Big Ten point guard power rankings: Ace Baldwin/Braden Smith drop double-digit dimes

Ace Baldwin is settling into his role as a distributor for Penn State, but after a 13-assist performance against Purdue, where does he rank among Big Ten point guards?

Penn State Nittany Lions guard Ace Baldwin Jr (1)
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Ace Baldwin Jr (1) / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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player. Braden Smith. 5. 12.4 ppg 6.9 asts. Braden Smith. Sophomore. . 492. Braden Smith.

Purdue’s young guards have been a big story, especially after Smith and Fletcher Loyer looked like they had never seen a full-court press before in the NCAA Tournament last season. Zach Edey is great, but he can only go as far as his now sophomore guards can take him. 

Smith is the primary ball-handler and distributor of the duo and on Sunday against Penn State, he was finished with 11 assists to just two turnovers. He only scored six points, but Edey had 30 points and 20 rebounds, so it’s not like Smith’s number was called very often. 

Last year, Smith averaged 4.4 assists with 2.0 turnovers a game, but this season both averages are up. He’s second in the conference at 6.9 assists but is also turning it over nearly three times a game.

Smith is shooting the lights out at 47.3% from the field and 48.2% from three, but none of it matters until the postseason. Purdue won’t be judged by a regular season Big Ten title or even the Big Ten tournament, Matt Painter, Zach Edey, and Smith and Loyer will be judged by how they perform in March and if they make it to the Final Four.