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Big Ten men’s basketball power rankings, seventh edition

New month, same crowded Big Ten.


The Big Ten has (somehow) gotten even tighter this week in men’s college basketball. As we roll on towards March, tournament spots are very much still up for grabs, and seeding in the Big Ten tournament is about as far from decided as it possibly could be. Here’s a look at where things stand right now:

1. No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 22-2 (11-2 B1G)

Next Game: vs Iowa

Last Ranking: 1

The Boilermakers finally lost again this week, but they’re still inarguably the best team in the league. Indiana came to play on Saturday and was able to get the job done, but it took a herculean effort from Trayce Jackson-Davis. The number one team in the country, still with three more wins than anyone else in the league, easily slots in at number one in the conference.

2. No. 18 Indiana Hoosiers

Record: 16-7 (7-5 B1G)

Next Game: vs Rutgers

Last Ranking: 2

The Hoosiers are on the rise. After struggling with consistency early in the season, it appears that Indiana has righted the ship, and now, they’re scary. After taking down Purdue, this roster should be amped up and ready to close out the season strong in its last eight games with an eye toward making a run in the postseason.

3. No. 24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Record: 16-7 (8-4 B1G)

Next Game: at Indiana

Last Ranking: 3

Rutgers torched Minnesota earlier in the week, then took care of Michigan State at home. Heading into a huge matchup on the road with Indiana, the Scarlet Knights are playing well. Led by junior center Clifford Omoruyi, they have talent and size, and can match up well with anyone in the conference.

4. Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 15-8 (7-5 B1G)

Next Game: at Purdue

Last Ranking: 7

The Hawkeyes shoot up the rankings this week after beating a tired Northwestern team pretty badly (at least in the second half) on Tuesday and knocking off a scorching hot Illinois team on Saturday. It’s really hard to play on the road in Iowa City, and it’s shown in the last couple weeks.

5. Illinois Fighting Illini

Record: 16-7 (7-5 B1G)

Next Game: vs Minnesota

Last Ranking: 4

Illinois gets jumped by Iowa solely because they lost to the Hawkeyes this week. Other than that, though, the Illini have been taking care of business during this recent stretch. It looks like things are finally starting to come together at the right time for coach Brad Underwood’s team. Behind leading scorer Terrance Shannon Jr., Illinois has a ton of talent and is starting to unleash it on the rest of the league.

6. Northwestern Wildcats

Record: 16-7 (7-5 B1G)

Next Game: at Ohio State

Last Ranking: 5

One could make the argument that the ‘Cats should fall further this week after losing to both Iowa and Michigan. However, after a road win in Madison, and taking into account the fatigue this team has been facing, we’ll keep Northwestern at six. The ‘Cats have a critical matchup against Ohio State this week before a brutal stretch in which they play Purdue, Indiana and Iowa back-to-back-to-back.

7. Michigan State Spartans

Record: 14-9 (6-6 B1G)

Next Game: vs Maryland

Last Ranking: 6

The green and white lost twice this week, but they were both road games at Purdue and then Rutgers. That’s about as brutal of a two-game stretch as you could come up with in the Big Ten this year. The Spartans have been an inconsistent team behind Coach Izzo, but they have weathered a really difficult schedule the past few weeks, and now have a pretty favorable one down the stretch.

8. Maryland Terrapins

Record: 16-7 (7-5 B1G)

Next Game: at Michigan State

Last Ranking: 9

The Terps took down Indiana at home this week, giving themselves a great resume-building win against one of the better teams in the conference. Maryland then blew the doors off Minnesota in Minneapolis on Saturday, beating the Gophers 81-46. It’s been an up and down year for the Terps, but if they can continue this run, they have a chance to finish pretty high up in the conference standings.

9. Michigan Wolverines

Record: 13-10 (7-5 B1G)

Next Game: vs Nebraska

Last Ranking: 12

Michigan had a really good week. On the road in Evanston, the Wolverines ran Northwestern out of its own building. Then, at home on Sunday, Michigan took care of business against a struggling Ohio State team. As we approach March, the maize and blue are very much still in contention for a tournament bid, and have plenty of winnable matchups left on the calendar.

10. Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 13-9 (5-7 B1G)

Next Game: at Penn State

Last Ranking: 10

The Badgers did beat Ohio State on the road this week, but it’s starting to get difficult to count victories against the Buckeyes as impressive. They’re happening too frequently. Then, Wisconsin couldn’t defend its home turf against an overworked Northwestern team. Things are starting to look bleak in Madison, but there are still eight games left.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions

Record: 14-9 (5-7 B1G)

Next Game: vs Wisconsin

Last Ranking: 8

Penn State got blown out on the road against Purdue on Wednesday, but it’s hard to fault them for that. What it is easy to criticize them for, however, is proceeding to lose by nine to Nebraska. If the Lions want to be in contention for a tournament bid, games like that are ones they absolutely need in a conference like this one. Failing to get that win might prove to be the nail in the coffin for Penn State.

12. Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 11-12 (3-9 B1G)

Next Game: vs Northwestern

Last Ranking: 9

The Buckeyes just don’t win games very often. Yes, the talent is there, and yes, there have been impressive moments. But currently, this team isn’t March caliber, and it’s facing a huge uphill battle to get there. Another couple of losses, and it’s curtains for Ohio State.

13. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Record: 11-13 (4-9 B1G)

Next Game: at Michigan

Last Ranking: 13

Nebraska can hang its hat on being decidedly better than Minnesota. The Cornhuskers are the bad Big Ten team that you worry about as a potential trap game, not the one you just assume you’ll roll over. Unfortunately, this team is just that: a bad Big Ten team. Any postseason aspirations are already shot.

14. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Record: 7-15 (1-11 B1G)

Next Game: vs Iowa

Last Ranking: 14

As if this season couldn’t get any worse for the Gophers, they’re now dealing with Covid issues which will force them to reschedule their game against Illinois this week. On the court, the wheels have fallen off in Minneapolis. Honestly, the whole car is up in flames. The Gophers played twice this week. They lost by 35 both times. That’s about all you need to know.