Week 18 B1G Power Rankings - Indiana Jumps After Iowa & OSU Wins

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Check out this week's Big Ten power rankings as voted by BTP's staff.

We are sadly on the last week of the regular season and though it has been a fun ride, it is sad that it's coming to a close.  Last week, there were a few high profile games like Iowa at Minnesota and also some thrillers like Michigan winning at Purdue.  Michigan has already wrapped up a share of the Big Ten title, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are 1st in our power rankings.  Here are the BTP Power Rankings:

Week 18 Power Rankings

#1 - Michigan (Average - 1.3)

The Wolverines maintained the #1 spot this week, but watched some of their lead dissolve.  They went on the road and beat Purdue in an overtime thriller and took care of business at home against Minnesota.  Michigan needs just 1 win to clinch the outright Big Ten title, but you have to figure they are at least thinking about seeding as well.  If they are going to finish strong, they have to beat Illinois and Indiana this week.

#2 - Wisconsin (Average - 1.7)

The Badgers take over the #2 spot this week after beating Indiana at home and Penn State on the road last week.  Wisconsin has a 7 game win streak (longest in the Big Ten) that includes wins over Iowa, Michigan, MSU, and Minnesota.  You could make a pretty strong argument that the Badgers should be ranked #1.  They certainly are playing red hot and with games against Purdue and Nebraska left, they could end season on a 9 game winning streak.

#3 - Michigan State (Average - 3.2)

At one point, the Spartans looked like they could be the best team in the Big Ten, but after losing their last two games to Michigan and Illinois, they find themselves #3 on both this list and in the Big Ten standings.  MSU finally has everybody back, but they still are not playing the kind of basketball that many Spartan fans hoped to see.  They have a tough final two game stretch against Iowa and OSU.

#4 - Iowa (Average - 4.4)

The Hawkeyes split their games last week against Indiana and Purdue.  Iowa is still one of the deepest and most talented teams in the conference, but they have certainly underachieved and have lost 3 of their last 4 games.  They are in a race for the first round Big Ten Tournament bye and they need to at least go 1-1 against MSU and Illinois to hope to have a shot this week.

#5 - Nebraska (Average - 4.5)

Nebraska moved up to #5 this week after splitting against Illinois and Northwestern.  Many still think the Huskers have a serious shot at NCAA Tournament contention, but they certainly still have some work cut out.  If they can finish their season strong and get that first round Big Ten Tournament bye, they might have a shot.

#6 - Ohio State (Average - 6.4)

The Buckeyes had an embarrassing week after losing to both Penn State and Indiana.  OSU was swept by PSU this week in one of the most bizarre occurrences of the season.  The Buckeyes are sitting #6 in the conference standings and there's a serious chance they could finish in the bottom half of the conference.  An incredible thought considering they finished undefeated through the non-conference slate.

#7 - Indiana (Average - 6.7)

The Hoosiers had one of the most impressive weeks of any Big Ten team all season.  Despite having a gauntlet schedule featuring Wisconsin, Iowa, and OSU all in one week, the Hoosiers were able to go 2-1 in those games.  That is no easy task and it's a major reason why people are still considering IU as a fringe NCAA Tournament hopeful.  The odds are beyond slim, but if they can put together another huge week against Nebraska and Michigan, they could actually move into a first round Big Ten Tournament bye, which would be astounding considering how bad they looked earlier this year.

#8 - Minnesota (Average - 8.3)

Minnesota dropped a spot this week after splitting against Iowa and Michigan.  The Gophers are still the Big Ten's strongest bubble team and only have one game remaining against Penn State.  It's hard to imagine Minnesota losing this game and making the NCAA Tournament.

#9 - Illinois (Average - 8.5)

Illinois moved up another spot this week after beating both Nebraska and MSU in what was likely their most impressive week of play all season.  The Illini close with Michigan and Iowa this week.  Some still believe Illinois can get in as a bubble team, so two wins would be completely necessary to secure that goal.  They do look like they are in good shape for an NIT bid.

#10 - Purdue (Average - 10.5)

Purdue was swept last week by Michigan and Iowa to push them to a 4 game losing streak.  The Boilermakers have been great at times, but just can't close the deal when it counts.

#11 - Penn State (Average - 10.5)

The Nittany Lions scored a huge win against Ohio State last week and moved up to #11 this week.  They are hoping a strong finish can sneak them into a postseason tourney, even if it's a long shot.

#12 - Northwestern (Average - 12)

Northwestern has completed their fall and are now the unanimous #12 team this week.  They have lost 6 straight.

Thoughts

Last week, there wasn't much drama at the top as Michigan assumed the spot after beating MSU at home.  This week, there's a lot more drama as Michigan struggled on the road and Wisconsin lengthened their winning streak.  Right now, you can make a pretty strong argument that Wisconsin deserves to be #1, but Michigan can also make a case with a 3 game winning streak and their top spot in the conference standings.

Below that, it was interesting to see MSU hold onto that #3 spot, but with Iowa, Nebraska, and OSU struggling a bit this week, it makes sense for them to stay there.  However, it's not too hard to see somebody passing the Spartans if they struggle again this week.

Lower, Indiana was the biggest mover this week, all the way up to #7.  The Hoosiers are playing some great basketball right now and there certainly aren't too many teams that want to play them at this moment.  Maybe it's too little too late, but they are on a roll.  It was also interesting to see Minnesota remain higher than Illinois, but considering where they started last week, that's probably the biggest factor in those rankings.

At the bottom, the tone remains the same.  Win a game or two and you will move up.

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