clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten women’s basketball power rankings, sixth edition

There's a new team at the top.

Conference play is in full swing now, and that means the top teams in the Big Ten are starting to throw haymakers at each other. With six teams in the conference currently ranked in the Top 25, every win is a big one. And there was no win bigger than the game that shook up the top of the conference three days ago. Let’s dive into the power rankings, starting with the team that earned that transformational victory.

1. No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers

Record: 19-1 (9-1 B1G)

Next Game: at Minnesota

Last Ranking: 2

The biggest Big Ten game so far this year happened last Thursday, when the Hoosiers used a 27-6 third quarter to hand Ohio State its first loss of the year. Any worries of that win causing the team to get cocky were dispelled by a dominant second half in yesterday’s defeat of Rutgers. Indiana has now won eight games in a row, just one by fewer than eight points, and have put itself in prime position to be the top dog in the Big Ten for the rest of the year.

2. No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 17-4 (9-1 B1G)

Next Game: vs. No. 10 Minnesota

Last Ranking: 3

The Hawkeyes have also gained the title of Buckeye killers, winning in Columbus one week ago today 83-72. The last time the Hawkeye offense put up less than 80 points? Dec. 7. Caitlin Clark can literally do it all, averaging 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game. The Iowa offensive buzzsaw has been almost unstoppable, and there’s a chance it could power the team to a Big Ten title.

3. No. 10 Maryland Terrapins

Record: 17-4 (8-2 B1G)

Next Game: vs. Penn State

Last Ranking: 5

Maryland has a legitimate claim as the second-best team in the Big Ten right now. The Terps have won 10 of their last 11 games, and the lone blemish was a seven-point setback to Indiana. The offense is putting up almost 78 points a game (top 25 in the nation), and the defense hasn’t given up more than 70 points in a game since Jan. 7. If the Terrapins are able to defeat Iowa on Thursday, there’s no telling how high they could climb.

4. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 19-3 (8-3 B1G)

Next Game: at Wisconsin

Last Ranking: 1

It has been a ROUGH week for the Buckeyes, who went from undefeated and a potential national title favorite to 18-3 in a six day span. The vaunted offense — averaging 84.6 points per game — couldn’t muster up more than 72 points in any of their three losses, with the third quarter breakdown against Indiana summing up this last stretch for them. Things are nowhere near close to finished for Ohio State, as three of its next five opponents are unranked. But OSU needs to figure something out quickly if it wants to get back to the top of the conference.

5. No. 13 Michigan Wolverines

Record: 17-5 (7-4 B1G)

Next Game: vs. No. 22 Illinois

Last Ranking: 4

This is probably about where Michigan belongs. Against Big Ten opponents who aren’t ranked, UM is 7-0 with all of those wins by double digits. Against conference foes who ARE ranked, however, Michigan is 0-4, though each of those affairs has been decided by single digits. The offense has a lot of top-end talent, but can be maddeningly inconsistent. The Wolverines have a big test coming up against the next team in these rankings.

6. No. 22 Illinois Fighting Illini

Record: 17-5 (7-4 B1G)

Next Game: at No. 13 Michigan

Last Ranking: 6

Illinois appears to have settled into a comfortable rhythm for conference play. U of I will play really good basketball against a tough opponent like Indiana, then immediately need a late three-pointer to survive Northwestern. The offense started off conference play hot, but has cooled off since then, with four straight outputs of below 75 points before a win over Michigan State yesterday. The Illini have a shot to make a late run with just two ranked opponents remaining, but if they lose against Michigan, any chance at a top-10 ranking is probably gone.

7. Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 15-6 (6-5 B1G)

Next Game: vs. No. 6 Indiana

Last Ranking: 7

The only reason the Boilermakers aren’t higher is because most of the ranked teams are refusing to go on losing streaks, and the one team that is (Ohio State) is still probably a top-15 outfit in the country. However, that shouldn't take away from Purdue’s accomplishments this past week, which include beating that Buckeyes team in Columbus thanks to some excellent three-point shooting. Purdue played giant killer this last week, and if it’s able to continue that streak by stunning Indiana, it may very well have a shot at a top-25 ranking.

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Record: 12-9 (4-6 B1G)

Next Game: vs. Michigan State

Last Ranking: 8

Well, the buzzsaw part of the schedule is over for the Huskers. They gave Iowa their best shot and only lost by four, which should provide hope for fans across Nebraska. This is a solid team, that, put simply, doesn’t have the firepower to deal with the upper echelon of this conference. However, the Cornhuskers do have enough in the tank to keep beating the teams below them, and if they do that, they’ll stay around this spot in the power rankings.

9. Penn State Nittany Lions

Record: 12-9 (3-7 B1G)

Next Game: at No. 10 Maryland

Last Ranking: 9

Penn State is simply incapable of winning on the road. It doesn't matter who they go up against; once the Nittany Lions leave the confines of Happy Valley, they hop right on the struggle bus. Of its eight games remaining, four are away from home, and two of those are against ranked teams, which does not bode well for Penn State. However, PSU is also not a juggernaut at home, as its 75-67 loss to Minnesota suggests.

10. Michigan State Spartans

Record: 11-10 (3-7 B1G)

Next Game: at Nebraska

Last Ranking: 11

Michigan State has hit a bit of a rough patch lately, losing four of its last five, but it’s the lone victory that deserves mention. The Spartans dominated Rutgers in an 85-63 victory, showing what they can do when they don’t have to constantly battle top-10 teams. However, the one downside is the fact that the Rutgers victory is their first conference victory by double digits — in late January. At least there are only two ranked teams left on the docket.

11. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Record: 9-14 (3-8 B1G)

Next Game: vs. Wisconsin

Last Ranking: 13

The Scarlet Knights deserve credit for going into Happy Valley and stunning Penn State. However, that’s about the only praise-worthy thing they've done in the last two weeks. Aside from the Penn State shocker, their last five games have involved four blowouts by over 20 points. They’ve also allowed 80+ points in all five of those outings.

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Record: 9-12 (2-8 B1G)

Next Game: vs. No. 6 Indiana

Last Ranking: 12

It has not been a happy new year for the Golden Gophers, who have lost seven of eight contests since Dec. 30. The offense — still somehow top-50 in the country — has bottomed out, failing to crack 60 points in four of its last five outings. A 77-41 loss to Michigan during which the team had more turnovers than field goals might mark rock bottom for the season. The only reason this team isn’t lower is because of what the next team did yesterday.

13. Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 7-15 (2-8 B1G)

Next Game: vs. No. 2 Ohio State

Last Ranking: 10

The Badgers are tied for the furthest fall this week, dropping three spots from No. 10 to No. 13. That's because they haven’t beaten a conference opponent since Jan. 11, and they don’t have a win by more than eight points since mid-November of last year. Wisconsin hasn’t put up 70 points in a game in almost three weeks, and the defense is prone to lots of lapses. That includes a massive collapse against the final team on this list.

14. Northwestern Wildcats

Record: 8-13 (1-9 B1G)

Next Game: at Penn State

Last Ranking: 14

The Wildcats are still at the bottom of these rankings, but they finally got a Big Ten win thanks to a 70-67 read defeat of Wisconsin. The ‘Cats used a 17-0 run in the third quarter to take a narrow lead, and then held on from there. Northwestern is now on a multi-game win streak for the first time since Dec. 17, and if Joe McKeown’s team is somehow able to shock a wobbling Penn State team, this young squad may be able to close the year on a high note.