Despite being posted on Wednesday, these rankings only take into account last week’s results, through Sunday. Wisconsin holds onto the top spot, while Purdue and Michigan State make big leaps into the top three. Ohio State is this week’s biggest tumbler, falling five spots thanks to a seven-point loss at Michigan. The bottom five remain the same in a slightly different order.
|1. Wisconsin (25-2, 13-1) – Even|
|Last Week: Beat Penn State 55-47, Beat Min 63-53||This Week: Tue at #14 Maryland, Sun vs Michigan State|
Wins in two of its final four games would wrap up sole possession of the Big Ten title for Wisconsin, which is riding a 10-game winning streak. With a strong finish, Wisconsin has a shot at the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Kentucky.
|2. Purdue (18-9, 10-4) – Up 4|
|Last Week: Beat Indiana 67-63||This Week: Thu vs Rutgers, Sun at Ohio State|
Purdue is no longer a nice surprise in the Big Ten. At 10-4, the Boilermakers are playing for a double bye in the conference tournament and all but locked into an NCAA bid. Matt Painter’s team has ripped off seven wins in eight tries, including a 3-1 record on the road.
|3. Michigan State (19-8, 10-4) – Up 5
|Last Week: Beat Michigan 80-67, Beat Illinois 60-53||This Week: Thu vs Minn, Sun at at #5 Wisconsin|
Less than two weeks ago Michigan State was a bubble NCAA Tournament team. Now, after four straight wins, including back-to-back road wins over Michigan and Illinois, MSU is closing in on a second-place Big Ten finish.
|4. Maryland (23-5, 11-4) – Even
|Last Week: Beat Nebraska 69-65||This Week: Tue vs #5 Wisconsin, Sat vs Michigan|
Mark Turgeon has steadied the ship after a rocky 2-3 stretch put Maryland’s position in the top 20 in question. Three straight wins have the Terrapins positioned for a strong finish in which they should win three of four.
|5. Indiana (19-9, 9-6) – Up 2
|Last Week: Lost to Purdue 63-67, Beat Rutgers 84-54||This Week: Wed at Northwestern|
The middle of the Big Ten has really taken a hit over the last few weeks. Indiana, which has dropped five of its last nine, falls in at No. 5 as the rest of the Big Ten battles to stay off the bubble in the NCAA Tournament. Indiana’s last impressive win came over a month ago, on Jan. 22 against Maryland.
|6. Iowa (17-10, 8-6) – Down 3|
|Last Week: Beat Rutgers 81-57, Beat Nebraska 74-46||This Week: Wed vs Illinois, Sat at Penn State|
About the only thing Iowa has done right since back-to-back blowout wins over Michigan and Maryland is pounding Nebraska to the point where Tim Miles banned his team from its own locker room. Luckily for the Hawkeyes, a moderate finish of Illinois, Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern offers a great chance to reach the crucial 20-win plateau.
|7. Ohio State (19-8, 8-6) – Down 5|
|Last Week: Lost at Michigan 57-64
||This Week: Thu vs Nebraska, Sun vs Purdue|
The last two games were not a good look for the previously resurgent Buckeyes, whose stay in the top 25 was as brief as Wisconsin’s struggles after a loss to Rutgers in January. OSU responded to a loss in East Lansing by falling to Michigan, which was riding a five-game losing streak in the conference.
|8. Illinois (17-10, 7-7) – Down 3|
|Last Week: Lost to Michigan State 53-60||This Week: Wed at Iowa, Sat vs Northwestern|
Illinois’ four-game winning streak hit a brick wall against conference-leading Wisconsin last week, as the Illini fell by 19 points in Madison. A home loss to Michigan State dropped John Groce’s team to No. 8 in the Big Ten, a dangerous place for teams hoping to avoid the Badgers in the third round of the conference tournament.
|9. Michigan (14-13, 7-8) – Even|
|Last Week: Lost to MSU 67-80, Beat #24 OSU 64-57||This Week: Sat at #14 Maryland|
If any team in the Big Ten needed a big morale boost, it was the battered, quickly sliding Wolverines. On Sunday, a start-to-finish waxing of the rival Buckeyes ended that streak and gave Michigan a realistic chance to finish the conference season with at least a .500 record.
|10. Northwestern (13-14, 4-10) – Up 3
|Last Week: Beat Minnesota 72-66, Beat Penn State 60-39||This Week: Wed vs Indiana, Sat at Illinois|
A quick glance at some of the final scores during Northwestern’s 10-game conference losing streak would take some of the shock out of the Wildcats’ current three-game winning streak. Chris Collins’ team is finally finishing games, and has emerged as the top spoiler in the bottom half of the league.
|11. Minnesota (16-12, 5-10) – Down 1
|Last Week: Lost to Northwestern 66-72, Lost at #5 Wisconsin 53-63||This Week: Thu at Michigan State|
Can the rest of these Big Ten teams all tie for last? Besides Northwestern’s modest winning streak, the bottom of the conference has completely gone up in flames. Minnesota checks in at No. 11 because they still appear to have a pulse, losing by just 10 points to Wisconsin Saturday, which is a small victory in itself.
|12. Nebraska (13-14, 5-10) – Even
|Last Week: Lost at #16 Maryland, Lost to Iowa 46-74||This Week: Thu at Ohio State|
What happened to Nebraska’s vaunted home-court advantage? A team that lost only one game at home by a single point last season has dropped two straight at Pinnacle Bank Arena, including a 28-point thrashing at the hands of Iowa.
|13. Penn State (15-13, 3-12) – Down 2|
|Last Week: Lost to #5 Wisconsin 47-55, Lost at NU 39-60||This Week: Sat vs Iowa|
Penn State dropped three straight games against ranked teams before running into the buzz saw that is Northwestern Saturday. A 21-point pounding in Evanston put an early exclamation point on a disastrous conference season for the Nittany Lions.
|14. Rutgers (10-18, 2-13) – Even|
|Last Week: Lost at Iowa 47-81, Lost to Indiana 84-54||This Week: Thu at Purdue|
Rutgers is really bad. A 30-point loss to Indiana rounded out an 11-game losing streak with more tough games ahead. In their first Big Ten season, the Scarlett Knights are failing the test.