Thanks to Purdue, there are no longer any teams that are undefeated in Big Ten play. How far will the Boilermakers rise? Does Michigan stay at the top? Here’s this week’s edition of Big Ten Power Rankings:
14. Penn State (7-14, 0-10), Last Week: 13
I can’t deny it any longer, Penn State belongs at the bottom. They put up a fight against Purdue, taking it to overtime, but a loss is still a loss.
13. Illinois (6-15, 2-8), Last Week: 14
With the way Illinois was playing teams tough, it wasn’t hard to imagine them snagging a win here and there in conference play, but beating Maryland? Not expected.
12. Indiana (12-9, 3-7), Last Week: 9
My oh my what a disaster in Bloomington. In three weeks, the Hoosiers have gone from No. 3 in these rankings to No. 12. They’re on a seven-game skid and there’s no end in sight. IU would do themselves a giant favor by shocking the world this weekend and beating Michigan State on the road, but let’s not hold our breath.
11. Northwestern (12-9, 3-7), Last Week: 10
The Wildcats are just sort of there. Not the worst team, but nowhere near NCAA Tournament level. I’ll be shocked if they find their way outside of the 9-13 spots.
10. Nebraska (13-8, 3-7), Last Week: 8
Typically, Nebraska is fantastic at home and stinks on the road. However, a home loss to a bad Ohio State team is not a great look. Not to mention the Huskers also dropped a home game this week to Wisconsin. If this team has any hope of making the big dance, they needs to win their home games.
9. Ohio State (13-7, 3-6), Last Week: 11
Ohio State doesn’t deserve to be ranked two spots higher this week, but with how dreadful a few other teams have been, I had no choice. The Buckeyes need more than a win at Nebraska to show they’ve bounced back. Luckily for them, their next four games are very winnable.
8. Rutgers (11-9, 4-6), Last Week: 12
Could Rutgers actually be... good? I wouldn’t go that far, but the Knights have played decently of late, knocking off both Penn State and Indiana. They’re this week’s biggest riser.
7. Iowa (16-5, 5-5), Last Week: 6
It wasn’t a great week for the Hawkeyes. After a blown lead against MSU that resulted in a blowout loss, they followed their performance with a close loss to Minnesota, which is enough to drop them a spot.
6. Minnesota (16-5, 6-4), Last Week: 7
Minnesota has been another one of those teams that’s difficult to figure out. Beating Iowa at home was an important win for the program with Purdue, Wisconsin and MSU on deck.
5. Wisconsin (15-6, 7-3), Last Week: 5
The Badgers picked up a couple wins this week, beating teams they should’ve - which is easier said than done in the Big Ten. I’m tempted to put them ahead of Maryland, but the two squads play tonight, so we’ll see then which team deserves the No. 4 spot.
4. Maryland (17-5, 8-3), Last Week: 3
Maryland suffered a bad home loss to Illinois, but has done enough to make me believe it is a top four team in the conference. Any goodwill the Terps had saved up though, has disappeared. A road trip to Wisconsin will show us what this group is made of.
3. Purdue (15-6, 8-2), Last Week: 4
Purdue kept its winning streak alive, dominating Michigan State and topping Penn State in overtime. The win over MSU is one of the most impressive performances we’ve seen from a team this year and firmly establishes the Boilermakers as the third best team in the league.
2. Michigan State (18-3, 9-1), Last Week: 2
Michigan State blew its chance to overtake Michigan by losing to Purdue. It wasn’t just that the Spartans lost, it’s that they were completely manhandled for most of the game. There was a brief stretch where it seemed like MSU was coming back, but Purdue made sure to close the door. It’s not a bad loss, though, by any means. We’re all anxious for that Feb. 24 showdown between the Spartans and Wolverines.
1. Michigan (18-1, 7-1), Last Week: 1
It was a dominating week for Michigan, crushing Indiana on the road and wrecking Ohio State in Ann Arbor. It’s too bad Zavier Simpson can’t suit up for the football team. A couple challenging road games are ahead (Iowa, Rutgers) before a revenge game against Wisconsin. It’s a difficult schedule the rest of the way, but winning all or more likely nearly all of them will put this team in position to be a No. 1 seed come March.