Home teams continue to win in Big Ten play, throwing a wrench into figuring out what teams are actually good. Here’s our Big Ten basketball power rankings for Jan. 14, 2019.
14. Northwestern (6-9 overall, 1-4 Big Ten), Last Week 14
Northwestern has finally won a Big Ten game! The Wildcats knocked off Nebraska in Evanston, but it’s not enough to move up in the rankings.
13. Nebraska (7-9, 2-3), Last Week: 13
Nebraska had an interesting week, beating Iowa but losing to Northwestern. It’s clear Nebraska and Northwestern are in their own category compared to the rest of the league.
12. Minnesota (9-7, 3-3), Last Week: 11
Dropping Minnesota a spot after beating Michigan feels wrong, but this is more a statement about how strong the Big Ten is than an indictment of Minnesota. You quite literally could shuffle teams 2-12.
11. Purdue (10-7, 3-3), Last Week: 12
Purdue jumps Minnesota after clobbering Michigan State in a fun one over the weekend.
10. Ohio State (11-5, 1-4), Last Week: 3
Power rankings aren’t simply about overall resume, so dropping Ohio State all the way to 10 seems right after the Buckeyes extended their losing streak to four. Losing at Maryland and at Indiana isn’t all that bad, but something is off with this squad. Their next few games should result in some easy wins to get them back on track.
9. Iowa (11-5, 2-3), Last Week: 9
Still not sold on Iowa, but it’s hard not to be impressed with a solid beating of Maryland. It could’ve been a great week for the Hawkeyes had they not lost to Nebraska (on the road, of course).
8. Rutgers (12-4, 3-2), Last Week: 8
The Big Ten has five teams ranked in the top 25 and six teams receiving votes. That should tell you both how strong the conference is and how much parity exists. Rutgers is the last team receiving votes after beating Penn State and losing to Illinois.
7. Penn State (12-4, 2-3), Last Week: 2
Penn State fell down a couple steps this week after losing to both Wisconsin and Rutgers. This is still a tournament team, but the Nittany Lions can’t let the recent losses put them in a spiral.
6. Indiana (13-3, 3-2), Last Week: 6
The Hoosiers saved their season by coming back to beat Northwestern and then taking down Ohio State. Losing to Northwestern would’ve been a disaster. IU has a strong team and can beat anyone at home, but it has two big road tests this week at Rutgers and Nebraska.
5. Michigan (11-5, 2-3), Last Week: 5
Winning on the road in the Big Ten has proven to be nearly impossible this season, but that doesn’t make losses to teams like Minnesota any easier to stomach. Michigan should’ve won the game, but faded in the final minutes. Getting Isaiah Livers back will be a huge boost to this team, which has a road game against Iowa this week.
4. Wisconsin (10-6, 3-2), Last Week: 6
Probably the best 10-6 team in the country, Wisconsin seems to have fully righted the ship after a slow start to the season. Beating Penn State on the road is a big win for the Badgers, who have a tough few games ahead against Maryland and Michigan State.
3. Illinois (12-4, 4-2), Last Week: 10
The Illini have switched spots with Ohio State after their great week. They beat Wisconsin on the road and took care of Rutgers at home. It was enough to jump them to No. 24 in the AP rankings. I’m not sure it will last, but it’s a nice run for Illinois.
2. Maryland (13-3, 3-2), Last Week: 4
Maryland solidified itself atop the conference with a convincing win over Ohio State, but followed that up with a road loss to Iowa. No. 17 Maryland is the league’s second highest ranked team.
1. Michigan State (13-4, 5-1), Last Week: 1
Watching MSU get its doors blown off by Purdue was fun, but it doesn’t knock the Spartans out of the top spot. Playing at Purdue is extremely difficult and it’s about time the road curse affected MSU this year too. It could be a while before Michigan State loses again.