As the conference race is coming to a close, the Big Ten continues to bludgeon itself. The result is two teams pulling away atop the conference, and a conglomerate of teams vying for third.
Lets rundown the updated Big Ten Power Rankings to check-in with where each team stands in the conference after another week of play.
1) Maryland Terrapins (21-4 overall, 11-3 B1G, last week: 1st)
Maryland maintains their stranglehold atop the conference heap after a huge week. The Terrapins have now won eight straight, and took down Michigan State on the road on Saturday for a statement victory. Maryland has gone on a great run as of late, will it last?
2) Penn State Nittany Lions (20-5 overall, 10-4 B1G, last week: 2nd)
A big win over Purdue on the road, and a win at home over Northwestern keep Penn State firmly on the heels of Maryland in the conference pecking order. The Nittany Lions have also won a whopping eight straight games, but they have a challenging road ahead of them in their final six games.
3) Iowa Hawkeyes (18-8 overall, 9-6 B1G, last week: 5th)
Iowa is among three teams tied for third place in the conference, each two and a half games behind first placed Maryland. The Hawkeyes have been the most consistent of the bench though, giving them the nod for No. 3 in the updated Power Rankings.
4) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (18-8 overall, 9-6 B1G, last week: 6th)
Rutgers jumped up a few spots to take the place of Illinois and Michigan State, each of which is sliding. The Scarlet Knights have lost three of their last five games, but they are still more consistent than Michigan State as of late.
5) Michigan State Spartans (17-9 overall, 9-6 B1G, last week: 4th)
Michigan State has had quite the fall from grace. The Spartans were a fixture at No. 1 for weeks on end, but they have plummeted as of late thanks to losing four of their last five games. Games against Iowa, Maryland, and Penn State are still on the horizon, so there is plenty of room for them to rise back up, or continue their free-fall.
6) Illinois Fighting Illini (16-9 overall, 8-6 B1G, last week: 3rd)
Are you sensing a trend yet? Everyone is struggling in this middling area. Illinois has lost their last four games, but keep a slight edge over Wisconsin thanks to a head-to-head road win in Madison.
7) Wisconsin Badgers (15-10 overall, 8-6 B1G, last week: 8th)
The Badgers climb a spot in the Power Rankings thanks to a road win over Nebraska. The win itself wasn’t the key to their move, but the floundering of everyone around them helped immensely. With a major stretch upcoming, Wisconsin has room to continue their upward trajectory.
8) Ohio State Buckeyes (17-8 overall, 7-7 B1G, last week: 10th)
Another team that took advantage of the craziness abound in the Big Ten, Ohio State also rose in the standings. The Buckeyes have won 5-of-6, helping them dig out of a substantial hole in the conference. After holding down the bottom tier of the Big Ten for a while —thanks to a rocky start — they have reemerged as a team that could do some damage in the Big Ten Tournament.
9) Michigan Wolverines (16-9 overall, 7-7 B1G, last week: 11th)
After winning both of their games last week, Michigan is another riser in the rankings. In similar fashion to Ohio State, the Wolverines came out the gates hot but faltered at the beginning of Big Ten play. Juwan Howard’s squad has rebounded nicely though by winning 5-of-6, and have room for upward mobility still with some meat left on their schedule.
10) Purdue Boilermakers (14-12 overall, 7-8 B1G, last week: 7th)
The Boilermakers dropped consecutive games last week to Penn State and Ohio State, leading to their drop this week in the Power Rankings. Purdue is a bubble team currently, and will need to make a move here over the next two weeks in order to punch their ticket to the big dance.
11) Indiana Hoosiers (16-9 overall, 6-8 B1G, last week: 12th)
A big win over Iowa helped the Hoosiers split their games last week. The problem is that they lost five-of-six, and have struggled mightily during this recent stretch. The Hoosiers are another team fighting for their bubble lives, but they will need to change their trajectory quickly in order to make the tournament a reality.
12) Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-12 overall, 6-8 B1G, last week: 9th)
Back-to-back losses send Minnesota down a few spots. The Gophers have struggled since taking down the Badgers a couple weeks ago. Minnesota has slid all the way down to No. 12 this week, and a pair of remaining games against Indiana could determine how they finish.