Big Ten Power Rankings Archive
Indiana clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title on Sunday with losses by Michigan State and Wisconsin, but there’s still plenty to decide as we head into the final week of the regular season. Will Indiana win an outright conference crown? Which teams will receive a bye in the conference tournament? And who will shine in the final week and win Big Ten player of the year?
12. Northwestern (13-16, 4-12) (LAST WEEK: 11) … The standings indicate the Wildcats are tied with Nebraska for tenth place. But in its current state, Northwestern is the league’s worst team. In February, Bill Carmody’s team won just one game and failed to score 60 points in six straight losses. It might be time for a change in leadership in Evanston.
11. Penn State (9-19, 1-15) (LAST WEEK: 12) … The Nittany Lions have been competitive all year, but looked like a legitimate threat to finish winless in the country’s toughest league. But credit Pat Chambers and the strong play of Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill for Penn State’s shocker last Wednesday over Michigan. To ensure it won’t finish at the bottom of the power rankings, Penn State must win at Northwestern this week.
10. Nebraska (13-16, 4-12 ) (LAST WEEK: 10) … Another mediocre week for the Cornhuskers. They were blown out at Wisconsin and then lost at Illinois. One of the few bright spots for Tim Miles has been the play of freshman Shavon Shields, who might be the team’s top option next winter.
9. Iowa (18-11, 7-9) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hawkeyes have a legitimate shot to finish 9-9 in the conference, but they’re not in the NCAA Tournament conversation because of a mediocre non-conference strength of schedule. They’ve also feasted on the bottom teams in the league with four of their seven wins coming against Northwestern and Penn State.
8. Purdue (14-15, 7-9) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Yes, the Boilermakers lost by double digits this past week to Iowa. But the teams split the season series and Purdue went to Wisconsin on Sunday and knocked off the Badgers on senior day. That’s good enough for a bump up in the rankings.
We’re getting down to the wire now, and the Big Ten conference title will be decided in these next two weeks. Every game means even more now as teams battle for NCAA Tournament berths and seeding. Who will claim the crown?
12. Penn State (8-18, 0-14) (LAST WEEK: 12) … Well, it won’t be the Nittany Lions, that’s for sure. The only real question remaining for them is if they will win a game in the Big Ten. With home games against Michigan and Wisconsin and road games against Northwestern and Minnesota remaining, I’m guessing no.
11. Northwestern (13-15, 4-11) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Injuries have really hurt the Wildcats this year, and they have taken their toll in recent weeks. They scored just 41 points in each of their last two home games, losing by 21 to Illinois and 28 to Wisconsin, and then lost at Purdue by 31 on Sunday. Yikes.
10. Nebraska (13-14, 4-10 ) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Very good win for the Cornhuskers against Iowa on Saturday (and a very bad loss for Iowa). The Hawkeyes had a comfortable lead early, but Nebraska didn’t quit, and earned the best win of its conference season.
9. Purdue (13-14, 6-8) (LAST WEEK: 10) … Purdue’s win over Northwestern on Sunday ended a three-game losing streak, but the schedule the rest of the way is much less favorable for the Boilermakers.
8. Minnesota (18-9, 6-8) (LAST WEEK: 8) … What’s going on with the Golden Gophers? This team was supposed to contend for the Big Ten title, and now they’re getting blown out on a regular basis. Minnesota is coming off back-to-back road losses, falling at Iowa by 21 and at Ohio State by 26.
7. Iowa (17-10, 6-8) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hawkeyes suffered a bad loss at Nebraska on Saturday, but didn’t fall in the power rankings because of another bad loss by Minnesota. But if we get to Selection Sunday and Iowa misses the tournament, the Hawkeyes can look back to their loss at Nebraska as a primary reason why.
After a (somewhat) routine and unsurprising week in conference play, the Big Ten Power Rankings remain pretty much intact. But with perhaps the biggest game of the conference season looming Tuesday night in East Lansing, things could very well change in a hurry.
12. Penn State (8-17, 0-13) (LAST WEEK: 12) … There’s no doubt the Nittany Lions are improving under coach Patrick Chambers. Last week, they lost a close home game to Iowa by two points and played Michigan tough on the road for more than a half. But at the end of the day, Penn State is still winless in conference play.
11. Nebraska (12-14, 3-10) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Tough week for the Cornhuskers playing against the conference’s top two teams, but they gave Michigan State a bit of a test on Saturday night before a late run helped the Spartans win the game.
10. Purdue (12-14, 5-8) (LAST WEEK: 10) … After Saturday’s 28-point loss at Indiana, Purdue coach Matt Painter said this is the most frustrated he’s ever been with a team because he feels like the Boilermakers have the talent to compete. But the effort hasn’t always been there at a high level, and Purdue is in the middle of a total free fall. Next Sunday’s home game against Northwestern might be the Boilermakers’ last chance for a win.
9. Northwestern (13-13, 4-9) (LAST WEEK: 9) … The Wildcats won their first two road games in conference play, but they’re 0-4 away from home since then. It’s been yet another tough season in Evanston.
8. Minnesota (18-8, 6-7) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Golden Gophers have the talent to be an elite team, but they haven’t always done a good job of taking care of the teams they are supposed to beat. Losses to Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa leave you scratching your head a bit.
7. Iowa (17-9, 6-7) (LAST WEEK: 8) … They squeaked out a road win at Penn State and dominated Minnesota at home. The Hawkeyes aren’t quite ready to make a jump into the top half of the Big Ten, but they could still potentially make the tournament. Next year, though, they could be a team to be reckoned with.
What a week in the Big Ten. Scratch that, what a weekend in the Big Ten. Ben Brust beats Michigan on Saturday, Indiana goes on the road and gets a big win at Ohio State, and Illinois finishes a strong week with a win at Minnesota on Sunday. You never know what to expect on any given night. I guess that’s why they call it the best conference in college basketball.
12. Penn State (8-15, 0-11) (LAST WEEK: 12) … It seems unlikely the Nittany Lions will ever move out of the conference’s bottom spot. Their last two games were against two of the more beatable teams in the Big Ten — Purdue and Nebraska — and they lost both of them. Now, Penn State plays Michigan twice in the next four games.
11. Nebraska (12-12, 3-8) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Two of Nebraska’s three conference wins have come against Penn State. The third came at home against Northwestern. The Cornhuskers have played some teams tougher of late — they lost to Ohio State by just seven this week — but they have yet to beat a quality team in the conference.
10. Purdue (12-12, 5-6) (LAST WEEK: 10) … They have more Big Ten wins than Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa, but the eye test tells me that the Boilermakers aren’t as good as any of those teams. Their only win in the last four came at Penn State. If Purdue can steal a road game at Illinois or Indiana this week, then it’ll move up in the power rankings.
9. Northwestern (13-11, 4-7) (LAST WEEK: 8) … The Wildcats lost their only game this week, 71-57 at Iowa. Reggie Hearn, though, continues to look like one heck of a college basketball player. You may start to hear his name more going forward.
8. Iowa (15-9, 4-7) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hawkeyes are a team I still think could make the Big Dance, especially with their remaining schedule. They still don’t have that signature conference win, but they’re getting closer to getting it. Iowa fell in double overtime at Wisconsin this week.
After a showdown between Michigan and Indiana on Saturday night in Bloomington, we have a new team on top in this week’s Inside the Hall Power Rankings. The only question now is: How long can it remain there?
12. Penn State (8-13, 0-9) (LAST WEEK: 12) … The Nittany Lions may not win a single conference game this season. In fact, I don’t think they will. Games against Purdue and at Nebraska this week may be their best two chances.
11. Nebraska (11-12, 2-8) (LAST WEEK: 11) … The Cornhuskers are in the midst of the toughest stretch of their conference schedule, and it hasn’t started all that well. They lost at Minnesota by 19 points and at home against Ohio State by seven points, and they’ve got games at Indiana and against Michigan State looming after a meeting with Penn State.
10. Purdue (11-11, 4-5) (LAST WEEK: 7) … Terrible week for the Boilermakers, who lost at home to Indiana by 37 points on Wednesday and looked pretty bad in a 15-point loss at Northwestern on Saturday. A.J. Hammons is putting up bigger and bigger numbers, but they aren’t helping Purdue win.
9. Illinois (15-8, 2-7) (LAST WEEK: 10) … The Fighting Illini actually jumped a spot thanks to a horrific week by Purdue, but they really didn’t do much to deserve to. They stuck with Michigan State on the road, but then got beat again at home by Wisconsin. Illinois is 1-4 at home in Big Ten play and is in total free-fall mode right now.
8. Northwestern (13-10, 4-6) (LAST WEEK: 9) … They were beaten soundly as expected at Michigan, but the Wildcats salvaged the week with a home win against Purdue. Next up: trips to Iowa and Ohio State.
7. Iowa (14-8, 3-6) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Sure, the Hawkeyes still couldn’t quite come away with a big road win, but they played very well at Minnesota, and deserve to be in this spot. Can they use their performance against the Gophers to help win at Wisconsin this week?
The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back for another week with a few shakeups in the middle of the conference. Among the topics addressed: Illinois’ struggles at home, Purdue vs. Minnesota and which team is better and whether or not Michigan State is a contender for the conference crown.
12. Penn State (8-12, 0-8) (LAST WEEK: 12) … No surprise here. Losses to Indiana and Ohio State have the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten cellar for yet another week. Will Penn State win a conference game this season? It has games at Iowa and home against Purdue coming next.
11. Nebraska (11-10, 2-6) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Impressive 64-49 home win for the Cornhuskers over Northwestern on Saturday, but they aren’t quite ready to move up in the power rankings. They had a great chance with a struggling Illinois team coming to Lincoln earlier in the week, and the Cornhuskers got dominated on their home floor. That’s the definition of inconsistency.
10. Illinois (15-6, 2-5) (LAST WEEK: 10) … The Illini got a road win at Nebraska and hung fairly tough with Michigan for awhile, but the fact of the matter is, Illinois is 1-3 at home in Big Ten play. You have to protect your home court in a conference like this, and the Illini simply haven’t done that to this point.
9. Northwestern (12-9, 3-5) (LAST WEEK: 9) … The Wildcats got a nice win against Minnesota at home but then laid an egg in a 15-point loss at Nebraska. Next up: A Wednesday night contest at Michigan.
8. Iowa (13-7, 2-5) (LAST WEEK: 7) … Challenging week for the Hawkeyes with back-to-back road losses at Ohio State and Purdue. They’re tough at home, but the Hawkeyes are going to have to learn to win on the road if they want a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
We’re a day late this week because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, but ITH’s Big Ten Power Rankings are back for the third week. These always get harder and harder to come up with as we get deeper into the conference season, but as always, I did my best. Here is this week’s edition.
12. Penn State (8-10, 0-6) (LAST WEEK: 12) … You can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for the Nittany Lions. They’ve hung tough of late — they lost to Michigan State by nine points and Nebraska by four points this week — but they haven’t been able to secure a Big Ten win without star guard Tim Frazier. And a win’s not coming this week either with Indiana and Ohio State next on the schedule.
11. Nebraska (10-9, 1-5) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Nebraska hasn’t had a ton of success since joining the Big Ten, but it finally earned a win at Penn State on Saturday. Now, the Cornhuskers have very winnable home games against Illinois and Northwestern.
10. Illinois (14-5, 1-4) (LAST WEEK: 8) … Like usual, the Fighting Illini are falling down these rankings by the week. They looked so good in the non-conference season after winning the Maui Invitational and at Gonzaga, but they have lost some head scratchers, including a 14-point home loss to Northwestern on Thursday.
9. Northwestern (11-8, 2-4) (LAST WEEK: 10) … A small jump for the Wildcats this week after a nice road win at Illinois. They also looked fairly good in the second half against Indiana on Sunday, but the Hoosiers have struggled late in games in several of their recent contests. But Reggie Hearn has proven he’s a capable player, and Northwestern should win a few more conference games.
8. Purdue (10-8, 3-2) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Boilermakers had a good week. They won at Nebraska and throttled West Virginia of the Big 12, but they dropped a spot in the power rankings. Why? Well, it’s not so much about what they didn’t do as it is about what Iowa did. At this point, I feel the Hawkeyes are a better team.
7. Iowa (13-5, 2-3) (LAST WEEK: 9) … It took them a few games, but it looks like the Hawkeyes are getting comfortable in conference play. After losing three straight games to start the Big Ten season, Iowa has rattled off two straight, including an impressive 70-66 home win against Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes now have to go on the road for two straight against Ohio State and Purdue.