The regular season is in the books, and what a year it was! Michigan won its first outright Big Ten crown since 1986, however no team may be hotter than Nebraska. Yes, Nebraska. The Huskers jumped up to No. 2 in my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. See where your Big Ten team lands in this post.
1. Michigan (23-7, 15-3). Congrats to the Michigan Wolverines for winning their first outright Big Ten regular season title since 1986! Quite an accomplishment in this ultra-competitive league. Crushing the Illini and beating the Hoosiers to finish up the regular season gives them great momentum going into the Big 10 tourney.
Last Week: 1
2. Nebraska (19-11, 11-7). After beating Wisconsin, the Huskers have won 10 of their last 12 games. When Shields and Petteway can score 26 points apiece, there won’t be many teams that will beat them. Tim Miles a close second in Big Ten Coach of the Year for me..
Last week: 4
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3. Wisconsin (25-6, 12-6). Losing at Nebraska in their final regular season game says more about how good the Huskers are in their building than it does about the Badgers. Sam Dekker must become more consistent if Wisconsin wants to win Big Ten tourney.
Last week: 2
4. Ohio State (23-8, 10-8). What a nice way to send Aaron Craft off in his last game in Columbus with a close victory over Michigan State. The Buckeyes needed that win after failing to hit a 3-point shot at Indiana in their previous loss. Thad Matta’s teams usually peak right about now.
Last week: 7
5. Michigan State (23-8, 12-6). The Spartans came up two points shy of closing the regular season on a high note, losing to Ohio State. They have to find a way to get Keith Appling aggressive on the offensive end and protect his wrist. Consistency has eluded Spartans last couple of weeks.
Last week: 3
6. Minnesota (18-12, 7-10). The Gophers are chewing Bubblelicious all day long as they have stopped the downward spiral, winning two of their last three games. They face a dangerous Penn State team in their first game at the Big Ten tourney. Even thought they just wiped out the Nittany Lions on Sunday, it’s tough to crush a team two times in a row.
Last week: 8
7. Illinois (18-13, 7-11). The Illini have found a way to dig themselves out of the basement of the conference. Winners of four of their last five games, with wins at Minnesota, Michigan State, and Iowa, the Illini and their freshmen have tremendous momentum going into the Big Ten tourney.
Last week: 9
8. Iowa (20-11, 9-9). The Hawkeyes have fallen as fast and hard as any major conference team this season. Losers of five of its last six games, Iowa will have to regroup quickly to avoid an embarrassing free fall. Frustrating season for Iowa fans with the expectations and talent on this team.
Last week: 5
9. Indiana (17-14, 7-11). There’s no shame in losing to Nebraska and Michigan in your last two regular-season games. Noah Vonleh is far from healthy, yet the Hoosiers are picking up steam. Home court crowd should really help this young group, although a tough match-up await against Illinois in first game of tourney..
Last week: 6
10. Penn State (15-16, 6-12). Throw out the loss at Minnesota, and Penn State may be playing its best right now. The Nittany Lions will have a chance to exact revenge as they face a desperate Minnesota team that is in NCAA play-in-game mode right now.
Last week: 10
11. Northwestern (13-18, 6-12). Can’t say enough about Drew Crawford. He was really upset after their loss at home to Penn State on senior night, and he bounced back in a major way against Purdue to end the regular season on a high note.
Last week: 12
12. Purdue (15-16, 5-13). The Boilers are playing on guts right now. A.J. Hammons is showing improvement and Travis Carroll played his best game of the season in loss to Northwestern.
Last week: 11
– Team records are through March 9 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.|