With the four games on Sunday, the Big Ten officially got through its "Danger Week" of the season out of the way, where numerous top teams from the conference matched up with bottom teams around the conference. There were no major upsets and the conference is getting in serious position to land six or more teams in the NCAA Tournament. As such, the competition at the top of the standings only gets tougher.
The BTPowerhouse Power Rankings is composed of votes from 45 writers that cover the Big Ten and three statistical measures (KenPom, RPI, Sagarin). This voting group is composed of BTPowerhouse's staff, 15 writers from SBNation's other Big Ten related sites, Steve Lorenz, Luke Srodulski, Josh Stephens, and Mike Wilson from 247Sports, Brendan Brody of Rush The Court, Alex Cook from MGoBlog, Andrew Kulha from Today's U, Shawn O'Neal from Lindy Sports, and Jim Weber from Lost Lettermen. (Not all writers participated in each set of rankings).
With that, here are BTPowerhouse's week 12 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 12 Power Rankings
#1 - Iowa Hawkeyes (347 Points) --
The Hawkeyes had a mixed week of play. The team did suffer its first conference loss of the season on Thursday against Maryland, but rebounded by blowing out Northwestern at home on Sunday. Iowa is sitting pretty with an 8-1 record halfway through conference play with most of its difficult games in the books.
Overall, Iowa received 88 percent of the first place votes this week. It's not surprising to see a drop off considering Iowa dropped its game against Maryland on Thursday. Nonetheless, with Penn State at home and Illinois on the road this week, there's a decent chance to score two Big Ten wins.
#2 - Maryland Terrapins (324 Points) +1
The Terps had arguably the best week of any team in the conference with a home win over Iowa and a road win over Ohio State. Before this week, Maryland had put together a really good resume, but was lacking those key marquee wins. Well, it certainly got one on Thursday and might even have a second depending on how Ohio State finishes the season. All told, the Terps are now 8-2 in Big Ten play.
Overall, the Terps received eight percent of first place votes this week. Maryland will certainly get the chance to move up even farther with a road game against Nebraska and a home game against Purdue this week.
#3 - Michigan State Spartans (292 Points) +1
The Spartans were a perfect example of why I referred to last week as the Big Ten's "Danger Week." The team had a road matchup with a decent, but not great Northwestern team and a home game against Rutgers. Losing either game would have been a major blow to Michigan State's resume. The good news for Michigan State is that the team got through both games with two wins and now sit at 6-4 in Big Ten play.
Michigan State actually received a single first place vote this week, which was a significant rise from just a few weeks ago. The Spartans only have one game this week and it's on the road against arch-rival Michigan. A win would certainly put the team back in serious contention for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament and maybe more.
#4 - Purdue Boilermakers (268 Points) +1
The Boilermakers also had a "Danger Week" this week with Minnesota on the road and Nebraska at home. Like MSU, losing either game would have been a big blow. Luckily, the team made it through and improved to 7-3 in conference play. It hasn't been a perfect start to conference play by any means, but Purdue keeps moving along.
Although things are about to get much tougher for Purdue, there are a few huge opportunities coming up for the team to make a real case for the Big Ten and a high seed in March. This week, the Boilermakers have just one game on the road against Maryland on Saturday.
#5 - Indiana Hoosiers (263 Points) -3
The Hoosiers also went down for the first time in conference play with the loss on the road to Wisconsin. However, the team did get back on track on Saturday with a home win over Minnesota. The upcoming schedule is going to be tremendously difficult, but with how the team has played so far, securing an NCAA Tournament bid and more probably shouldn't be too difficult over the second half of conference play.
#6 - Michigan Wolverines (231 Points) --
The Wolverines (like many other teams) had a relatively underwhelming scheduling week. With Rutgers at home on Wednesday and Penn State in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, there were two games with plenty of risk and very little reward for wins. Michigan was able to take care of business and now sits at 7-2 in the Big Ten. This next week will be absolutely massive for the Wolverines as the team gets Indiana at home on Tuesday and Michigan State at home on Saturday. Two wins would lock up an NCAA Tournament bid.
#7 - Wisconsin Badgers (195 Points) --
The Badgers had two key games this week and scored two wins in the process. The first was an overtime thriller over a ranked Indiana team at home and the second came on the road against a tricky Illinois team. With the two wins, Wisconsin is very legitimately back in the NCAA Tournament picture. It's still going to take a big finish, but four wins in a row, including two over ranked teams and two on the road will change expectations. The Badgers will hope to continue that momentum with Ohio State at home on Thursday.
#8 - Ohio State Buckeyes (177 Points) --
The Buckeyes had an incredibly important week with three games on the slate. It went relatively well with wins over Penn State at home and Illinois on the road, but things ended in disappointment with a loss to Maryland at home. Though an NCAA Tournament at-large bid is certainly still possible, it's going to take a tremendous finish to make the cut. This week, Ohio State only has one game, which will come on the road against Wisconsin. It's another chance to score a quality win and help the team's Big Ten Tournament positioning.
#9 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (147 Points) --
The Huskers only had one game this week and it came in a loss to Purdue on the road. With the loss, Nebraska sits at just 12-10 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten. An NCAA Tournament at-large bid is probably out the window right now and an NIT bid is probably fading as well at this time. However, with two home games this week against Maryland on Wednesday and Rutgers on Saturday, there's a chance to turn things around quickly.
#10 - Northwestern Wildcats (125 Points) --
The Wildcats had a pretty rough performance with blowout losses to Michigan State at home and Iowa on the road. Since starting the year at 13-1 overall, the team has gone just 2-7 with one of those wins against Minnesota. All reasonable NCAA Tournament at-large hopes are now gone and the focus goes to an NIT bid.
Now, the Wildcats get just one game this week with Minnesota at home on Thursday. It's a chance for the team to end its five game skid with a win over a struggling team. A loss could end even at-large NIT hopes.
#11 - Illinois Fighting Illini (97 Points) --
The Illini had a crucial two game stretch last week and came up short in both games. With Ohio State and Wisconsin at home, it looked like two winnable games on the schedule that could begin to put together an NIT run or more. Unfortunately, two losses dropped Illinois to just 10-12 overall. Now, Illinois will have to hope that it can get back on track against Rutgers on the road and Iowa at home this week.
#12 - Penn State Nittany Lions (82 Points) --
The Nittany Lions had two games this week and lost both in relatively uncompetitive fashion. The first came on the road to Ohio State and the second came against Michigan in New York City. Penn State kept it closer with Michigan, but the game was still over in the closing minutes. With the two losses, Penn State dropped to 11-11 overall and 2-7 in Big Ten play. Unfortunately, things won't get easier this week with a road game at Iowa on Wednesday and a home game against Indiana on Saturday.
#13 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (52 Points) --
The Gophers had two games this week and lost two close ones at home to Purdue and on the road against Indiana. Relatively speaking, Minnesota continues to get more competitive. Unfortunately, it has yet to result in a win during Big Ten play. The Gophers will have to hope that the team's luck can change this week with a road game against Northwestern on Thursday.
#14 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (25 Points) --
The Scarlet Knights had a rough week with road games against Michigan and Michigan State. Unfortunately, Rutgers came up short in both games. Now, the team is 6-16 overall and 0-9 in Big Ten play. This week, the Scarlet Knights will get Illinois at home on Wednesday and Nebraska on the road on Saturday.