After posting two more wins and clinching at least a share of the Big Ten title, the Wolverines maintain the top spot in my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. See where your Big Ten team lands on my latest list in this post.
1. Michigan (21-7, 13-3). The young Wolverines found a way to win in overtime at Purdue, while both Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert were struggling. Michigan then held off the pesky Gophers in a win that puts it in position to claim the outright Big Ten title for the first time since 1986.
Last Week: 1
2. Wisconsin (24-5, 11-5). Wisconsin had an impressive road win at Penn State where they were just two points shy of placing five players in double figure scoring. Putting up 50 points in the second half against Indiana shows that the Badgers are returning to dangerous offensive form.
Last week: 2
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3. Michigan State (22-7, 11-5). The only reason for the Spartans to retain this position is the poor performance of the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes (1-4 between them) this week. The Spartans have lost two in a row at home and the losses were not as close as the score may indicate.
Last week: 3
4. Nebraska (17-11, 9-7). It’s tough for me to put the Huskers in this position while going only 2-6 on the road in conference play, but they have taken care of business at home. With eight wins in the last 10 games, Nebraska has placed itself firmly on the NCAA bubble.
Last week: 6
5. Iowa (20-9, 9-7). It wasn’t pretty, but the Hawkeyes got the job done at home against Purdue. This team’s defense has to improve if they want to get to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes wrap up a busy week (three games) on a positive note.
Last week: 5
6. Indiana (17-12, 7-9). Three straight games against ranked opponents would appear to be a recipe for disaster for the inconsistent Hoosiers. However, this team seems to be growing up with a 2-1 record, beating Iowa and Ohio State at home.
Last week: 7
7. Ohio State (22-8, 9-8). Before this week, the Buckeyes were rolling, winners of six of their last seven games. But road losses at Penn State and Indiana have Ohio State fans scratching their heads once again.
Last week: 4
8. Minnesota (18-12, 7-10). The Gophers were in the midst of an offensive slump until they put up 95 on Iowa in a much needed win. They fought hard at Michigan but couldn’t close the deal down the stretch. A win against Penn State is a must for this team’s NCAA tourney resume.
Last week: 8
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9. Illinois (17-12, 6-10). Don’t look now, but the Illini’s stifling defense just claimed another victim at Michigan State. That makes four straight opponents held under 50 points, resulting in three wins in a row.
Last week: 9
10. Penn State (14-15, 5-11). An impressive season sweep of Ohio State made for quite a senior night for Penn State guard Tim Frazier. The Nittany Lions played the Big Ten’s hottest team down to the wire. Head coach Pat Chambers continues to get the most out of his team.
Last week: 11
11. Purdue (15-14, 5-11). Down two players to injury, the Boilers gave Michigan everything they could handle. Purdue got down early at Iowa but fought back and took the lead. Matt Painter’s club is still fighting, despite mounting losses.
Last week: 10
12. Northwestern (12-17, 5-11). Chris Collins can be proud of the way his M.A.S.H. unit keep the games close and give themselves a chance. Penn State at home and at Purdue to close out the regular season are winnable games for the Wildcats.
Last week: 12
– Team records are through March 2 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.|