Big Ten Bounces Back with MTE Titles from Purdue, OSU, and Wisconsin

ROAD TO SELECTION SUNDAY, MN – We’ve completed Week #3 of the college basketball season, and we’re starting to get some answers about individual teams and conferences. And things ratchet up even more in Week #4 with conference play beginning in several conferences (including the Big Ten), as well as the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.

This week along with our weekly Field of 68 projection, I invite you into my warped brain as I jotted down random thoughts/musings while planted on the couch watching college hoops throughout Feast Week. Let’s see how it goes.

But first, our staple. …

FIELD OF 68 PROJECTION (through games played Nov. 26)

Teams in bold/italic denote the projected automatic qualifier in a multiple-bid conference. When the NCAA starts releasing daily NET rankings (likely later this week), the automatic qualifier will be the team with the best conference record or – in the event of a tie — best NET ranking.

America East (1): UMass-Lowell

American (2): FAU, Memphis

ACC (6): Clemson, Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech

ASUN (1): Stetson

Atlantic 10 (1): Dayton

Big East (5): Creighton, Marquette, Providence, UConn, Villanova

Big Sky (1): Weber State

Big South (1): Winthrop

Big Ten (6): Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Big XII (9): Baylor, BYU, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech

Big West (1): Hawaii

Colonial (1): Hofstra

Conference USA (1): Liberty

Horizon (1): Wright State

Ivy (1): Princeton

MAAC (1): Iona

MAC (1): Kent State

MEAC (1): Howard

Missouri Valley (1): Bradley

Mountain West (4): Colorado State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State

NEC (1): Sacred Heart

OVC (1): Morehead State

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, UCLA, USC

Patriot (1): Colgate

SEC (9): Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M

SoCon (1): Western Carolina

Southland (1): McNeese

SWAC (1): Prairie View A&M

Summit (1): South Dakota State

Sun Belt (1): James Madison

WCC (1): Gonzaga

WAC (1): Grand Canyon

Last 4 In:  Florida, New Mexico, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech

First 4 Out: Cincinnati, Colorado, NC State, Utah State

6 Other Power 6 Teams to Watch: Arkansas, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Utah, Xavier

6 Other Non-Power 6 Teams to Watch: Drake, Evansville, North Texas, San Francisco, Southern Illinois, UC-Irvine

Non-Power 6 At-Large Bids (4): Memphis, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State

Moving In (14): Colorado State, Florida, Hawaii, Hofstra, Howard, Kent State, New Mexico, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stetson, UMass-Lowell, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Wright State

Dropping Out (14): Akron, Arkansas, Boise State, Colorado, Drake, Iowa State, Lipscomb, Long Beach State, Norfolk State, Oregon, Pitt, Purdue-Fort Wayne, UNC-Wilmington, Vermont


1 The Gophers have two bona fide Big Ten-caliber players, Dawson Garcia and Pharrel Payne, and a third (freshman Cam Christie) that needs to start playing a ton of minutes in the event the program wants any chance to keep him beyond this season.

2 Colorado received a lot of love heading into the season. So far color me unimpressed with the Buffaloes. Maybe an NCAA tourney team, but UC’s non-conference schedule isn’t exactly conducive to building a strong resume.

3 Conversely from the Pac 12, new-look UCLA will hit a few speed bumps as Mick Cronin figures out his rotation, but the Bruins will be dangerous in March. Won’t want to play them.

4 Early leader in the clubhouse for the best mid-major conference? I’m rolling with the Missouri Valley. Bradley, Drake, Indiana State, Missouri State, Southern Illinois, and UIC all look promising in the early going.

5 I don’t like Indiana’s guards. Not a group you’ll win with in March. Probably not in January & February, either.

6 Not an Ethan Morton (Purdue) guy. Heady player, yes, but he’s one of those guys who when he’s on the court it feels like his team is playing 4-on-5 on the offensive end. Give athletic redshirt freshman Cam Heide more minutes.

7 Is the MAAC becoming the worst conference in Division 1? There’s a whole lot of yuck. Even perennial top dog Iona appears down this season.

8 It’s been easy to notice the new emphasis on block/charge calls. It seems like a lot more are now being called blocks instead of charges. Bravo! Count me in as a big fan of this development. I hate floppers.

9 Most disappointing team so far? For me it’s easy. … Saint Mary’s. The Gaels (2-3) have been a mess after some (including yours truly) pegged them to knock Gonzaga off its WCC regular-season throne. Runner-up? Michigan State.

10 Top 5 Big Ten coaches after Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington join the B1G ranks next season? In alphabetical order, I’ve got Dana Altman, Mick Cronin, Tom Izzo, Matt Painter, and Steve Pikiell.

11 Sadly, it appears the Gophers are on track to make their seemingly annual appearance in Weakling Wednesday at the Big Ten Tournament, formerly called the Rutgers Invitational.

12 St. Thomas (2-4 vs. D1 opponents) is finding out talent like Andrew Rohde is not easy to replace after they decide to transfer up. The 2022-23 1st team All-Summit League guard is now Virginia’s starting PG as a sophomore, averaging 6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 2.5 apg. The Tommies already have lost a pair of games they probably shouldn’t have to Cal Poly and Green Bay.

13 Tom Izzo doesn’t need my advice, but he needs to give freshman PG Jeremy Fears a lot more minutes. And senior PG enigma AJ Hoggard needs to decide if he wants to be an elite lead guard or remain a frustratingly inconsistent talent.

14 Utah State. Doesn’t matter who the head coach is, the Aggies just keep on winning. A very underrated high-major program that only lacks that breakthrough NCAA Tournament run.

15 T.J. Otzelberger is in his third season at Iowa State and has yet to lose a game to a non-Power 6 opponent.

16 Bracketed MTE (multi-team event) championships have been spread around among the conferences. The Big XII leads with 5 (Baylor, BYU, Houston, Oklahoma, UCF). The ACC (Clemson, Florida State, Miami), Big Ten (Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin), Mountain West (Colorado State, San Diego State, Utah State), and SEC (Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina) have 3 apiece, while the Big East (UConn, Villanova) and Missouri Valley (Bradley, Missouri State) have 2 each. Conferences with 1 MTE title are the American (FAU), CAA (Hofstra), Conference USA (Liberty), SoCon (UNC-Greensboro), and Sun Belt (James Madison).


1 Big XII (14-10)

2 SEC (18-13)

3 Big East (13-10)

4 Big Ten (12-15)

5 ACC (12-15)

6 Pac 12 (8-14)

REMAINING UNBEATENS (24)– Arizona, Baylor, Bradley, BYU, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado State, Evansville, Hawaii, Houston, James Madison, Liberty, Miami-Florida, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Princeton, Purdue, South Carolina, TCU, UConn, Western Carolina

Big Ten Non-Conference Record Projections (what I predicted & how they’re doing)

Illinois – projected 8-3 (currently 5-1)

Indiana – projected 8-3 (currently 5-1)

Iowa – projected 8-3 (currently 4-2)

Maryland – projected 9-2 (currently 3-3)

Michigan – projected 7-4 (currently 4-3)

Michigan State – projected 10-1 (currently 3-3)

Minnesota – projected 10-1 (currently 4-2)

Nebraska – projected 8-3 (currently 7-0)

Northwestern – projected 10-1 (currently 4-1)

Ohio State – projected 9-2 (currently 5-1)

Penn State – projected 8-3 (currently 4-3)

Purdue – projected 10-1 (currently 6-0)

Rutgers – projected 10-1 (currently 4-1)

Wisconsin – projected 8-3 (currently 4-2)

Big Ten Power Rankings

1 Purdue

2 Illinois

3 Michigan State

4 Ohio State

5 Wisconsin

6 Northwestern

7 Iowa

8 Nebraska

9 Indiana

10 Michigan

11 Rutgers

12 Maryland

13 Penn State

14 Minnesota

Summit League Power Rankings

1 South Dakota State

2 North Dakota State

3 North Dakota


5 Denver

6 South Dakota

7 St. Thomas

8 Omaha

9 Kansas City

Ski U Mah/Roll Toms in the Rankings

NET: n/a

KenPom: Gophers #136, Tommies #267

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