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Big Ten men’s basketball power rankings, fourth edition: No. 11 Wisconsin wavers on the road

Penn State handed the Badgers their first conference loss on Tuesday.

Wisconsin v Penn State Nittany Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Badgers have fallen.

Wisconsin suffered their first loss in B1G play to Penn State in an 87-83 squeaker. Purdue rebounded from last week’s upset loss to re-cement its B1G supremacy, and a ranked team suffered a tough loss with its best player away for the foreseeable future. Let’s take a look at how the B1G has reshuffled this week.

1. No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 16-2 (5-2 B1G)

Next game: at Iowa

Another week, another round of dominant conference wins. The Boilermakers squashed Penn State 95-78 on Saturday before taking down Indiana 87-66 in Bloomington. Zach Edey had yet another unbelievable output against the Hoosiers, scoring 33 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, and Southern Illinois transfer Lance Jones has excelled as the fifth starter that Purdue sorely missed last season. The week ahead shouldn’t be too difficult for the Boilermakers with Iowa and Michigan on the docket.

2. No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 13-4 (5-1 B1G)

Next game: vs. Indiana

In a shocking upset, the Badgers fell to Penn State 87-83 on Tuesday night. They couldn’t contain the two-headed monster that is Kanye Clary and Ace Baldwin Jr., as the guards combined for 47 points. AJ Storr did the best he could to keep Wisconsin in the mix, scoring 23 points, but Clary wouldn’t be denied in clutch time. The Badgers will likely tumble in the AP Poll, and their battle against Indiana will be a crucial one.

3. No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini

Record: 12-4 (3-2 B1G)

Next game: at Michigan

There was a Terrence Shannon Jr.-sized hole in Illinois’s offense during its 76-67 loss to Maryland on Sunday. The Fighting Illini made less than a third of their shots despite Marcus Domask’s efficient 26-point effort. Illinois rode its defense to a 71-68 win on Thursday night, something they’ll have to embrace as the season progresses. Spearheaded by big man Coleman Hawkins, the Fighting Illini will look to leverage their tough-nosed style in Ann Arbor.

4. Northwestern Wildcats

Record: 12-4 (3-2 B1G)

Next game: vs. Maryland

The ‘Cats had an up-and-down week, taking down Penn State 76-72 before falling to then-No. 15 Wisconsin 71-63. Brooks Barnhizer carried the offense with 23 points in University Park, but NU didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Badgers on Sunday afternoon. The rebounding problems remain, as the ‘Cats were outmuscled on the glass 61-50 over their last two games. If NU wants to beat Maryland at home, the big men must stop Julian Reese, who is averaging almost 10 rebounds.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 12-4 (2-3 B1G)

Next game: vs. Penn State

The Buckeyes had a tough week, as they fell to No. 11 Wisconsin 71-60 and got embarrassed by Michigan 73-65. Their first loss was understandable from a talent differential, but the result in Ann Arbor was inexcusable. Ohio State was just 3-of-25 from deep, while the Wolverines hit 12-of-23. Bruce Thornton and the Buckeyes will look to right the ship against a middling Penn State team on Saturday.

6. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Record: 13-4 (3-3 B1G)

Next game: at Rutgers

After a statement win against No. 1 Purdue last week, the Cornhuskers proceeded to wet the bed in a 94-76 loss to Iowa. Keisei Tominaga and Co. simply couldn’t keep up with the Hawkeyes’ offense, which dropped 53 points in the second half alone. Nebraska’s success remains dependent on their shooting, as it leads the B1G with 157 threes made. With four players averaging double figures, the Cornhuskers will head to New Jersey in search of a get-right game.

7. Indiana Hoosiers

Record: 12-6 (4-3 B1G)

Next game: at Wisconsin

The Hoosiers toppled Minnesota 74-62 on Friday but were put in their place yesterday by No. 1 Purdue, suffering an 87-66 loss. Malik Reneau continues to have a great sophomore season, but it appears that Indiana will only go as far as its big man Kel’el Ware takes it. He dropped a double-double against the Golden Gophers but completely disappeared against stiffer competition last night. Ware faced questions about his inconsistent motor as a freshman at Oregon, but a big performance in Madison can help dispel those concerns.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 11-6 (3-3 B1G)

Next game: vs. Purdue

The Hawkeyes are continuing to light it up in conference play. They took down Nebraska 94-76 on Friday before putting away Minnesota 86-77 on Monday. It’s no surprise that Iowa is leading the B1G in points per game (87.1), but it also allows the most points per game. That’s why the Hawkeyes are just 11-6, but their volatile offense means Purdue could be on upset watch.

9. Michigan State Spartans

Record: 10-7 (2-4 B1G)

Next game: vs. Minnesota

After a crushing 71-68 loss to then No. 10 Illinois, the Spartans bounced back with a 73-55 smackdown of Rutgers at home. They deployed a well-rounded attack, with five players scoring seven points or more, and the team shot 48% from beyond the arc. This squad certainly isn’t up to snuff with Tom Izzo’s past rosters, but it has shown resolve against formidable teams like then No. 6 Baylor in mid-December.

10. Maryland Terrapins

Record: 11-6 (3-3 B1G)

Next game: at Northwestern

The Terrapins had an excellent week, defeating Michigan 64-57 before downing then No. 10 Illinois 76-67 in Champaign. Jahmir Young went nuclear against the Fighting Illini, dropping 28 points and dishing eight assists. He and Julian Reese are one of the best duos in the B1G, and the ‘Cats must watch out for their pick-and-roll connection on Wednesday night.

11. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Record: 12-5 (3-3 B1G)

Next game: at Michigan State

It was a trying week for the Golden Gophers, who fell to Indiana 74-62 on Friday and Iowa 86-77 on Monday. They were 8-of-49 from deep in the two losses, still struggling to find offense outside of junior Dawson Garcia. Guards Cam Christie and Mike Mitchell Jr. have to be better if the Golden Gophers want to take down Michigan State in East Lansing.

12. Penn State Nittany Lions

Record: 9-9 (3-4 B1G)

Next game: at Ohio State

The Nittany Lions shocked the B1G on Tuesday night, handing Wisconsin its first conference loss 87-83 and earning its first win over an AP Top 25 team under head coach Mike Rhoades. Clary excelled with 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field, and Baldwin Jr. was a fantastic sidekick with 20 points of his own. It hasn’t been a great year for Penn State, but this win could be the start of a run in the B1G.

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Record: 9-7 (1-4 B1G)

Next game: vs. Nebraska

In their only game this week, the Scarlet Knights were embarrassed by Michigan State in a 73-55 smackdown. They simply lack the scoring punch to keep up with most B1G teams—leading scorers Aundre Hyatt and Mawot Mag are shooting 39.5% and 38.0% from the field, respectively. It won’t get any easier for Rutgers, who face a squad of firecrackers in the Cornhuskers.

14. Michigan Wolverines

Record: 7-10 (2-4 B1G)

Next game: vs. Illinois

The Wolverines snapped their five-game losing streak on Monday, beating Ohio State 73-65. However, there’s no doubt that Juwan Howard’s squad is still broken. Dug McDaniel and graduate transfer Oliver Nkamhoua are both averaging over 17 points per game, but Michigan’s porous defense is tarnishing their excellent seasons. It could get ugly against an unyielding Illinois team on Thursday night.