However, they were able to dominate teams that on paper look like potential NCAA Tournament teams. Saint Louis would’ve been ranked had they been undefeated, but instead Maryland clobbered them thanks to Donta Scott. The Terps are serious.

6. Purdue

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-2)

Record: 3-0

Last week: Marquette (W) 75-70

This week: West Virginia (Nov. 24 – 10 p.m.), Phil Knight Legacy games TBD (Nov. 25 & 27)

Best wins: Marquette, Austin Peay, Milwaukee

Worst losses: N/A

In their lone game of the week, Purdue dominated the paint, with Zach Edey gathering 13 rebounds to go along with 20 points against a Big East school. Freshman Braden Smith came into his own with a 20-point game. Purdue didn’t move down the power rankings because of a bad week, but just because of outstanding weeks from Maryland and Michigan State.

7. Ohio State

Last week’s ranking: 8 (+1)

Record: 3-1

Last week: Eastern Illinois (W) 65-43, San Diego State (L) 77-88

This week: Cincinnati (Nov. 22 – 5 p.m.), Maui Invitational game TBD (Nov. 23)

Best wins: Eastern Illinois, Robert Morris, Charleston Southern

Worst losses: N/A

Against San Diego State, the Buckeyes just couldn’t stop the Aztecs, letting them put up nearly 90 points. However, moving forward, this can be offset by the talented young freshman Bryce Sensabaugh who had 17 points, proving that Ohio State has potential as the season goes on.

8. Penn State

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-1)

Record: 5-1

Last week: Butler (W) 68-62, Furman (W) 73-68, Virginia Tech (L) 59-61, Colorado state (W) 68-56

This week: Lafayette (Nov. 25 – 7 p.m.)

Best wins: Butler, Furman, Colorado State, 

Worst losses: N/A

Penn State dominated Furman early and often in their game against them, however, in the second half it was all Furman, who almost came back for the upset. Against Virginia Tech, they played sloppy in the first half but regained their composure in the second half thanks to Andrew Funk. The Nittany Lions have already played six games and have looked promising at points, and get a much-needed one-game week.

9. Michigan

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-6)

Record: 4-1

Last week: Pitt (W) 91-60, Arizona State (L) 62-87, Ohio (W) 70-66

Next Week: Jackson State (Nov. 23 – 8:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Pitt, Ohio, Eastern Michigan

Worst losses: Arizona State

Michigan seems to struggle against good defenses as well as let up open threes to the other teams. Against Arizona State, they were held to a measly 33.9 FG% in an upset that turned ugly. On the bright side, a trio of wins against Pitt, Ohio, and Eastern Michigan show that the Wolverines have enough to build off.

10. Rutgers

Last week’s ranking: 9 (-1)

Record: 3-1

Last week: Temple (L) 66-72

Next Week: Rider (Nov. 22 – 7 p.m.), CCSU (Nov. 26 – 3 p.m.)

Best wins: Columbia, Sacred Herat, UMass Lowell

Worst losses: Temple

Against Temple, the Scarlet Knights struggled to get anyone going outside of their core. However, the Owls did defeat Villanova, so it’s hard to say that a close loss to the Owls is awful. Rutgers will play two more mid-major teams before the schedule starts to get tough the following week.

11. Wisconsin

Last week’s ranking: 10 (-1)

Record: 3-0

Last week: Green Bay (W) 56-45

Next Week: Dayton (Nov. 23 – 2:30 p.m.), Battle 4 Atlantis games TBD (Nov. 24-25)

Best wins: Stanford, Green Bay, South Dakota

Worst losses: N/A

Against Green Bay, the Badgers struggled from the floor shooting just 30.2% as a team. The defense was dominant as expected, and this week, we’ll learn a lot more about the Badgers.

12. Northwestern

Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)

Record: 4-0

Last week: Georgetown (W) 75-63, Purdue Fort Wayne (W) 60-52

Next week: Liberty (Nov. 22 – 8:30 p.m.), Pitt (Nov. 28 – 9 p.m.)

Best win: Georgetown, Northern Illinois, Purdue Fort Wayne

Worst losses: N/A

The Wildcats impressed, albeit against a bad Georgetown team, winning by double-digits in the Gavitt Games. Chase Audige and Boo Buie both had good games and should be key going forward.

13. Nebraska

Last week’s ranking: 14 (+1)

Record: 3-1

Last week: St Johns (L) 50-70, Arkansas Pine Bluff (W) 82-58

Next Week: Oklahoma (Nov. 24 – 5 p.m.), ESPN Events Invitational games TBD (Nov. 25 & 27)

Best wins: Omaha, Maine, Arkansas Pine Bluff

Worst losses: N/A

Nebraska couldn’t do anything right against St. John’s, turning the ball over 17 times, going 5-of-27 from three, and 29.7% from the field. It’s actually hard to believe the Cornhuskers led by ten at one point. This week, they play in the ESPN Events Invitational which should provide some challenges to help build back up after a rough week.

14. Minnesota

Last week’s ranking: 13 (-1)

Record: 4-1

Last week: DePaul (L) 53-69, Central Michigan (W) 68-60, Cal Baptist (W) 62-61

Next Week: UNLV (Nov. 23 – 10:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Cal Baptist

Worst Loss: DePaul

Losing to DePaul is never a good sign, especially by 16 points. The Gophers then narrowly squeaked by Central Michigan and Cal Baptist. This week, they get to play UNLV – mind you, a Runnin’ Rebels team who upset Dayton already this season. Times are tough for Minnesota.

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