By Chris Emma-
(CBS) He’s one of the better pure coaches in basketball, but he went down a wayward path. Matt Painter made bad decisions that set back his Purdue program.READ MORE: Two Chicago Police Officers Wounded By Accidental Friendly Fire While Confronting Suspect In Lyons, Police Say
Painter made some poor choices in recruiting, filling much of his roster with players not willing to work to his demands. His Boilermakers were talented, but they wouldn’t get better because they didn’t have the drive. So he rebuilt the team.
It started by identifying who would work to improve, then adding by subtracting. Painter then got back to recruiting what he terms as “Purdue guys,” those who will buy in.
The results have been promising, with the Boilermakers back in NCAA Tournament contention. Let’s take a look at this week’s Big Ten power rankings.
1.) Wisconsin (25-2, 13-1) — Forgot just the top spot in these rankings; the Badgers are in line for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
2.) Maryland (22-5, 10-4) — After a brief slump, Melo Trimble is back to being one of the Big Ten’s best players.
3.) Michigan State (19-8, 10-4) — It’s been an at-times bumpy path for Tom Izzo’s Spartans, but they’re a group that can make a run in the postseason.
4.) Purdue (18-9, 10-4) — The Big Ten’s best turnaround team is a threat to make some hay in the conference tournament.
5.) Ohio State (19-8, 8-6) — Sunday’s loss to Michigan was an alarming setback for a Buckeyes bunch that’s been consistent for much of this season.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cool Changes
6.) Indiana (19-9, 9-6) — The Boilermakers completed a season sweep of the Hoosiers, who haven’t been as good as their record indicates.
7.) Iowa (17-10, 8-6) — Needing a bounce-back win, the Hawkeyes trounced Nebraska in Lincoln. There’s still work to be done.
8.) Illinois (17-10, 7-7) — John Groce’s team has overachieved for most of this season, finding itself in tournament contention with about three weeks to go before Selection Sunday.
9.) Michigan (14-13, 7-8) — Overmatched and undermanned, the Wolverines got a big win over the Buckeyes. In a tough season, it was an effort to enjoy.
10.) Northwestern (13-14, 4-10) — It took some time, but the Wildcats can compete in the Big Ten. Keep an eye on Vic Law, the promising freshman who’s picking up his play.
11.) Minnesota (16-12, 5-10) — The second season of Richard Pitino has been a great disappointment. The Gophers were pegged to be much better than this.
12.) Nebraska (13-14, 5-10) — It’s hard to believe this was a tournament team a year ago. Now, the Huskers are becoming the Big Ten’s biggest bummer.
13.) Penn State (15-13, 3-12) — Sure, the Nittany Lions have been unlucky, but a 3-12 run in Big Ten doesn’t happen by accident. Patrick Chambers could be on the hot seat.
14.) Rutgers (10-18, 2-13) — There’s always that win over Wisconsin.MORE NEWS: North Side Condo Building Residents Alarmed By Mail Thefts Apparently Committed Using A Master Key
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.