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.