While every other Big Ten team has suffered at least two losses in conference play, Iowa and Indiana remained tied at the top with identical 7-0 records in conference play. The two schools continue to be rewarded by their conference performance in the polls, as they each moved up 6 spots in the week 12 AP Poll.
These two teams join Maryland, Michigan State, and Purdue as the five Big Ten teams currently ranked. Today we take a look at how the five ranked Big Ten teams fared last week and a peak at what team may appear in the top 25 next.
Iowa Hawkeyes (16-3)
-AP: #3 USA Today #4
The Hawkeyes stayed unbeaten in the Big Ten with wins over Rutgers and Purdue. The Hawkeyes jumped all the way up to #3 in the AP Poll behind just Oklahoma and North Carolina. Iowa is also behind Kansas in the Coaches Poll as they sit at #4. This is an impressive jump for Iowa, who benefited from a few top-10 teams being upset this past week (Villanova, Xavier, Maryland).
Iowa will have its hands full trying to stay undefeated this week as it faces arguably its toughest test of the season on the road against Maryland on Thursday. This is the only matchup of the regular season between the two schools during the regular season and could go a long way to deciding the Big Ten down the road in a tie-breaker scenario. The Hawkeyes finish up the week hosting Northwestern Sunday.
Maryland Terrapins (17-3)
- AP: #8 USA Today: #7
The Terrapins dropped a few spots in the rankings after a tough road loss to Michigan State. Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman really struggled against the Spartans, combining to shoot 4-20 from the field. Maryland didn't impress in their other game this past week either as Northwestern took Mark Turgeon's squad to overtime in College Park. This is the second time this season that Maryland has escaped an inferior Big Ten opponent at home this season (Penn State).
Maryland will have another tough game at home on Thursday as they host the Hawkeyes who are still undefeated in the Big Ten. These are the top two ranked teams in the Big Ten and Maryland will have the chance to reclaim their spot as the highest ranked Big Ten team with a win. Maryland will finish off the week Sunday at Ohio State.
Michigan State Spartans (17-4)
- AP: #12 USA Today: #11
After dropping a third straight game to Nebraska Wednesday, Michigan State got a much needed home win against Maryland on Saturday. Denzel Valentine looked healthy and back to his play-making self with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists. Bryn Forbes also caught fire scoring 25 points for the Spartans.
Michigan State will look to put together a winning streak this week as they travel to Northwestern Thursday. Tom Izzo's squad will then play host to Rutgers on Sunday. This is a great chance for Michigan State to catch their breath in the middle of the Big Ten season and put together some wins to get back in the top-10.
Indiana Hoosiers (17-3)
-AP: #19 USA Today: #17
The Hoosiers have now won 12 in a row and are 7-0 in the Big Ten. Indiana, however, is still yet to play any of the other 4 ranked teams in the conference. Tom Crean's team took down Illinois and Northwestern this past week. While these aren't top level opponents, the Hoosiers were still very impressive in both wins as they had identical 17 point leads at halftime.
Indiana still has a while before having the opportunity to prove themselves against the Big Ten's best with their first ranked conference game coming against Iowa on February 11th. The Hoosiers will have a tough game Tuesday against Wisconsin in Madison before hosting Minnesota on Saturday.
Purdue Boilermakers (17-4)
- AP: #21 USA Today: #23
Purdue had a busy week as they started out by beating Rutgers and Ohio State in convincing fashion. The Boilermakers then lost a tough road game against Iowa. Purdue had a halftime lead against the Hawkeyes, but missed free throws (8-15) and turnovers (17) were too much to overcome against a great Purdue team.
The Boilermakers have a relatively easy week upcoming as they travel to Minnesota Wednesday before hosting Nebraska on Saturday. Purdue has to be careful not to let one of these games slip as it could drop them from the rankings for the first time all season.
The Michigan Wolverines continued their solid start to Big Ten play with wins over Minnesota and Nebraska last week. The Wolverines record is now 15-5 (5-2) and they have two winnable games coming up this week. Michigan will face Rutgers at home Wednesday before traveling to Madison Square Garden to play Penn State. If Michigan can win both these games, they will be very close to earning a ranking before a big two game stretch against Indiana and Michigan State.