Even after a week that saw Big Ten co-leaders Michigan and Michigan State suffer Sunday home losses, the top of my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, remains the same. The biggest change is at No. 3, where Wisconsin has surpassed Iowa. See where you team lands on my latest list in this post.
1. Michigan (18-7, 10-3). The Wolverines will have a full week to assess the damage from their home loss to Wisconsin. The Badgers held Michigan to 62 points, 13 below their average. Michigan will conclude its four-game stretch against the Big Ten elite when they host Michigan State on Sunday.
Last Week: 1
2. Michigan State (21-5, 10-3). On paper, it looked like Michigan State had two home winnable games last week. It took care of Northwestern with no problem; Nebraska was another story. The Huskers controlled the game throughout, while the Spartans looked hesitant without Keith Appling at full strength.
Last week: 2
3. Wisconsin (21-5, 8-5). Bo Ryan seems to have righted the ship, as the Badgers are scoring well again and defending like past Badger teams. Wisconsin held serve at home vs. Minnesota and dominated the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. The showdown at Iowa will determine the team that will challenge Michigan and Michigan State for the regular-season title.
Last week: 5
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4. Iowa (19-6, 8-4). The Hawkeyes depth wore down the Nittany Lions en-route to an impressive road victory. Can Iowa sustain its effort in a trip to Indiana against a desperate Hoosier squad? Then, Iowa gets another crack at the Badgers, who travel to Iowa City. This week will be crucial for Iowa’s Big Ten title hopes.
Last week: 3
5. Ohio State (20-6, 7-6). After winning three straight, the Buckeyes were licking their chops with Michigan coming to town. Ohio State couldn’t capitalize dropping an opportunity to gain ground in the conference race. They rebounded, however, and won a low-scoring affair at Illinois. Northwestern and Minnesota visit this week.
Last week: 4
6. Nebraska (14-10, 6-6). I think it’s safe to say that was the best week for Husker basketball since joining the Big Ten. Nebraska has now won 5 of its last 6 games, and the win at Michigan State was impressive because the Huskers controlled the game throughout. It may be time to start mentioning the Huskers as an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament if they can beat Penn State and Purdue at home this week.
Last week: 8
7. Minnesota (17-9, 6-7). The Gophers rebounded nicely from their loss at Wisconsin by holding off Northwestern on the road to keep their at-large bid intact. Hosting Illinois and a trip to Ohio State can prove beneficial if they can win and push their conference record above .500.
Last week: 7
8. Purdue (15-10, 5-7). Two very good challenges await the Boilers this week. Purdue will host an angry Michigan State team on Thursday and travel to red-hot Nebraska on Sunday. If the young Boilers can bring the same effort and intensity they displayed against Indiana, it could get interesting.
Last week: 10
9. Northwestern (12-14, 5-8). The Wildcats have lost three in a row and four of their last six games. In two of the last three losses, Northwestern has failed to score 50 points. The ball-control-possession approach has given the Wildcats a chance to compete but they’ve got to find more consistent scoring.
Last week: 6
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10. Penn State (13-13, 4-9). The Iowa Hawkeyes proved to be a difficult matchup for Penn State. As usual, Penn State played tough but couldn’t slow down Iowa’s potent offense. Another tough road game looms as Penn State travels to Pinnacle Bank to take on Nebraska.
Last week: 12
11. Indiana (14-11, 4-8). Things appear to be unraveling in Bloomington. Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s situation doesn’t help a young team that was stunned at home by Penn State and was whipped by their rival Purdue. Things don’t get any easier with Iowa coming to town and a trip to Northwestern this week.
Last week: 9
12. Illinois (14-12, 3-10). It was a case of too much Shavon Shields in the Nebraska game and too many turnovers against Ohio State. Add it all up, and the Illini are back in the basement this week. Illinois, which has only one game this week (at Minnesota), is playing for pride only at this point.
Last week: 11
– Team records are through February 16 action.
|About Stephen Bardo
||The BTN basketball analyst and former Flyin’ Illini star is a regular contributor to BTN.com. Follow Bardo on Twitter @stephenbardo, read his past posts right here, and use the form below to submit your questions to his Big Ten basketball mailbag.|