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Big Ten power rankings: Big Ten defeats ACC, Ohio State rises to No. 2 after win over Duke

The Big Ten was victorious in the Big Ten-ACC challenge this past week, which earned the conference a number of résumé-boosting wins. Conference play also started over the weekend, giving us a taste of how Big Ten foes stack up with each other. 

Here’s how I see the conference layout in this week’s Big Ten power rankings. (Stats per stats.ncaa.org, CBS Sports, kenpom.com through Dec. 5)

1) Purdue (8-0, 1-0) 

Best win: 80-74 vs. No. 5 Villanova (neutral site)

Worst loss: N/A

Recent standout: Jaden Ivey (19 pts vs. Iowa, 18 pts vs. Florida State)

NET: 1

KenPom: 2

SOS: 40

Quad 1 record: 3-0

Purdue will be the No. 1 team in the country when the next AP poll comes out after dominating Florida State in the Big Ten-ACC challenge. The Boilermakers’ first sign of weakness came in a down-to-the wire home game with Iowa, who was playing without Big Ten leading scorer Keegan Murray (24.6 ppg). Next up is a road trip to Rutgers, followed by neutral site contests with NC State and Butler.

2) Ohio State (6-2, 1-0)

Best win: 71-66 vs. No. 1 Duke

Worst loss: 71-65 at Xavier

Recent standout: E.J. Liddell (14 pts, 14 reb, 6 ast, game-winning shot vs. Duke)

NET: 28

KenPom: 21

SOS: 16

Quad 1 record: 2-2

Ohio State made a statement in its win over Duke that early season struggles aren’t indicative of what this team is made of. The Buckeyes were without Justice Sueing and Seth Towns against Duke, but Zed Key stepped up with 20 points. Ohio State is third in the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage to complement the frontcourt force of Kyle Young, Key and Liddell. 

3) Wisconsin (7-1, 0-0)

Best win: 65-63 vs. No. 12 Houston (neutral site)

Worst loss: 63-58 vs. Providence

Recent standout: Johnny Davis (25 pts, 5 reb vs. Marquette)

NET: 18

KenPom: 27

SOS: 61

Quad 1 record: 1-0

Wisconsin won on the road against Georgia Tech then returned to Madison and stomped Marquette 89-76. Johnny Davis has been the breakout star for the Badgers, but Brad Davison, Chucky Hepburn and Steven Crowl each contributed 15 or more points against Marquette. 

4) Michigan State (7-2, 0-0)

Best win: 64-60 vs. No. 22 UConn (neutral site)

Worst loss: 75-58 vs. No. 6 Baylor (neutral site)

Recent standout: Max Christie (11 pts vs. Louisville, 14 pts vs. Toledo)

NET: 19

KenPom: 23

SOS: 9

Quad 1 record: 2-2

Michigan State picked up a road win against Louisville (6-2) thanks to contributions from all over the roster. Tyson Walker dished out 10 assists, allowing six players to score in double figures. Malik Hall led the way with 15 points and five rebounds, to go along with nine points and 12 rebounds from Marcus Bingham Jr. against a tough Louisville frontcourt. Don’t doubt this Spartan team in what some thought would be a down year. 

5) Iowa (7-1, 0-1)

Best win: 75-74 at Virginia 

Worst loss: 77-70 at Purdue

Recent standout: Patrick McCaffery (15 pts, 5 reb at Purdue)

NET: 9

KenPom: 22

SOS: 146

Quad 1 record: 1-1

Iowa started the season 6-0, but hadn’t played a team inside the KenPom top 200. Well any questions were answered as the Hawkeyes jumped out to a huge lead against Virginia and held off a late comeback. Iowa then claimed one of the more impressive losses in all of college basketball when it hung tough at Purdue without Big Ten leading scorer Keegan Murray (24.6 ppg). Iowa is first in the Big Ten in turnover margin and second in 3-point shooting percentage. 

6) Indiana (7-1, 1-0)

Best win: 76-74 vs. St. John’s

Worst loss: 112-110 / 2OT at Syracuse 

Recent standout: Parker Stewart (47.7 3pt % leads Big Ten)

NET: 56

KenPom: 30

SOS: 341

Quad 1 record: 0-0

Indiana overcame a 17-point first half deficit at Syracuse only to lose in heartbreaking fashion in double overtime. While it was a loss, the fact that Indiana put itself in a position to win on the road after a big deficit was promising. Trayce Jackson-Davis is a first-team All-American candidate, and unlike from his first two seasons, he’s surrounded by Miller Kopp (28 pts vs. Syracuse) and Parker Stewart (47.7 3pt % leads Big Ten) who can knock down shots. 

7) Illinois (6-2, 1-0)

Best win: 82-72 vs. Notre Dame 

Worst loss: 71-51 vs. Cincinnati, (neutral site) 

Recent standout: Alfonso Plummer (21 pts vs. Notre Dame, 24 pts vs. Rutgers)

NET: 48

KenPom: 18

SOS: 212

Quad 1 record: 0-1

Illinois took care of business at home against Notre Dame in the Big Ten-ACC challenge then routed Rutgers by 35 points in the Big Ten opener – all without point guard Andre Curbelo. Utah transfer Alfonso Plummer has emerged as a strong second option, draining a Big Ten-high 24 3-point shots and converting all 23 free-throw attempts. It was a rough start for the Illini, but Brad Underwood is starting to figure things out. 

8) Minnesota (7-0, 0-0)

Best win: 81-76 at Mississippi State

Worst loss: N/A

Recent standout: Payton Willis (24 pts, 7 ast, 4 reb at Mississippi State)

NET: 36

KenPom: 90

SOS: 241

Quad 1 record: 1-0

The knock on Minnesota through five games was that it hadn’t played a Power Five opponent. But after winning on the road against Pittsburgh and Mississippi, Minnesota is the Big Ten’s early-season surprise story. Transfers Payton Willis and Jamison Battle are an experienced duo that is averaging over 15 points per game apiece. 

9) Michigan (5-3, 0-0)

Best win: 72-58 vs. San Diego State

Worst loss: 80-62 vs. Arizona (neutral site)

Recent standout: Caleb Houstan (8 pts, 7 reb vs. UNC, 17 pts vs. SDSU)

NET: 63

KenPom: 17

SOS: 45

Quad 1 record: 0-3

Michigan lost by 21 points at North Carolina in a game where the Wolverines were dominated in the paint. Hunter Dickinson managed just four points and five rebounds due to constant foul trouble, which allowed UNC’s Dawson Garcia and Armando Bacot to control the lane. Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan look like one of the Big Ten’s best freshman duos, but the new-look Wolverines still haven’t gelled. 

10) Northwestern (6-2, 1-0)

Best win: 67-61 at Maryland

Worst loss: 77-72 vs. Providence (neutral site)

Recent standout: Pete Nance (17 pts, 10 reb at Maryland)

NET: 42

KenPom: 37

SOS: 151

Quad 1 record: 0-2

Northwestern fell in soul-crushing fashion at Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Boo Buie tied the game with 20 seconds left, but Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia hit the game-winning shot with five seconds on the clock. Northwestern’s ceiling depends on how much Pete Nance (17.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) can hang with the Big Ten’s frontcourt elite. 

11) Nebraska (5-4, 0-1)

Best win: 74-65 vs. Sam Houston 

Worst loss: 75-74 vs. Western Illinois

Recent standout: Alonzo Verge Jr. (25 pts, 10 reb, 8 ast vs. NC State)

NET: 192

KenPom: 103

SOS: 283

Quad 1 record: 0-1

Nebraska had every chance to win at NC State, but let things slip away in a four-overtime loss on the road. The Cornhuskers got out to a 10-point lead at Indiana, but lost by 13 after a woeful shooting performance in the second half. Alonzo Verge Jr. and Bryce McGowens would start on a good amount of Big Ten teams, but depth is an issue for Nebraska. 

12) Penn State (4-3, 0-0)

Best win: 60-45 vs. Oregon State (neutral site)

Worst loss: 81-56 at UMass 

Recent standout: John Harrar (16 pts, 12 reb vs. Miami (FL))

NET: 137

KenPom: 91

SOS: 130

Quad 1 record: 0-2

Penn State lost its Big Ten opener at home to Ohio State after a nail-biting home loss to Miami (FL) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. John Harrar (10.9 rpg) is the Big Ten’s leading rebounder and Seth Lundy is putting up more than 15 points a game, but first-year head coach Micah Shrewsberry doesn’t have much after that. 

13) Maryland (5-4, 0-1)

Best win: 86-80 vs. Richmond (neutral site)

Worst loss: 71-66 vs. George Mason

Recent standout: Hakim Hart (18 pts, 7 reb vs. Northwestern)

NET: 155

KenPom: 52

SOS: 223

Quad 1 record: 0-0

Maryland and head coach Mark Turgeon mutually parted ways this week in a surprising move after Turgeon signed an extension this past offseason. A season with much promise for the Terrapins is now derailed after three straight losses, including a 67-61 home loss to Northwestern. Maryland added a couple standout transfers, but it now looks like the Terrapins will miss the NCAA tournament. 

14) Rutgers (4-4, 0-1)

Best win: 74-64 vs. Clemson

Worst loss: 53-51 vs. Lafayette

Recent standout: Ron Harper Jr. (23 pts, 9 reb vs. Clemson)

NET: 217

KenPom: 100

SOS: 202

Quad 1 record: 0-1

Rutgers lost three straight games to non-Power Five schools to set up a must-win game at home against Clemson. In a win it desperately needed, Rutgers defeated Clemson by 10 points behind a signature game from Ron Harper Jr. But point guard Geo Baker didn’t play against Illinois, and Rutgers lost by 35 as they cling to a .500 record through eight games. 

My name is Jack Ankony and I am a senior from Mount Prospect, Illinois. I have covered the Indiana football team the last two seasons, and my work with HN started on the baseball and women's basketball beats. I love to write and talk about sports.

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