Nobody picked Purdue as the Big Ten favorite during the preseason, but the polls and the metrics now believe the Boilermakers are the team to beat as they prepare to face Minnesota in Sunday's conference opener in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue (7-0) zoomed from unranked to No. 5 in the nation by thrashing West Virginia, Gonzaga and Duke in a 68-hour span to capture the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland, Ore. Then, after getting home from Portland at 5 a.m. Monday and getting into the Sunshine State at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Boilermakers still had enough to win by 10 points at Florida State despite a so-so showing. "We've got to guard better," said Purdue coach Matt Painter.
No. 7 Creighton bolted out of the blocks with six straight wins before stumbling against a pair of ranked teams. The Bluejays (6-2) will look to regain their footing Sunday when they host rival Nebraska (5-3) in Omaha, Neb. Ryan Kalkbrenner collected 20 points and a season-high 13 rebounds and Baylor Scheierman had 13 and 11, respectively, in Creighton's 72-67 loss at No. 2 Texas on Thursday.
While Iowa State proved worthy of being a ranked team with an impressive Thanksgiving weekend, St. John's is undefeated but lacking a signature win from its non-conference schedule. The 23rd-ranked Cyclones will look to continue their climb in the rankings and the Red Storm will seek the notable win to maintain their strong start Sunday afternoon when the teams convene in Ames, Iowa, in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. Iowa State (6-1), which made the Sweet 16 last season after winning two games in the 2020-21 season, earned its place in the rankings by beating Villanova and North Carolina -- which was No. 1 at the time - before being dominated inside by then-No. 20 UConn at last weekend's Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore.