Big Ten play has started and no team has won on the road with nearly every team through two conference games. Here’s our Big Ten basketball power rankings for Dec. 17, 2019.
14. Northwestern (5-4 overall, 0-1 Big Ten), Last Week 13
As the only team in the Big Ten without a conference win, the Wildcats get stuck at the bottom. It’s string of bad non-conference losses, of course, play a huge role in that too. They’ll get their chance to defend home court this week against Michigan State.
13. Nebraska (5-6, 1-1), Last Week: 14
This conference is a jumbled mess right now, which makes this set of rankings far more difficult than usual. The Huskers beat Purdue at home to jump out of the bottom spot.
12. Wisconsin (5-5, 1-1), Last Week: 10
Wisconsin lost to Rutgers, which just sounds weird to say.
11. Minnesota (5-5, 1-1), Last Week: 11
Minnesota just beat the top team in the conference, but doesn’t move up thanks to all the solid wins that were earned last week.
10. Rutgers (8-3, 1-1), Last Week: 12
Rutgers jumps up more so because of its win over Seton Hall than Wisconsin, but still, it’s one of the most impressive weeks in recent Scarlet Knights history.
9. Purdue (6-4, 1-1), Last Week: 4
Purdue has the biggest fall in this week’s rankings after its dismal loss to Nebraska. However, Lincoln is a tough place to play so maybe I’m being too hard on the Boilermakers. Time will tell.
8. Illinois (8-3, 1-1), Last Week: 9
Illinois picked up a huge win at home over Michigan just after falling to Maryland by one. This will be a borderline tournament team all season long and will continue to be a tough out.
7. Iowa (8-3, 1-1), Last Week: 7
Iowa was one of the few Big Ten teams to win on the road this week, beating non-conference foe Iowa State by 16.
6. Michigan State (7-3, 1-0), Last Week: 5
MSU is the only team in the league that hasn’t lost in Big Ten play, but it’s also only played one game — at home versus Rutgers. Bumping this team down isn’t a knock on the Spartans, it’s more a matter of other teams (Indiana, Penn State) having better quality wins at this point.
5. Indiana (10-1, 1-1), Last Week: 6
IU earned a huge win at Madison Square Garden last week against UConn before holding off Nebraska at home. The Hoosiers have quietly been very solid this season and have two big non-conference games up next against Notre Dame and Arkansas.
4. Penn State (9-2, 1-1), Last Week: 8
I was hesitant to put Penn State very high in last week’s rankings, despite the solid resume. Now it’s undeniable, this is a good team. Beating Maryland and Alabama is gigantic for this program as it tries to climb out of the gutter.
3. Maryland (10-1, 1-1), Last Week: 3
Maryland only played one game since last week’s rankings, losing to Penn State. That’s not enough to jump Michigan, despite U-M’s own losses.
2. Michigan (8-3, 1-1), Last Week: 2
It was a rough week for Michigan, picking up two losses to Illinois and Oregon. It certainly feels like Michigan is coming back down to Earth, but for now, this is still an elite team. I expect the top handful of teams in the Big Ten will rotate plenty throughout the season.
1. Ohio State (9-1, 1-1)
The Buckeyes only played once as well last week, but lost to a bad Minnesota team. Given Michigan and Maryland also losing, they keep the top spot for another week.