Here are our Big Ten basketball power rankings for March 11, 2020.
14. Nebraska (7-24, 2-18), Last Week 14
Nebraska has lost 16 consecutive games to end the season. It’s been one of the most brutal regular seasons in recent Big Ten memory.
13. Northwestern (8-22, 3-17), Last Week: 13
The Wildcats shocked the world by beating Penn State to conclude the regular season. They get Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
12. Minnesota (14-16, 8-12), Last Week: 12
The Gophers capped off their regular season with a 32-point beat down of Nebraska. They will need to win the conference tournament to reach the postseason.
11. Purdue (16-15, 9-11), Last Week: 11
A bubble team, Purdue badly needed to beat Rutgers in its regular season finale, but fell short. It would take multiple wins in the Big Ten tourney to reach the big dance, but it gets Ohio State first, which should result in a loss.
10. Indiana (19-12, 9-11), Last Week: 9
The Hoosiers have to be the most frustrating team in the league. They are a roller-coaster ride that should be in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Nebraska in the conference tourney. IU is notoriously bad in the Big Ten Tournament, though, so nothing is a given.
9. Penn State (21-10, 11-9), Last Week: 7
What a bad way to end the season. Penn State, which at one point looked like one of the top two or three teams in the conference, lost the regular season finale to Northwestern and has lost five of its last six games. Not exactly the way you want to go into the postseason.
8. Rutgers (20-11, 11-9), Last Week: 10
Rutgers managed to avoid a disastrous skid to end the season by earning huge wins over Maryland and Purdue. The Scarlet Knights should now be firmly in the big dance and will be Michigan’s first opponent in the Big Ten Tournament.
7. Michigan (19-12, 10-10), Last Week: 5
It’s been a rough finish to the year for the Wolverines, who have turned out not to be as formidable as once thought. This is still a very solid basketball team with potential for a nice run later this month, but it’s important to temper expectations. U-M is still No. 16 in Kenpom, so the metrics do like Michigan. Could returning to neutral courts be a good thing for this team?
6. Iowa (20-11, 11-9), Last Week: 6
Iowa ended its season by losing three of four after a loss to Illinois. The Hawkeyes have one of the best offenses in the nation, along with Luke Garza, the Big Ten Player of the Year, but I’m not sure it can overcome its poor defense during the postseason.
5. Illinois (21-10, 13-7), Last Week: 8
Illinois plays tough basketball. The duo of Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu is one of the best in the conference and will continue to make this a difficult team to beat. A wildcard of sorts, it’ll be fun to see how far this squad can go in March.
4. Ohio State (21-10, 11-9), Last Week: 3
Ohio State is back and one of the best teams in both the league and country. The Buckeyes have wins over Michigan, Maryland and Illinois in their last five games before losing to Michigan State. They play Purdue first this week.
3. Wisconsin (21-10, 14-6), Last Week: 4
One of the more miraculous stories in the Big Ten, Wisconsin claimed a share of the Big Ten regular season title by beating Indiana on the road over the weekend. Winners of eight straight, Greg Gard was voted the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
2. Maryland (24-7, 14-6), Last Week: 1
Maryland appeared to have the regular season conference title in the bag until it ended the season with losses in three of its last five games. This is still a great team that should have high expectations moving forward, but MSU is the much hotter team right now.
1. Michigan State (22-9, 14-6), Last Week: 2
I’ll admit, there was a time this season where I counted MSU out. However, I’ve been proven wrong once again by Tom Izzo and company. The Spartans are back in the top 10 and have beaten four straight ranked opponents to the end the regular season. There’s no other way to put it, it’s been an impressive run.