Greg Gard, Wisconsin Badgers, Big Ten basketball

Joe Jackson and Ethan Carbone combine to give their Big Ten basketball power rankings for week 7.


Matchup of the week: Michigan vs. North Carolina

Sneaky good matchup of the week: Illinois vs. Missouri

All times listed are EST.

1) Purdue Boilermakers

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)

Record: 11-0 (2-0)

Last week: Davidson (W) 69-61

This week: New Orleans (Dec. 21 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: Gonzaga, Duke, Marquette, West Virginia

Worst losses: N/A

Purdue had yet another scare as they took on Davidson and it was neck and neck for a while until the Boilermakers finally pulled through thanks to a big night from NPOY front-runner Zach Edey. Purdue struggled yet again from outside the arc shooting just 3-of-25 but were able to outrebound Davidson with ease.

2) Illinois Fighting Illini

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

Record: 8-3 (0-2)

Last week: Alabama A&M (W) 68-47

This week: Missouri (Dec. 22 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: Texas, UCLA, Syracuse

Worst losses: N/A

Illinois took on Alabama A&M and from the get-go, it was sloppy although Illinois had a 17-point lead at halftime. The Bulldogs were able to cut that lead to one in the second half before Illinois started to rally back. The Illini continues to struggle from deep and they continue to play down to their opponents throughout games where they are the favorite.

3) Indiana Hoosiers

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-)

Record: 8-3 (1-1)

Last week: @ #8 Kansas (L) 62-84

This week: Elon (Dec. 20 – 7 p.m.) Kennesaw State (Dec. 23 – 7 p.m.)

Best wins: North Carolina, Xavier, Nebraska

Worst losses: Rutgers

Indiana visited Allen Fieldhouse and it went about as well as it does for most teams when they visit. The Hoosiers got beat in every major statistical category except blocks and personal fouls. The loss of Xavier Johnson affected the team’s performance and looks scary for the future as standout freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino will need to take another massive step forward.

4) Wisconsin Badgers

Last week’s ranking: 6 (+2)

Record: 9-2 (2-0)

Last week: Lehigh (W) 78-56

This week: Grambling State (Dec 23 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: @ Maryland, @ Iowa, Marquette, Dayton, USC

Worst losses: Wake Forest

Wisconsin was able to dominate by outshooting Lehigh from anywhere on the court as they went 31-for-60 from the field and 11-for-21 from three. Although the first half wasn’t clean by any means coach Gard’s halftime adjustments led to the BAdgers outscoring the Mountain Hawks 47-24 in the second half.

5) Ohio State Buckeyes

Last week’s ranking: 5 (-)

Record: 7-3 (1-0)

Last week: North Carolina (L) 84-89

This week: Maine (Dec. 21 – 8:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Texas Tech, Rutgers, Cincinnati

Worst losses: N/A

Ohio State took on the pre-season number one team and took them to the ropes, but wasn’t able to finish the job in overtime. Standout freshman Brice Sensabaugh scored 22 points in the loss. The Buckeyes’ rebounding has been incredible as they matched up with the Tar Heels toe to toe and have been solid all season.

6) Maryland Terrapins

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-2)

Record: 8-3 (1-1)

Last week: #16 UCLA (L) 60-87

This week: Saint Peters (Dec. 22 – 6:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Illinois, Miami (Fla), Saint Louis

Worst losses: N/A

The Terrapins were dominated from the opening tip as they could not get anything going until it was too late being down 29 points at the half. Despite making twice as many three-pointers as UCLA, Maryland could not do anything against the fast break turning the ball over 16 times.

7) Penn State

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)

Record: 8-3 (1-1)

Last week: Canisius (W) 97-67

This week: Quinipiac (Dec. 22 – 8:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Illinois, Furman, Butler

Worst losses: Clemson

Penn State dominating the second half is the story for the lone game of the week for the Nittany Lions. After a close first half, Penn State was able to pull away from Canisius in the second half. They played well on both sides of the ball, forcing 13 turnovers and shooting 59.1% from beyond the arc.

8) Iowa Hawkeyes

Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)

Record: 8-3 (0-1)

Last week: SEMO (W) 106-75

This week: Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Iowa State, Clemson, Seton Hall

Worst losses: N/A

Even with Kris Murray out, Iowa was able to beat out SEMO by 29 points dominating from beginning to end and especially on the boards. Iowa outrebounded SEMO 47-30, which again, is noteworthy without Murray. Filip Rebraca has been filling in nicely and had a career game with 30 points.

9) Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)

Record: 7-4 (1-1)

Last week: Wake Forest (W) 81-57

This week: Bucknell (Dec. 23 – 5 p.m.)

Best wins: Indiana, Wake Forest, Sacred Heart

Worst losses: Temple

Rutgers picked up a really nice win, taking down Wake Forest in a game that wasn’t even really close. The Scarlet Knights showed their offensive skillsets, with five players hitting double-digits in points. Rutgers also doubled Wake’s assists and made 11 more field goals than the Demon Deacons.

10) Michigan State Spartans

Last week’s ranking: 11 (+1)

Record: 7-4 (1-1)

Last week: N/A

This week: Oakland (Dec. 21 – 6:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Kentucky, Villanova, @ Penn State, Oregon

Worst losses: Northwestern

Michigan State didn’t play at all last week and moves on to a potential trap game that they should win.

11) Michigan Wolverines

Last week’s ranking: 11 (-1)

Record: 7-3 (1-0)

Last week: Liscomb (W) 83-75

This week: UNC (Dec. 21 – 7 p.m.)

Best wins: Pittsburgh, Ohio, Minnesota

Worst losses: N/A

Kobe Bufkin, Jett Howard, and Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines to a scrappy win over Liscomb in a game that they were favored by 15 at home. Both teams played well, although they were evenly matched with neither making nor taking many more shots than the opponent. This week, the Wolverines get a huge test against North Carolina.

12) Northwestern Wildcats

Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)

Record: 8-2 (1-0)

Last week: Depaul (W) 83-45

This week: UIC (Dec. 20 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: Michigan State, Liberty, DePaul

Worst losses: Pittsburgh

Northwestern dominated against crosstown school DePaul thanks to Chase Audige and his 28-point performance. The Wildcats made 13 more field goals and seven more 3-point field goals than the Blue Demons. Eight Wildcats were able to grab three or more rebounds in a classy performance on the boards.

13) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Last week’s ranking: 13 (-)

Record: 6-6 (0-2)

Last week: Kansas State (L) 56-71

This week: Queens NC (Dec. 20 – 7:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Creighton, Boston College, Florida State

Worst losses: N/A

Nebraska shot poorly against Kansas State, shooting just 32.1% from the field and with just one player scoring in double figures. As a team, they only made four three-pointers and turned the ball over 18 times. The Cornhuskers should be coming up on a win against Queens, but nothing is guaranteed.

14) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Last week’s ranking: 14 (-)

Record: 5-6 (0-2)

Last week: Arkansas Pine Bluff

This week: Chicago State (Dec. 22 – 7:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Cal Baptist, Central Michigan, Western Michigan

Worst losses: DePaul

Freshman Braeden Carrington had a breakout game scoring 20 and Jamison Battle scored 18 to put the Golden Gophers atop the Golden Lions. Minnesota hit seven more threes than Arkansas Pine Bluff in the win, as they look to get back to .500 on the season against Chicago State.