Player Rankings: Denzel Valentine, Jarrod Uthoff top latest list

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Player Rankings: Denzel Valentine, Jarrod Uthoff top latest list

Just two weeks remain in the Big Ten regular season, and I think everyone can all agree that the Big Ten Player of the Year will come down to Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff.

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As they did last week, the two stars top my latest Big Ten Player Rankings. And it’s Valentine sitting on top of the list for the second consecutive week.

Check out my latest list below.

1. Denzel Valentine, Michigan State. In a very close race, Valentine is ahead by a nose for National Player of The Year. Entering Tuesday night’s game at Ohio State, he had recorded three consecutive 20-point, 10-assist double-double.
Last week: 1

2. Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa. A legacy-defining stretch of games await Uthoff and the Hawkeyes (11-3). Iowa is a half-game out of first place, and Uthoff is still very much alive in the National Player of the Year conversation. The senior has a golden opportunity to make history.
Last week: 2

3. Yogi Ferrell, Indiana. Indiana swept Nebraska and Purdue last week, and Ferrell broke out of his minor slump with 18 big points against the rival Boilermakers.
Last week: 6

4. Peter Jok, Iowa. Jok was the only Hawkeye who excelled in an unexpected road loss at Penn State. His rainbow 3-pointers kept the game close, and he finished with a game-high 28 points.
Last week: 5

5. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin. Hayes had the worst game of his career in Wisconsin’s loss at Michigan State, hitting 1-of-13 shots and scoring five points. But Hayes and the Badgers bounced back vs. Illinois and have won eight of their last nine.
Last week: 4

6. A.J. Hammons, Purdue. Hammons scored 13 points at Indiana, but could only grab one rebound in the instate showdown that went Indiana’s way.
Last week: 3

7. Matt Costello, Michigan State. Averaging 11.7 points and nine rebounds in his last seven games, I thought Costello would be the Spartan who would benefit the most from Valentine’s early absence. I was right.
Last week: 8

8. Robert Carter Jr., Maryland. Carter (17 pts) was impressive in Maryland’s much-needed comeback win over Michigan following the Terps’ meltdown in Minneapolis.
Last week: 9

9. Melo Trimble, Maryland. Trimble’s decision-making in the surprising loss at Minnesota was puzzling. The preseason player of the year is going through the biggest slump of his short career, and he would benefit from attacking the rim more.
Last week: 7

10. Malcolm Hill, Illinois. Hill is spectacular pretty much every time he takes the floor. But, at some point, Illinois has to win a big game. Opportunity knocks with Indiana and Maryland on the remaining schedule.
Last week: NR

Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst

About Jess Settles: Jess, a former star at Iowa, is BTN men's basketball analyst appearing in the studio and at live games. He's a frequent contibutor to BTN.com during the men's basketball season. Follow him on Twitter @BTNJessSettles.

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