Detroit News Big Ten Power Rank­ings

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It’s hard to move the Boil­er­mak­ers out of the top spot even if it was a fairly rou­tine week for them in the Big Ten. They got their fi­nal break dur­ing the week be­fore tak­ing care of an un­der­manned Ne­braska team for their eighth straight vic­tory. A tougher test awaits Tues­day when the Boil­er­mak­ers hit the road to take on Mary­land. Last week: 1. It feels like the Wolverines are start­ing to re­gain the rhythm that had them rolling ear­lier in the sea­son, es­pe­cially on of­fense. One of the top de­fen­sive teams in the na­tion, Michi­gan has started to see more flow of­fen­sively and got a big win at home over Wis­con­sin. A trip to Penn State shouldn’t be much of a chal­lenge but re­turn­ing home to take on Mary­land on Sat­ur­day will be a test. Last week: 2. The Spar­tans started the week with their third straight loss by fall­ing on the road to Illi­nois. It made Sat­ur­day’s blowout win over Min­nesota all the more vi­tal in an ef­fort to get the Spar­tans back on track. If that per­for­mance was any in­di­ca­tion, ex­pect a much bet­ter MSU team down the stretch. It won’t take long to get an idea if they will be as they head to Wis­con­sin on Tues­day for what has turned into a huge game for both teams. Last week: 3. The win at home over Michi­gan seemed to spark the Hawkeyes as they’ve now won three straight and are stick­ing around on the fringe of the Big Ten cham­pi­onship race. They’re a long­shot to get there at this point, but af­ter three straight wins, there is op­ti­mism. A visit to Rut­gers is all that’s up this week be­fore a big home game early next week with Mary­land. Last week: 5. The Badgers got a big win at Min­nesota early in the week, aveng­ing a loss at home to the Golden Go­phers. How­ever, they couldn’t pull off the road sweep by los­ing at Michi­gan on Sat­ur­day, a game that could have had the Badgers in the thick of the ti­tle hunt. All is not lost, how­ever, as Wis­con­sin wel­comes Michi­gan State on Tues­day, a game that could keep the Badgers within strik­ing dis­tance of the lead­ers or knock them out of con­tention. Last week: 4. It was an easy week for the Ter­rap­ins as they had the week­end off af­ter tak­ing their turn beat­ing up on Ne­braska. The ex­tra time al­lows the Terps to pre­pare for Tues­day’s show­down with first-place Pur­due. A win keeps the Ter­rap­ins in the mid­dle of a crowded ti­tle chase while a loss could mean they’re play­ing the fi­nal cou­ple of weeks to fin­ish in the top four and get the dou­ble-bye in the con­fer­ence tour­na­ment. Last week: 6. Af­ter a mid­sea­son swoon, the Buck­eyes are get­ting back into a rhythm and have won three in a row and four of the last five. The lat­est was Sun­day’s vic­tory at In­di­ana, a road win that can help the Buck­eyes con­tinue to build their NCAA Tour­na­ment re­sume. They get Illi­nois at home this week be­fore head­ing to Michi­gan State on the week­end with a chance to throw a wrench in the Spar­tans’ cham­pi­onship hopes. Last week: 8. The over­all record says there’s no way the Fight­ing Illini should be ranked this high, but they’ve won three in a row and there’s not too many teams in the con­fer­ence that would be dy­ing to face the Illini right now, just ask Michi­gan State. The Illini are still young and might be in­con­sis­tent on the of­fen­sive end, but they’re ath­letic at nearly ev­ery po­si­tion and get in your face de­fen­sively, mak­ing things un­com­fort­able. They’ll have a shot at four in a row at Ohio State on Valen­tine’s Day. Last week: 11. The slide con­tin­ues for the Golden Go­phers, who have lost three straight now af­ter get­ting beat at home by Wis­con­sin be­fore be­ing blown out on the road against Michi­gan State. The of­fense has be­come stag­nant as the Go­phers have failed to score more than 55 points in the last two games while lead­ing scorer Amir Cof­fey was held to four points at MSU. A trip to Ne­braska this week could get things turned around as the Go­phers are ap­proach­ing bub­ble sta­tus. Last week:

7. The three-game win­ning streak is a dis­tant me­mory for the Scar­let Knights, who have now lost three in a row af­ter get­ting beat at home by Michi­gan be­fore los­ing in over­time at Illi­nois. A trip to North­west­ern this week could pro­vide a chance to get back in the win col­umn be­fore

Iowa comes to town on the week­end as the Scar­let Knights look to pull off an­other up­set. Last week: 9. That brief ray of light last week for the Hoosiers in their up­set win at Michi­gan State has van­ished quickly. In­di­ana has now lost nine of its last 10 af­ter los­ing back-to-back home games this week to Iowa and Ohio State, ren­der­ing the MSU win nearly use­less as the Hoosiers are now a team — bar­ring a sig­nif­i­cant turn­around — that won’t end up play­ing in the NCAA Tour­na­ment. Last week: 10. The los­ing streak hit three on Sun­day when the Wild­cats lost on the road to Iowa. It’s be­come the norm for the Cats, who have been un­able to find any con­sis­tency at all this sea­son. The up­com­ing week at least of­fers a chance to get things go­ing in the right di­rec­tion as the Wild­cats are at home against Rut­gers be­fore hit­ting the road to take on Ne­braska. Last week: 13. The spi­ral con­tin­ues for the Corn­huskers af­ter losses this week to Mary­land and Pur­due. In those two games it be­came clear by the se­cond half that the Huskers sim­ply didn’t have enough to com­pete with two teams from the top half of the stand­ings. It’s been a bru­tal seven-game skid for a team that had NCAA Tour­na­ment as­pi­ra­tions this sea­son but now might be run­ning out the clock on the Tim Miles era. Last week: 12. Give credit to the Nit­tany Lions for con­tin­u­ing to bat­tle on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. It led to the first con­fer­ence vic­tory at North­west­ern early in the week fol­lowed by a hard-fought, four-point loss on the road to Ohio State. None of it will get the Nit­tany Lions in the post­sea­son and it might not save Pat Cham­bers’ job, but it’s at least worth not­ing they’re not rolling over. Last week: 14.

Matt Char­boneau

Dar­ron Cummings / As­so­ci­ated Press

C.J. Jack­son and Ohio State got a big win on Sun­day on the road against floun­der­ing In­di­ana.1. Pur­due (17-6, 10-2)

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