After a rather tough week off the court for Wisconsin, the Badgers were able to secure a big home victory to keep pace in the middle of the conference standings. With that in mind, there was still some shuffling in the conference standings, as some teams continued to rise, while others fell.
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) Michigan State Spartans (16-6 overall, 8-3 B1G, last week: 1st)
The Spartans took down a struggling Northwestern team early in the week, but fell on the road at Wisconsin. Michigan State is primed to be in the thick of things for a conference title all season long. That has not changed.
2) Illinois Fighting Illini (16-6 overall, 8-3 B1G, last week: 2nd)
Illinois had been on an absolute tear, winning seven straight games before Sunday’s loss at Iowa. The Fighting Illini are still tied atop the conference heap, but they have struggled when facing Top-25 teams. Huge match ups against ranked teams are upcoming, as they welcome Maryland and Michigan State in consecutive games. Those two games will go a long way in determining the conference pecking order.
3) Maryland Terrapins (17-4 overall, 7-3 B1G, last week: 3rd)
Maryland actually holds the best overall record in the Big Ten, and have closed the gap on Michigan State and Illinois to only a half game after winning four straight. The Terrapins are now the highest ranked team in the conference as well, and are positioning themselves nicely for a chance to be one of the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament if they can continue their strong play.
4) Iowa Hawkeyes (16-6 overall, 7-4 B1G, last week: 4th)
The Hawkeyes had three games last week, and were able to win two of them over Wisconsin and Illinois. The loss to Maryland maintains the status quo though in the rankings. Iowa will be on the road for three of their next four games, but they are all winnable.
5) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-6 overall, 7-4 B1G, last week: 5th)
A puzzling loss at home to Michigan nearly sent Rutgers down the rankings a bit, but Indiana’s struggles help Rutgers stay put. The Scarlet Knights have a tough game at Maryland upcoming, but have an easy match up with Northwestern to follow.
6) Penn State Nittany Lions (16-5 overall, 6-4 B1G, last week: 10th)
A clean sweep of games for Penn State propels them up four spots to No. 6. The Nittany Lions have now won four straight games, and are looking more like the team that started out the season so strong. A game at Michigan State — who is coming off of a loss — will be extremely difficult, but Penn State is back in the thick of things.
Last Saturday the Kohl was— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 3, 2020
We’ve got another big one Sunday vs. Ohio State. We need that again!
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Badger Mittens, courtesy @Kohls pic.twitter.com/lu3W7kGjtf
7) Wisconsin Badgers (13-9 overall, 6-5 B1G, last week: 7th)
The Badgers have been great at home, hence the huge win over Michigan State this past weekend. Wisconsin now has a reasonable stretch of games ahead with road tilts at Minnesota and Nebraska, but home games with Purdue and Ohio State. The Badgers have an opportunity to climb these rankings if they can string together some W’s.
8) Indiana Hoosiers (15-7 overall, 5-6 B1G, last week: 6th)
Indiana lost their two games last week, falling at Penn State and Ohio State. The Hoosiers have now dropped three straight, and four of their last six. Home games with Purdue and Iowa will be crucial this week.
9) Purdue Boilermakers (12-10 overall, 5-6 B1G, last week: 8th)
After bludgeoning the Badgers just over a week ago, Purdue split their games with Rutgers and Northwestern. The Boilermakers are still a very tough team at home, but they have only won two games away from Mackey Arena.
10) Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-10 overall, 5-6 B1G, last week: 9th)
Minnesota holds a slight edge over Ohio State thanks to a head-to-head victory a few weeks ago. The Gophers though have lost two straight, and have a big game against Wisconsin on Wednesday. The Badgers really need a win, can the Gophers play spoiler?
Brad Davison is back for the Minnesota game this week, haterz. pic.twitter.com/h6QS4D02Q5— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 3, 2020
11) Ohio State Buckeyes (14-7 overall, 4-6 B1G, last week: 11th)
Ohio State won their only game last week against Indiana, but have a tough week ahead at Michigan and Wisconsin. With freshman stud D.J. Carton stepping away from the program, the Buckeyes appear to be at a bit of a crossroads. Can they keep winning as of late, or will they go on another streak of losses?
12) Michigan Wolverines (13-8 overall, 2-6 B1G, last week: 12th)
The Wolverines have finally won some games again after losing four straight. Michigan rattled off back-to-back wins over Nebraska (not saying much) and Rutgers, but they are still in the bottom portion of the conference standings and rankings. A big game against Ohio State tomorrow could change things in this section of the rankings though.
The line above represents a clear delineation of competitiveness. Northwestern and Nebraska have both lost six, or more, games in a row.
For that, they are still unranked.