Another wild week in the Big Ten saw Michigan State and Nebraska take nose dives while Purdue and Wisconsin surged forward. Here’s this week’s edition of Big Ten Power Rankings:
14. Penn State (8-15, 1-11), Last Week: 14
Penn State finally picked up its first conference win, knocking off Northwestern. It’s still going to be a long way to the finish line with games against Michigan and Purdue up next.
13. Northwestern (12-10, 3-8), Last Week: 11
Losing to Penn State is a black eye on an already dismal 2019 for the Wildcats.
12. Nebraska (13-10, 3-9), Last Week: 10
It’s been a complete disaster for Nebraska over the last few weeks. It has lost six straight games and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Five of the Huskers final eight games are against ranked teams.
11. Illinois (8-15, 4-8), Last Week: 13
It was shocking when Indiana beat Michigan State, but Illinois? That’s mind-blowing. The Illini have sneakily been a tough out in recent weeks, and there are a few winnable games up ahead (Rutgers, Ohio State).
10. Rutgers (11-11, 4-8), Last Week: 8
I’ll admit, Rutgers was probably ranked a little bit too high last week. However, that spoke more to the dreadfulness of Indiana and Ohio State. It seems both of those teams have woken up, so back down goes Rutgers.
9. Ohio State (15-7, 5-6), Last Week: 9
The Buckeyes have snapped out of their bad losing streak, but still haven’t looked all that impressive. Wins over Rutgers and Penn State aren’t special, but they’re necessary.
8. Indiana (13-10, 4-8), Last Week: 12
Indiana pulled off an incredible win against MSU in East Lansing. Not only that, it did it without their best player, Juwan Morgan, who was injured midway through the first half. The Hoosiers suffered a tough loss to Iowa, but nearly pulled off a big comeback.
7. Minnesota (16-7, 6-6), Last Week: 6
It was a rough week for the Gophers, losing to both Purdue and Wisconsin. Those losses are quite forgivable, but they will hurt their seeding come tournament time.
6. Maryland (18-6, 9-4), Last Week: 4
This is where things get tougher. Maryland could easily be as high as fourth to some people, but with the way Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue are playing, I have to slot Maryland down at six. The Terps have lost three of five, but have two huge games coming up against Purdue and Michigan.
5. Iowa (18-5, 7-5), Last Week: 7
It was an electric week for Iowa. Beating Michigan and stealing a win at Indiana bring this team up two spots. Jordan Bohannon is lights out from three, and single-handedly held off the Hoosiers, scoring 25 points.
4. Wisconsin (17-6, 9-3), Last Week: 5
The margin between Wisconsin, Michigan State and Purdue is razor-thin. You could stack those three in any order and I wouldn’t complain much. Wisconsin has the best win of the three teams (Michigan), but it has played a weaker schedule over the last few weeks. Things get real this week though, with a trip to Ann Arbor followed by a game vs. MSU.
3. Michigan State (18-5, 9-3), Last Week: 2
Michigan State has looked terrible in its last three games, losing to Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. The Spartans must bounce back at home vs. Minnesota, because a road win against Wisconsin doesn’t look likely, and this team likely falls off the No. 1 seed line for good if it loses both games. Some may want to pound MSU into the ground and say the Spartans are finished, but I’m not ready to count this team out yet. There’s still plenty of talent and I highly doubt the team just gives up.
2. Purdue (16-6, 9-2), Last Week: 3
Purdue is the hottest team in the Big Ten right now and it’s showed no signs of slowing down. The Boilermakers remaining schedule is so weak, there’s a good chance they win the Big Ten outright. A road trip to Maryland is the only game against a ranked team they have left.
1. Michigan (21-2, 10-2), Last Week: 1
Purdue might be hotter and have a more favorable schedule, but Michigan is still the team to beat in the Big Ten. Beating Rutgers on the road was an important step to getting back on track after the Iowa loss, as a huge game against Wisconsin looms on Saturday.