Conference newcomer Maryland has taken over the top spot in the rankings this week for the first time, supplanting Michigan State thanks to a 75-59 win over the Spartans. Iowa shot up four spots to the second spot, while Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, and Penn State all held steady. This week, we get several top 25 matchups, beginning on Tuesday when 25th-ranked Iowa visits 6th-ranked Wisconsin and then on Thursday when 13th-ranked Maryland visits 23rd-ranked Indiana.
|1. Maryland (17-2, 5-1) – Up 2|
|Last Week: Beat Rutgers 73-65, Beat MSU 75-59||This Week: Thu at #23 Indiana, Sun vs Northwestern|
Nobody saw this coming, but Maryland has taken Big Ten basketball by storm in 2015. The Terrapins just completed a season sweep of perennial power Michigan State and sit alone atop the conference standings.
|2. Iowa (13-5, 4-1) – Up 4|
|Last Week: Beat Minnesota 77-75, Beat Ohio State 76-67||This Week: Tue at #6 Wisconsin, Sat at Purdue|
Iowa delivered another punch in the gut to the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday, riding a nine-point win to a season sweep of Thad Matta’s team. Iowa could really gain the early inside track with a win in Madison on Tuesday night.
|3. Indiana (14-4, 4-1) – Up 1
|Last Week: Beat Penn State 76-73, Beat Illinois 80-74||This Week: Thu vs #13 Maryland, Sun at Ohio State|
Tom Crean’s Hoosiers are slowly putting together a solid resume after another 2-0 week moved them to within a half-game of the Big Ten lead. Nationally, Indiana climbed into the top 25 for the first time this season with No. 13 Maryland coming to town Thursday.
|4. Wisconsin (16-2, 4-1) – Down 2
|Last Week: Beat Nebraska 70-55||This Week: Tue vs #25 Iowa, Sat at Michigan|
Wisconsin rebounded nicely from an unthinkable loss to Rutgers last Sunday by waxing Nebraska 70-55 at home. Now the Badgers face a meeting with Michigan in Ann Arbor sandwiched between two games against Iowa to end the month.
|5. Michigan State (12-6, 3-2) – Down 4
|Last Week: Lost to #14 Maryland 59-75||This Week: Wed vs Penn State, Sat at Nebraska|
The Big Ten has little to hang its hat on after the top four teams, as the rest of the conference has struggled to show any signs of stability through the first third of the schedule. Michigan State is a perfect example of that, having lost five of their six games against quality opponents, with one good win in Iowa City.
|6. Ohio State (14-5, 3-3) – Down 1|
|Last Week: Beat Michigan 71-52, Lost to Iowa 67-76||This Week: Thu at Northwestern, Sun vs #23 Indiana|
Perhaps the only team with fewer quality wins than MSU is the Buckeyes, who’ve lost all five games against teams with a pulse. They’ll get another shot Sunday against a solid Indiana squad that beat OSU on Jan. 10.
|7. Michigan (11-7, 4-2) – Even|
|Last Week: Lost to OSU 52-71, Beat Northwestern 56-54||This Week: Tue at Rutgers, Sat vs #6 Wisconsin|
After being manhandled in Columbus on Jan. 13, Michigan returned home and eked out a last-second win over Northwestern Saturday. But the cost of the victory was steep as Caris LeVert, the team’s leader in scoring, rebounding, assisting, stealing, and blocking, went down for the season due to a foot injury suffered on the final defensive play.
|8. Purdue (11-7, 3-2) – Up 3|
|Last Week: Beat Penn State 84-77 OT||This Week: Wed at Illinois, Sat vs #25 Iowa|
Purdue is staying afloat early in the conference season after pulling out a miracle overtime win in Happy Valley over the weekend. Now the road gets much tougher for the Boilermakers as they travel to Illinois before hosting nationally ranked Iowa and Indiana.
|9. Nebraska (10-7, 2-3) – Down 1|
|Last Week: Lost to #7 Wisconsin 55-70||This Week: Tue vs Minnesota, Sat vs Michigan State|
Nebraska’s modest two-game winning streak came to screeching halt in Madison as the Badgers manhandled Tim Miles’ team by 15 points. The Cornhuskers will need a scorching finish reminiscent of last year’s stretch run to return to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.
|10. Illinois (12-7, 2-4) – Even
|Last Week: Beat Northwestern 72-67, Lost to Indiana 74-80||This Week: Wed vs Purdue, Sat at Minnesota|
A 2-4 Big Ten record doesn’t tell the whole story for Illinois, which has lost by 10 or less three times in six games. John Groce’s team is facing another disappointing conference season if it can’t find a way to win some of those toss-up contests.
|11. Minnesota (12-7, 1-5) – Up 4
|Last Week: Lost to Iowa 75-77, Beat Rutgers 89-80||This Week: Tue at Nebraska, Sat vs Illinois|
After losing four of their first five conference games by a combined 13 points (and the other by 12 in Maryland), Minnesota finally got on the right side of a Big Ten matchup Saturday against Rutgers. Now five straight winnable games offer Richard Pitino’s team a chance to get back in the race.
|12. Northwestern (10-8, 1-4) – Even
|Last Week: Lost to Illinois 67-72, Lost to Michigan 54-56||This Week: Thu vs OSU, Sun at #13 Maryland|
Last week was a heartbreaking one for Northwestern, as it dropped three straight games by single digits. The Wildcats had a chance to beat Michigan State in East Lansing before being blown out in overtime, then fell at home 72-67 to Illinois, and finally missed a wide open layup that would have forced OT in Ann Arbor. Next up: Ohio State and Maryland.
|13. Rutgers (10-9, 2-4) – Down 4|
|Last Week: Lost to #14 Maryland 65-73, Lost to Min 80-89||This Week: Tue vs Michigan, Sat at Penn State|
New Brunswick, New Jersey is still buzzing about last weekend’s upset win over Wisconsin. But in the meantime, the Scarlett Knights have dropped two straight Big Ten games. Rutgers will look to get back on track at home against Michigan on Tuesday evening.
|14. Penn State (12-6, 0-5) – Even|
|Last Week: Lost to Indiana 73-76, Lost to Purdue 77-84 OT||This Week: Wed at MSU, Sat vs Rutgers|
After gifting away a win to Purdue Saturday, Penn State remained the only winless team in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions failed to rebound a free throw with seconds remaining and allowed a game-tying long ball at the buzzer. Remember Penn State’s 12-1 nonconference start? Neither do they.