After completing a season sweep of Michigan State, the Wolverines maintain the top spot in my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. Wisconsin continues to rise up the rankings, as well, taking the No. 2 spot from Michigan State. See where your team lands on my latest list in this post.
1. Michigan (19-7, 11-3). A season sweep of Michigan State keeps the Wolverines in the top spot this week. It’s time we start talking about Caris LeVert as an MVP candidate. He seems to play his best when the pressure is the highest. LeVert touches every aspect of the game. He also makes Andrew Dakich dance.
Last Week: 1
2. Wisconsin (22-5, 9-5). It seems like Frank Kaminsky had his manhood challenged by his coaching staff and teammates. He’s responded with 18 points per game and is shooting over 61 percent from the field in his last four games.
Last week: 3
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3. Michigan State (22-6, 11-4). The injuries and uncertainty in the lineup are starting to take its toll. The Spartans have alternated wins and losses in their last 10 games. Keith Appling is trying to gut it out, but he is nowhere near the top of his game.
Last week: 2
4. Ohio State (22-6, 9-6). Since Sam Thompson was inserted into the starting lineup, the Buckeyes offense has improved drastically. Their elite defense has been constant. It will be an interesting week coming up with games on the road at Penn State and Indiana.
Last week: 5
5. Iowa (19-7, 8-5). Yet another good opportunity for the Hawkeyes goes by the wayside as they lost at home to Wisconsin. I wonder if Iowa will ever think of itself as elite, like most of us in the media do. It’s a busy week ahead for the Hawkeyes with games at Minnesota and Indiana, as well as hosting Purdue.
Last week: 4
6. Nebraska (16-10, 8-6). The red-hot Huskers have ripped off wins in seven of their last eight games. They have put themselves in position for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. Nebraska’s remaining schedule is favorable for them to have a strong finish.
Last week: 6
7. Indiana (15-11, 5-8). The Hoosiers took advantage of their postponed game against Iowa by getting some extra practice during the week. It paid off with a hard-fought win at Northwestern. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State are up next.
Last week: 11
8. Minnesota (17-11, 6-9). Losers of three of their last four games, the Gophers find themselves in a critical position. Their once solid NCAA resume is suffering, especially with the home loss to Illinois. Iowa and Michigan give Minnesota two opportunities to get back on the bubble.
Last week: 7
9. Illinois (15-12, 4-10). Illinois finally broke though at Minnesota. John Groce’s team has been consistent with its effort on the defensive end. The emergence of Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill give Illini fans a glimpse of what the program has to offer next season.
Last week: 12
10. Purdue (15-12, 5-9). The Boilers were blitzed by the Spartans in a 3-point shooting display unlike any we’ve seen this season. Defense has been a consistent issue with Purdue. With games against Michigan and Iowa this week, it won’t get any easier.
Last week: 8
11. Penn State (13-14, 4-10). Penn State gave up 80 points to both Iowa and Nebraska in their last two losses. With Ohio State and Wisconsin this week, the Nittany Lions have to tighten up defensively to have a chance.
Last week: 10
[ MORE: Check out the latest Big Ten standings ]
12. Northwestern (12-16, 5-10). The Wildcats get a much needed week off after dropping a home game to Indiana. With five losses in a row and JerShon Cobb out for the season with a broken foot, I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen the best of Northwestern.
Last week: 9
– Team records are through February 23 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.|