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