Howe: Big Ten Hoops Power Rankings 2-4
IOWA CITY, Iowa – If the Big Ten regular season is any indication, the conference tournament in Chicago next month could be wild.
We’ve watched upsets throughout the league. Indiana halting a seven-game losing streak with a win at first-place Michigan State highlighted the unpredictability. Even winless Penn State has been pushing opponents, taking 9-2 Purdue to overtime.
Here’s a look a this week’s power rankings, which likely will have a short shelf life:
1. Purdue (16-6, 9-2, AP No. 15, No. 15 Coaches) – Winners of seven in a row, it wasn’t an easy week for the Boilermakers. They survived in overtime at Penn State and overcame a double-digit deficit at home against Minnesota on Sunday. Still, their only two losses in the league came on the road against the other two teams in this tier. They’ve earned this spot.
Purdue plays once this week, playing host to reeling Nebraska on Tuesday. It begins the week 11th in the NET and Sagarin, and 10th in Ken Pom.
2. Michigan (20-2 overall, 9-2 Big Ten, No. 7, No. 7) – The Wolverines split a pair of games last week, blowing out Ohio State at home before being beaten soundly at Iowa. The Hawkeyes exposed Michigan’s lack of depth, particularly in the post.
The Wolverines travel to Rutgers Tuesday before playing host to Wisconsin on Saturday. They are 5th in the NET, 6th in Ken Pom and No. 8 in Sagarin.
3. Michigan State (18-4, 9-2, No. 9, No. 11) – All the Spartans had to do last week is beat Indiana, losers of seven in a row, at home Saturday to hold down first place by themselves. Instead, they fell in overtime to a Hoosier team that lost earlier in the week at Rutgers.
MSU plays at Illinois on Tuesday before playing host to Minnesota on Saturday. It sits eighth in the national NET rankings. It’s fourth in the Ken Pom and Sagarin ratings.
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4. Wisconsin (16-6, 8-3, No. 19, No. 19) – The Badgers’ five-game winning streak is second to Purdue currently among conference teams. They won at Nebraska and at home against Maryland last week. They allowed an average of 56 points in those contests.
Wisconsin will be challenged this week with road games at Minnesota and Michigan. It’s 12th in NET and Sagarin, and 11th in Ken Pom.
5. Maryland (17-6, 8-4, No. 24, NR) – The Terps beat up on Northwestern at home before losing at Wisconsin last week. They’ve beaten the Badgers in College Park earlier this season, their lone win against teams ahead of them in the standings.
Maryland plays just once this week, a Wednesday contest at Nebraska. It’s 24th in the NET, 20th in Ken Pom and 21st in Sagarin.
6. Iowa (16-5, 5-5, No. 20, No. 20) – If it weren’t for Indiana’s upset in East Lansing, the Hawkeyes would have claimed the league’s win of the week. Even so, they served notice that they’re capable of knocking off anyone in the league at their best. Only two of their final nine games come against teams in the Top 7 of these power rankings.
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Iowa plays twice this week. It travels to Indiana on Thursday before playing host to Northwestern on Sunday. It’s 22nd in the NET and Ken Pom, and 26th in Sagarin.
7. Minnesota (16-5, 6-5, NR, NR) – The Golden Gophers led by double figures in the second half at Purdue Sunday before going cold. It exacted revenge on Illinois earlier in the week and showed it’s capable of finishing strong against a tough schedule.
Minnesota plays host to Wisconsin on Wednesday before a Saturday road trip to Michigan State. It’s 53rd in the NET, 54th in Ken Pom and 52nd in Sagarin.
8. Indiana (13-9, 4-7, NR, NR) – The Hoosiers pulled off the win of the week, topping Michigan State on the road in overtime. It came four days after losing at Rutgers, however, making them one of the bigger enigmas in the league.
Indiana plays host to Iowa on Thursday and Ohio State on Sunday. It’s 43rd in NET, 45th in Ken Pom and 35th in Sagarin.
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9. Ohio State (14-7, 4-6, NR, NR) – The Buckeyes were blown out by Michigan on Tuesday before taking out their frustrations against Rutgers on Saturday. They’ve won two of their last three games after dropping five in a row.
Ohio State plays host to Penn State on Thursday before heading to Indiana on Sunday. It’s 35th in Net, 32nd in Ken Pom and 37th in Sagarin.
10. Nebraska (13-9, 3-8, NR, NR) – The Huskers fall to the bottom tier after dropping two more games last week, their current five-game skid the second worst in conference behind Penn State (8).
Nebraska plays host to Maryland on Wednesday before heading to Purdue on Saturday. It begins action 33rd in the Net, 27th in Ken Pom and 22nd in Sagarin.
11. Rutgers (11-10, 4-7, NR, NR) – The Knights knocked off Indiana at home before falling at Ohio State last week . They’re 119th in NET, 94th in Ken Pom and 98th in Sagarin.
12. Illinois (7-15, 3-8, NR, NR) – Illinois lost at Minnesota and stopped Nebraska at home last week. It’s 98th in NET, 75th in Ken Pom and 86th in Sagarin.
13. Northwestern (12-9, 3-7, NR, NR) – The Wildcats lost by 18 at Maryland in their only game last week. They’re 58th in NET, 62nd in Ken Pom, and 54th in Sagarin.
14. Penn State (7-14, 0-10, NR, NR) – The Nittany Lions played once last week. They lost at home to Purdue in overtime. They earned this position. It’s 85th in NET, 71st in Ken Pom and 69th in Sagarin.