Here are our Big Ten basketball power rankings for March 3, 2020.
14. Nebraska (7-22, 2-16), Last Week 13
We have a new worst team in the Big Ten! Come on down, Nebraska. The Huskers lost at home in overtime to Northwestern, which has held the No. 14 spot the entire season. Quite exciting to see a change, right?
13. Northwestern (7-21, 2-16), Last Week: 14
After breaking its 12-game losing streak, Northwestern moves up to 13th. That will likely be the team’s final win of the season, however, with Wisconsin and Penn State left on the slate.
12. Minnesota (13-15, 7-11), Last Week: 12
Minnesota has continued its downward trajectory with losses to Maryland and Wisconsin. Those losses of course were expected, but it likely puts the NIT out of reach.
11. Purdue (15-14, 8-10), Last Week: 11
Purdue earned a critical win at home against rival Indiana to keep its tournament hopes alive. Despite that, the Boilermakers’ poor overall record still has them on the outside looking in. Gigantic games against Iowa and Rutgers round out the regular season before the conference tourney begins.
10. Rutgers (18-11, 9-9), Last Week: 10
Rutgers is another team falling into a losing streak at the wrong time. Having dropped three straight, it must split its final two games against Maryland and Purdue if it wants to feel safe come Selection Sunday.
9. Indiana (18-11, 8-10), Last Week: 9
The Hoosiers have also lost two in a row, although their two losses, both on the road, are more forgivable. They had a chance to topple Illinois but fell a point shy. With home games against Minnesota and Wisconsin to round out the season, IU should feel safely in the tournament with one more win.
8. Illinois (20-9, 12-6), Last Week: 8
This is where things get really difficult. All eight of the top teams in the Big Ten are ranked, and there’s not a great deal of separation between any of them. You can rearrange several of these teams and I don’t think I’d argue much. However, Illinois is the lowest rated in Kenpom and has had an easier schedule in recent weeks, which keeps it at No. 8 this week, despite four wins in a row.
7. Penn State (21-8, 11-7), Last Week: 3
Penn State, Iowa and Michigan were the three toughest teams to rank this week. All have a case to be ahead of the others. Penn State falls the most having lost to Iowa last week and dropping three of its last four games. Penn State is No. 20 in Kenpom.
6. Iowa (20-9, 11-7), Last Week: 4
One spot ahead of Penn State in these rankings but one spot behind Penn State in Kenpom are the Hawkeyes, who beat the Nittany Lions at home this week. There’s a ton of offensive firepower here, but their defense is poor and that might come back to haunt them in the postseason.
5. Michigan (18-11, 9-9), Last Week: 2
After seemingly establishing itself among the league’s elite, Michigan fell apart last week with losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State. There’s a case to be made U-M belongs in the 6/7/8 range, but I still believe this is a high quality team, and Kenpom agrees. Michigan is No. 15 there, which is fourth in the conference.
4. Wisconsin (19-10, 12-6), Last Week: 7
Wisconsin has been the quiet dark horse all season long in the Big Ten. Now, it is finally ranked after winning six straight games. With Northwestern and Indiana left on the schedule, it’s entirely possible the Badgers make that an eight-game winning streak.
3. Ohio State (20-9, 10-8), Last Week: 6
The Buckeyes beat Michigan over the weekend to continue their surge back into the top tier of Big Ten teams. Winners of three straight, they get Illinois and Michigan State next.
2. Michigan State (20-9, 12-6), Last Week: 5
With its most difficult stretch of the season coming after a rough patch, there were legitimate questions about this team, but they seem to have been answered resoundingly with wins over Iowa and Maryland. Penn State and Ohio State still loom next, but MSU is primed for some postseason success.
1. Maryland (23-6, 13-5), Last Week: 1
Maryland doesn’t have quite as secure of a hold on this top spot as it has over the last several weeks. Michigan State is coming on strong and looked solid in its win over the Terps. Maryland still should hang on for the Big Ten regular season title.