One team has separated itself from the pack to start the new year. Here’s our Big Ten basketball power rankings for Jan. 7, 2019.
14. Northwestern (5-8 overall, 0-3 Big Ten), Last Week 14
Northwestern lost to... Hartford? Yikes. Not much to say here besides it’s going to be an ugly rest of the season in Evanston.
13. Nebraska (6-8, 1-2), Last Week: 13
Nebraska lost to Rutgers to keep a hold on the No. 13 spot.
12. Purdue (9-6, 2-2), Last Week: 11
Purdue’s offense looks dreadful. The Boilermakers only scored 37 points in a blowout loss to Illinois. It’s starting to look like their win over Virginia was just a fluke.
11. Minnesota (8-6, 2-2), Last Week: 10
Minnesota has a win over Ohio State, but thanks to OSU’s recent losses, that isn’t enough to put the Gophers higher on this list. Especially after a loss to Purdue.
10. Illinois (10-5, 2-2), Last Week: 8
Illinois is one of those teams that is tough to figure out. I’d imagine it will be a middle of the pack team all season and squarely on the bubble come March, just like a handful of other Big Ten teams.
9. Iowa (10-4, 1-2), Last Week: 7
I’m just not sold on Iowa. Yes, the Hawkeyes were ranked, but I’m just not seeing it. A close loss to Penn State isn’t anything to be ashamed of this season though, and Iowa will have a couple chances at solid wins this week at Nebraska and vs. Maryland.
8. Rutgers (11-3, 2-1), Last Week: 9
Rutgers continues to move up, which probably comes as a surprise to many people. However, the Scarlet Knights have been a solid basketball team this season and have a very manageable schedule ahead after a showdown with Penn State.
7. Indiana (11-3, 1-2), Last Week: 3
It’s been a disaster of a start to 2020 for the Hoosiers, who fall the most in these rankings. They blew a solid lead against Arkansas and then absolutely collapsed against Maryland. IU needs to right the ship.
6. Wisconsin (9-5, 2-1), Last Week: 12
The Badgers are going in an opposite direction than the Hoosiers and are the biggest risers this week. Since our last rankings, Wisconsin has beaten Tennessee and Ohio State, both on the road en route to a four-game winning streak.
5. Michigan (10-4, 1-2), Last Week: 2
The Wolverines have had a bit of a rough patch lately, losing three of their last five games. Of course the most notable of those games was Sunday’s beat down at the hands of Michigan State. Not having Isaiah Livers certainly makes things more difficult for Michigan, which has a pair of winnable games this week against Purdue and Minnesota. There’s no reason to believe this squad can’t compete for a conference title given how deep and even the league has been.
4. Maryland (12-2, 2-1), Last Week: 6
Maryland took care of business at home against Indiana in a statement win after a rough patch of its own. The Terps play Ohio State in a huge Big Ten game tonight.
3. Ohio State (11-3, 1-2), Last Week: 1
The reshuffling at the top means the Buckeyes are no longer the conference’s best team. Back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Wisconsin are tough to stomach, but OSU will be fine in the long run.
2. Penn State (12-2, 2-1), Last Week: 4
The surprise of the conference continues to impress, beating Iowa at the Palestra. Penn State has won five straight games and is up to No. 20 in the AP Poll.
1. Michigan State (12-3, 4-0), Last Week: 5
After a rough start to the season, I’ve come all the way back around on MSU. The Spartans have won seven consecutive games after losing to Duke, including a rivalry butt-whopping of Michigan. Cassius Winston is a wizard and will continue to carry MSU to a top Big Ten finish.