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Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings: Feb. 22

The battle for the top spot could be decided this weekend.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Minnesota David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

It was a relatively quiet week of hoops action in the Big Ten. We saw most teams take care of their business, and a close rivalry game between Indiana and Purdue, but nothing earth-shattering. That will likely change this weekend with game one of a huge two-game season series between Michigan and Michigan State. Here’s this week’s edition of Big Ten Power Rankings:

14. Northwestern (12-14, 3-12), Last Week: 14

The Wildcats followed up their stink bomb against Penn State with losses to both Nebraska and Ohio State.

13. Nebraska (15-12, 5-11), Last Week: 12

What a downfall. Nebraska has fallen entirely out of the NCAA Tournament picture after its blowout loss to Penn State.

12. Penn State (10-16, 3-12), Last Week: 13

Another week, another move up in the rankings for Penn State, which is a slightly better bad team compared to Nebraska and Northwestern based on the way its currently playing.

11. Indiana (13-13, 4-11), Last Week: 10

Speaking of downfalls, Indiana’s has been just as bad as Nebraska’s. Since starting the year 12-2, IU has gone a whopping 1-11. The Hoosiers didn’t show up against Minnesota before losing a heart-breaker to Purdue.

10. Rutgers (12-14, 5-11), Last Week: 11

Rutgers is kind of like that pesky little brother that you have to let win sometimes so he doesn’t cry to mom.

9. Ohio State (17-9, 7-8), Last Week: 9

Ohio State is at a crossroads right now. It hasn’t done anything to really stand out as a good team, but hasn’t lost enough to truly be a bad team. Maybe it’ll just stay mediocre until its bounced in the first round.

8. Illinois (10-16, 6-9), Last Week: 8

Another week at No. 8 for Illinois, which seemed impossible a few weeks ago. This team is headed in the right direction, despite the bad record. Nobody would try to convince you Illinois has a better resume than OSU, but the Illini are playing better.

7. Minnesota (17-10, 7-9), Last Week: 7

Minnesota clobbered Indiana and lost handily to Michigan this past week. It probably needs to win three out of its last four games to make the NCAA Tournament, which would require a win over either Purdue or Maryland.

6. Iowa (20-6, 9-6), Last Week: 6

The Hawkeyes snapped a four-game winning streak by dropping a close one to Maryland.

5. Wisconsin (18-8, 10-5), Last Week: 5

The Badgers keep hanging around in the Big Ten title race, and got back on track with a win over Illinois.

4. Purdue (19-7, 12-3), Last Week: 4

Purdue knocked off Indiana by two this week in what otherwise an uninspiring performance. The Boilermakers are a good team, and just might win the Big Ten thanks to Michigan and Michigan State’s difficult schedules, but they aren’t in the same class as U-M or MSU. Their dominant at home, much less so on the road. Their poor schedule the rest of the way limits their opportunity to move up these rankings.

3. Maryland (20-7, 11-5), Last Week: 3

Maryland lost to Michigan, but beat Iowa on the road this week. That’s a strong win after beating Purdue the week earlier. There’s a sizable gap, however, between Maryland and the two Michigan schools.

2. Michigan State (22-5, 13-3), Last Week: 2

Nick Ward’s injury really stings for a Spartan team that hopes to pull off an upset in Ann Arbor this weekend. They’ve won four games in a row, but struggled with Rutgers on Wednesday.

1. Michigan (24-3, 13-3), Last Week: 1

The Wolverines played a very complete game against Minnesota, securing a quality road victory. That comes after a nice win against Maryland. U-M can establish itself as the superior Big Ten team by beating Michigan State this Sunday.