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Big Ten Power Rankings: March 1

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Is there a new team atop the rankings for the first time all season?

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After a busy week of Big Ten hoops, could we finally have a new No. 1 team? Here is this week’s edition of Big Ten power rankings:

14. Northwestern (12-16, 3-14), Last Week: 14

Northwestern has lost nine games in a row.

13. Nebraska (15-14, 5-13), Last Week: 13

Losers of 10 of their last 12, the Cornhuskers were demolished by Michigan at Crisler.

12. Rutgers (13-14, 6-11), Last Week: 10

Rutgers picked up a nice win over Minnesota this past week. It has done enough to stay out of the basement in the Big Ten standings this year, but not enough to be taken too seriously.

11. Illinois (10-18, 6-11), Last Week: 8

It seemed like Illinois finally had things together after a four-game winning streak, but now it has returned to its losing ways, dropping three straight.

10. Penn State (12-16, 5-12), Last Week: 12

Penn State did what Penn State does best this week, knocking off a Big Ten contender in the final weeks of the season, pounding Maryland. This team has some fight and will be an unwelcome sight in the Big Ten Tournament.

9. Indiana (14-14, 5-12), Last Week: 11

Indiana finally got the big win it needed. Game after game it was close but no cigar for the Hoosiers, but beating Wisconsin should do the team wonders. However, it’s more than likely too little too late for their NCAA Tournament hopes. They face the Spartans in a key game on Saturday.

8. Minnesota (18-11, 8-10), Last Week: 7

The loss to Rutgers is a killer. Squarely on the bubble, the Gophers need to secure a win over either Purdue or Maryland to end the regular season.

7. Ohio State (18-10, 8-9), Last Week: 9

It kind of feels like the momentum has shifted back in favor of the Buckeyes being solidly in the big dance over the last week. Their win over Iowa is great for their resume. They have a difficult schedule to close out the regular season, with road games at Purdue and Northwestern and a home meeting with Wisconsin.

6. Iowa (21-7, 10-7), Last Week: 6

The Hawkeyes looked terrible against the Buckeyes, as coach Fran McCaffrey embarrassed himself once again.

5. Wisconsin (19-9, 11-6), Last Week: 5

Losing to Indiana on the road is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Badgers had plenty of chances to steal one in Bloomington.

4. Maryland (21-8, 12-6), Last Week: 3

Maryland looked atrocious in its blowout loss to Penn State. It’s an unfortunate result for the Terrapins, who had looked good in wins over Purdue, Iowa and Penn State.

3. Purdue (21-7, 14-3), Last Week: 4

Maybe I was a little harsh on Purdue last week, but now it’s back in the top three. The Boilermakers have won 12 of their last 13 games and are in perfect position to win the conference.

2. Michigan (25-4, 14-4), Last Week: 1

For the first time all season, the Wolverines fall out of the top spot. This of course comes after a tight loss at home to Michigan State, in a game where MSU simply was the better team. It was high level basketball and proved that both squads are elite, but Michigan State has to have the edge. The team’s bounce-back win over Nebraska was nice to see, especially without Charles Matthews, who U-M needs to get healthy. Things could change quickly, with a trip to East Lansing coming up again soon.

1. Michigan State (23-5, 14-3), Last Week: 2

It’s not often John Beilein gets out-coached, but that was the case when Michigan lost to Michigan State. Tom Izzo had his team ready to play despite being short Nick Ward, and proved for now, that the Spartans belong at the top of the rankings.