The Big Ten had several massive matchups this week and just about all of them ended up living up to the hype. In particular, Michigan State and Purdue went to overtime early in the week and later in the week, Indiana and Iowa were featured in one of the better games of the season for the conference. With these matchups in the rear-view mirror, things are getting even more exciting heading into the final weeks of conference action.
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 14 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 14 Power Rankings
#1 - Iowa Hawkeyes (306 Points) --
The Hawkeyes had an incredibly mixed week of action. On Thursday, Iowa went on the road to Indiana and lost its second conference game of the year. However, later in the week, Minnesota came into Iowa City and the Hawkeyes were able to take care of business with a win. Now, Iowa is in sole position of first in the Big Ten standings with a very manageable closing set of games.
Overall, Iowa received 90.9 percent of the first place votes this week. It's certainly not surprising to see the Hawkeyes get this attention considering that Iowa is now clearly the frontrunner for the Big Ten title. This week, Iowa gets Penn State on the road, with another opportunity to help its Big Ten chances.
#2 - Maryland Terrapins (275 Points) --
The Terps had a pretty underwhelming week of play. Things started on Tuesday with the unusual filler non-conference game at home against Bowie State. Unsurprisingly, Maryland was able to move on and grab the win. However, on Saturday, the Terps hosted Wisconsin in a key home game and were upset at home. It was Maryland's first home loss in nearly two seasons and its first home conference loss since joining the Big Ten.
This was the first time in a few weeks that Maryland did not receive any first place votse. It's certainly not surprising given the home loss to Wisconsin over the weekend, but a notable development. Nonetheless, with Minnesota on the road and Michigan at home this week, the Terps have a big chance to get back in the Big Ten title race.
#3 - Michigan State Spartans (262 Points) --
The Spartans also had a mixed week. Things started a bit rough with a loss on the road against Purdue on Tuesday, but improved with a huge home win over Indiana on Sunday afternoon. Though the Spartans are still a longshot to win the Big Ten, the team is now just one game out of a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament and have no major road games left on the schedule. Don't be surprised to see Michigan State make a big run in the next few weeks.
Overall, Michigan State received just under 10 percent of the first place votes this week. The Spartans have a very manageable final stretch of the season that starts with Wisconsin at home this week.
#4 - Indiana Hoosiers (220 Points) --
The Hoosiers had a mixed week of play with a huge win over Iowa on Thursday night and a frustrating loss to Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. With the split, Indiana sits at 10-3 in conference play and in second place overall in the conference standings.
With Nebraska and Purdue at home this week, the Hoosiers have a huge opportunity to keep pace with Iowa at the top of the conference. If anything, it at least could set up Indiana with the chance to go into Iowa City in a few weeks with a chance to take the Big Ten lead.
#5 - Purdue Boilermakers (217 Points) -1
The Boilermakers also had a mixed week of play with a huge win over Michigan State at home on Tuesday and a loss on the road to Michigan over the weekend. With the split, Purdue is probably out of serious contention for the Big Ten title and a top NCAA seed. Nonetheless, if the Boilermakers want to take that next step and reach the top segment of teams nationally, it needs to get back on track.
Now, with Northwestern at home and Indiana on the road, Purdue is presented with a huge opportunity to help secure its seeding for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. In fact, with two wins, the Boilermakers have a serious chance to close the regular season with five straight wins.
#5 - Wisconsin Badgers (217 Points) +2
The Badgers might very well be the single hottest team in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has now won seven games in a row, which includes three road wins and wins over Indiana, Maryland, and Michigan State. During that run, the team has gone from an NIT question mark to a very legitimate NCAA Tournament contender. If Wisconsin can find a way to steal one more major road game, perhaps its resume will be strong enough to make the field. With Michigan State on the road and Illinois at home, Wisconsin has a chance to secure two more wins to add to the resume.
#7 - Michigan Wolverines (194 Points) -1
The Wolverines likely had the team's best week of conference play all year with two key wins. Early in the week, Michigan scored a road win over Minnesota and followed it up with a win over a ranked Purdue team at home over the weekend. With the two wins, the Wolverines are starting to look like a safe bet to make the NCAA Tournament with a 19-7 overall record and a 9-4 record in Big Ten play. Unfortunately, Michigan will get no breaks on the schedule with challenging games on the road against Ohio State and Maryland this week. A win in either could very well lock up an NCAA bid for Michigan.
#8 - Ohio State Buckeyes (154 Points) --
The Buckeyes had a home game against Northwestern and a road game against Rutgers this week. It was a chance to add two wins to the resume and help the team in its last efforts to make the NCAA Tournament. Fortunately, Ohio State was able to take care of business and win both games. Unfortunately, the team will still need a few more quality wins to have any chance on Selection Sunday. With Michigan at home and Nebraska on the road this week, there are two chances to continue heading in the right direction.
#9 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (129 Points) +1
The Huskers had a relatively successful week. Nebraska did start by losing on the road to Wisconsin, but given the way the Badgers have been playing and the fact that the Huskers followed it up with a dominating win over Penn State, it's hard to spin the week too negatively. At this point, Nebraska does still have some shot at the NIT, but it will certainly take a good finish to this season. This week, Nebraska gets Indiana on the road and Ohio State at home.
#10 - Northwestern Wildcats (113 Points) -1
The Wildcats remain one of the teams battling for a bye in the Big Ten Tournament and to lock up a spot in this year's NIT. With games against Ohio State and Illinois this week, there were two opportunities to help in both of those efforts. Things started rough with a loss to Ohio State, but improved with a big rivalry win over Illinois.
With the split, Northwestern now sits at 17-9 overall with a big road game against Purdue this week. The Wildcats desperately need quality wins and this is a big opportunity to add one this week.
#11 - Illinois Fighting Illini (75 Points) +1
The Illini only had one game this week and came up short in it against rival Northwestern. With the loss, Illinois dropped to 11-14 overall and just 3-9 in the Big Ten. At this point, Illinois is probably a longshot to make the NIT, even if the team finishes the year well. It's been a disappointing season, but if the team can get into one of the byes in the Big Ten Tournament, perhaps it can get in position to make a run in Indy. With Rutgers at home and Wisconsin on the road, the Illini will have two chances to get back on track.
#12 - Penn State Nittany Lions (74 Points) -1
The Nittany Lions only had one game this week and it was a rough loss on the road to Nebraska. With the loss, Penn State dropped to 12-13 overall and 3-9 in the Big Ten. Along with that, Penn State has now lost five of its last six games with the one win (oddly) coming against Indiana last week. Now, the Nittany Lions will have to hope that the team can get things back on track with Iowa at home and Rutgers on the road.
#13 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (45 Points) --
The Gophers had two games this week and came up short in both. The first game was pretty competitive with Michigan at home, but the second was a tough loss to rival Iowa on the road. With the two losses, the Gophers sit at 0-13 and now just have a home game against Maryland standing between Minnesota and a showdown with a Rutgers team that is also winless in conference play.
#14 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (22 Points) --
The Scarlet Knights had just one game this week and lost it at home to Ohio State. The team has now lost 27 games in a row against Big Ten opponents and is 6-19 overall. If Rutgers falls short against Illinois on the road and Penn State this week, the Scarlet Knights will enter its matchup with Minnesota winless in conference play.