The Big Ten Conference continues to be sheer madness, as most teams are clumped together in near the middle of the pack.
After another muddled week in the conference, lets parse through the results and reestablish where each team stands in this week’s Power Rankings.
1) Michigan State Spartans (14-4 overall, 6-1 B1G, last week: 1st)
The Spartans only had one game last week, and they exited victorious with a 12-point win over Wisconsin. Michigan State is still the top dog in the conference race, holding a one game lead, and possessing the top collection of talent.
2) Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5 overall, 5-2 B1G, last week: 2nd)
Illinois also only had one contest last week, as they took down Northwestern at home. The game was much closer than it should have been, but the Fighting Illini are now in the Top 25 for the first time since 2014. With a nice inside-outside punch, Illinois has rattled off four straight wins and appear to be one of the better teams in the conference.
3) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (14-4 overall, 5-2 B1G, last week: 4th)
Tell me you saw this coming. Rutgers has found their footing in a sport! The Scarlet Knights appear poised to be tournament bound for the first time since 1991, and they could vault into the rankings for the first time since the late 1970s. A big game against Iowa on the road looms, can Rutgers keep it going?
4) Iowa Hawkeyes (13-5 overall, 4-3 B1G, last week: 11th)
After back-to-back losses, Iowa fell dramatically in the Power Rankings last week. The Hawkeyes must have taken that to heart, winning their last three games, two of which came against Top 25 foes. They have huge matchups with Rutgers and Wisconsin upcoming, which should help lend some clarity onto who this Iowa team truly is.
5) Wisconsin Badgers (11-7 overall, 4-3 B1G, last week: 5th)
Wisconsin split a pair of games against No. 17 Maryland, and No. 15 Michigan State to maintain their spot as fifth in the conference. Wisconsin has done a much better job on the defensive end in conference play, but the Michigan State loss was much closer on the scoreboard than in reality for most of the game.
6) Maryland Terrapins (14-4 overall, 4-3 B1G, last week: 3rd)
Maryland fell to Wisconsin on the road in what Mark Turgeon called a “devastating loss,” but rebounded nicely with a home win over Purdue. Maryland continues to struggle on the road, as they have yet to secure a win away from XFINITY Center. With games against Northwestern and Indiana on the docket for this week, Maryland has a chance to jump back into the thick of the conference race.
7) Indiana Hoosiers (14-4 overall, 4-3 B1G, last week: 6th)
Indiana is coming off a nice win over Nebraska, but the Hoosiers have yet to beat anyone in the conference that is in the upper echelon of the Power Rankings. Big games against Michigan State and Maryland are slated for this week, can they get a statement win?
8) Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-8 overall, 4-4 B1G, last week: 8th)
A couple of nice wins over Penn State and Michigan got Gophers fans excited, but the recent loss to Rutgers was another road loss. Like Maryland, Minnesota has yet to win an away game, something Badger fans are completely fine with.
9) Purdue Boilermakers (10-8 overall, 3-4 B1G, last week: 7th)
The rankings from here out were a big of a crapshoot. Purdue gets the nod over Penn State thanks to their resounding win over Michigan State. The Boilermakers have lost three of their last four though, so are they a one-hit wonder?
10) Penn State Nittany Lions (13-5 overall, 3-4 B1G, last week: 10th)
Penn State finally got back on a winning track, taking down Ohio State on Saturday. Prior to that win, the Nittany Lions had dropped three straight, and looked like a completely different team than when they took down Maryland earlier in the year.
11) Michigan Wolverines (11-6 overall, 2-4 B1G, last week: 9th)
The Wolverines continue their descent down the Power Rankings thanks to another loss. Michigan was a media darling to start the season thanks to a hot start, but have been bad in conference play. They have lost three of their last four games.
12) Ohio State Buckeyes (12-6 overall, 2-5 B1G, last week: 12th)
The good news is that Ohio State stays where they were in the rankings...I guess? The bad news, is that they were third just two weeks ago. Ohio State has really fallen off as of late. With one of the best group of freshman, their best basketball could be ahead of them, but the growing pains have been clear.
Just outside the Power Rankings...
Nebraska and Northwestern.