Maize n Brew's Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings Week 5
1. Wisconsin - Rebounded from a tough loss to Indiana to thump Northwestern. Cupcakey visits to Penn State and Minnesota sandwich a now surprisingly important home game against Iowa.
Next up: @ Penn State, Iowa, @ Minnesota
2. Ohio State - Blasted Purdue on the road then took it to a game MSU team in East Lansing. OSU seems to be hitting its stride at the right time. With all the weapons the Buckeyes have inside and out this could be a very dangerous team come tournament time. Still, this is a very young team. If they lose to Michigan it's a sign they're not ready for the prime time. I think they are. OSU crushes Amaker's boys on Tuesday.
Next up: Michigan, Purdue, @ Penn State.
3. Indiana - The first team in the Big Ten to beat Wisconsin. More importantly they provided a Badger beating blueprint for everyone else to follow, zone the hell out of Alando Tucker and let the other guys beat you. Doesn't hurt either if you hit 60% of your threes. Indiana suffered the classic post-big win letdown when they blew it against a resurgent Iowa team. Sampson usually has this team playing with intensity, but they went to sleep against Iowa. After Illinois they have two tough road tests against Purdue and Michigan. Expect them to drop one of those games.
Next up: Illinois, @ Purdue, @ Michigan
4. Michigan State - Rough stretch for Izzo's boys. Two tough losses for MSU, despite the fact that Drew Neitzel is playing like the best player in the Big Ten. After a visit to Purdue, MSU settles into a good home schedule that should assure them another tournament berth.
Next up: @ Purdue, Michigan, Iowa
5. Illinois - Saved their Tournament asses by beating MSU at home, then followed it up with a thumping of the Gophers. Looking at the remaining schedule the Illini, barring a massive collapse of Michiganian proportions, this team should seal up another tournament invite. Indiana is the only remaining ranked team on their schedule and only Michigan and Iowa have the talent to beat them head to head after the Hoosiers. The Illini should finish 4-2 in their last six and head to the Tourney with a grin on their collective faces. Still their body of work is honestly not that much more impressive than Michigan's.
Next up: @ Northwestern, @ Indiana, Northwestern
6. Michigan - Should probably be lower, but no one else is really better than them right now. Courtney Sims finally shows up for a game but no one else does and Michigan blows a 11 point halftime lead to lose by 7. Their remaining schedule is hell. They have to beat OSU or MSU on the road and win one against them at home plus taking two from Minnesota and one from Indiana or Illinois. Not gonna happen. Fire Amaker.
Next up: @ Ohio State, Minnesota, @ Michigan State
7. Purdue - Close but no cigar. Got blown out by OSU, but rebounded on Penn State. A tough next three games determines the how the season will finish.
Next up: Michigan State, @ Ohio State, Indiana
8. Iowa - They came back to beat Michigan and beat Indiana at home. Whup-de-do. They still have 10 losses. It's possible Iowa could make the tournament, but it would take going 7-1 in their last 8. I don't see it happening.
Next up: @ Minnesota, @ Wisconsin, Northwestern
10. Minnesota - Suddenly dangerous. Iowa's visit screams trap game for the away team. After that it gets brutal for the Gophers.
Next up: Iowa, @ Michigan, Wisconsin
9. Northwestern - The Cat's refuse to go down lightly, but there's simply not enough talent on this team for them to make any noise.
Next up: Illinois, Penn State, @ Iowa
11. Penn State - Bad. Must only field a team for tax purposes, because they're not out there for entertainment. Not their fan's anyway. (Yes. I used the singular intentionally.)
Next up: Wisconsin, @Northwestern, Ohio State
That's it for this week. Gimme your thoughts.