Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Minnesota, Northwestern and Nebraska rise in latest power rankings

Illinois v Purdue
Illinois v Purdue / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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9. Minnesota (12-3, 3-1)

There hasn’t been a lot to celebrate in recent years for Minnesota. Since making the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the Golden Gophers have finished below .500 four straight years. It’s now year three for Ben Johnson running the show and year two was pretty rough, with Minnesota just 2-17 in league play against their Big Ten foes. Things are already going better this season.

The record speaks for itself, even if it hasn’t come against a very strong schedule. The Golden Gophers won nine games during the nonconference slate, though it’s very unlikely that any of those will be better than Quad 4 this season. The more impressive work has come against the Big Ten, with wins already against Nebraska, Michigan (on the road), and Maryland, with more wins already in conference play than last season.

Obviously, there’s more than meets the eye with that 12-win record. Dawson Garcia is averaging more than 16 points a game and there’s talent in this starting lineup, but the Golden Gophers have mostly been beating up on inferior foes. This 3-1 start in Big Ten play is not sustainable, especially with Ohio State the only real contender they’ve played to this point. It’s a good start in Minnesota, but the coming weeks will teach us what it really means for Johnson and company.