With rivalry week in the books, the Big ten now has just two weeks left for its regular season. The regular season title is still on the line, several NCAA Tournament bids are still in flux, and everyone is trying to establish their seeding for the Big Ten Tournament. As such, there will be quite a bit of pressure for all teams during the next two weeks and the power rankings continue to be tight.
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 15 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 15 Power Rankings
#1 - Iowa Hawkeyes (286 Points) --
The Hawkeyes had a disastrous performance this week. With only one game on the road against Penn State, most were already looking ahead to the team's next game against Wisconsin. However, Iowa was shocked on the road by the Nittany Lions and lost the team's third conference game of the season. With the loss, the Hawkeyes now sit at 20-6 overall and 11-3 in the Big Ten.
Overall, Iowa received 18.1 percent of the first place votes this week. It was a massive drop from last week and certainly not surprising given Iowa's surprising loss to Penn State. The good news is that with Wisconsin at home and Ohio State on the road this week, the Hawkeyes have two big opportunities to score key wins.
#2 - Michigan State Spartans (279 Points) +1
The Spartans are the single hottest team in the Big Ten after winning the team's only game on Thursday at home against Wisconsin. With the win, Michigan State improved to 6-1 over its previous seven games including some huge wins at home. Notably, those six wins also included wins over Indiana and Maryland at home and a road win over arch-rival Michigan. The Spartans now sit at 22-5 overall and 9-5 in the Big Ten.
Overall, Michigan State received 36.4 percent of the first place votes this week. The Spartans are still red hot and with a road game against Ohio State and a home game against a rekindled Penn State team, this is a chance for Michigan State to assert itself at the top of the standings.
#3 - Indiana Hoosiers (278 Points) +1
The Hoosiers had two home games this week and were able to come out on top in both matchups. The first was a game against a tricky Nebraska squad and the second was a rivalry game on Saturday night against Purdue. With the two wins, Indiana moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten and 22-6 overall.
Overall, Indiana actually received the most first-place votes of any team this time with 40.9 percent of all votes. Unfortunately, it was a handful of lower votes that kept the Hoosiers from moving up any further. Indiana only has one game this week, but it's a tricky road game against Illinois on Thursday evening.
#4 - Maryland Terrapins (249 Points) -2
The Terps split the team's games this week after losing on the road to Minnesota and narrowing taking care of Michigan at home over the weekend. Neither game was particularly impressive, but Maryland remains in the Big Ten title hunt and in position to get a good seed for the postseason. There have been plenty of disappointing moments, but as the season approaches its close, the Terps are still one of the top teams.
Maryland actually received a first place vote this week, but it came from the RPI ratings. It's been a rough couple of weeks, but with a road game against Purdue coming up this week, the Terps have a huge opportunity to add another quality road win to the resume.
#5 - Purdue Boilermakers (223 Points) --
The Boilermakers split the team's games this week by beating Northwestern at home and falling to arch-rival Indiana on the road on Saturday night. The last few weeks have been frustrating as Purdue has dropped three of its last five games, but the team still sits at 21-7 overall with a manageable closing slate. If the Boilermakers can take care of business against Maryland at home on Saturday, it would help tremendously for Purdue's seeding in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments heading into March.
#6 - Wisconsin Badgers (195 Points) -1
The Badgers had two games this week and split in those two games. Things started with a loss to Michigan State on the road on Thursday, but finished with a win over Illinois at home on Sunday. With the split, Wisconsin sits at 17-10 overall and 9-5 in Big Ten play. This is setting up to be a crucial week for Wisconsin's NCAA Tournament hopes as the Badgers take on Iowa on the road on Wednesday and Michigan at home on Sunday. If the Badgers can find a way to win those two games, it would virtually lock up an at-large bid.
#7 - Michigan Wolverines (178 Points) --
The Wolverines had a disappointing performance this week with two road losses. Michigan started with a rough loss to rival Ohio State on Tuesday and fought valiantly on Sunday, but ultimately, fell to the Terps in a tight one. With the two losses, Michigan dropped to just 19-9 overall and 9-6 in Big Ten play. Realistically, the Wolverines likely need two more wins to lock up an at-large bid and with Northwestern at home and Wisconsin on the road, there are two huge opportunities to get in position to do just that.
#8 - Ohio State Buckeyes (160 Points) --
The Buckeyes had two huge games this week against arch-rival Michigan at home and Nebraska on the road and were able to come out on top in both games. Ohio State remains an NCAA Tournament long shot, but the two wins kept the Buckeyes alive in the race and sets the team up to have an outside chance with three extremely difficult games upcoming on the slate. This week, Ohio State gets tough Michigan State and Iowa teams at home with two huge opportunities to secure marquee wins.
#9 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (110 Points) --
The Huskers had two challenging games against Indiana on the road and Ohio State at home this week and dropped both games. Nebraska's hopes were going to lie in the Big Ten Tournament regardless of what happened this week, but two wins would have really helped the team's NIT case. Now, with the two losses, Nebraska sits at just 14-14 overall with a road game against Penn State this week. If Nebraska wants to avoid playing on the first day of the Big Ten Tournament, taking care of business against the Nittany Lions will be huge.
#9 - Northwestern Wildcats (110 Points) +1
The Wildcats only had one game this week and dropped it on the road to Purdue on Tuesday. With the loss, Northwestern dropped to 17-10 overall and 5-9 in Big Ten play. At this point, even an NIT bid is looking like it will require some wins in the Big Ten Tournament.
The decline over the last month has been frustrating for the Wildcats, but with a road game against Michigan and a home game against Rutgers this week, perhaps Northwestern can score two wins.
#11 - Penn State Nittany Lions (101 Points) +1
The Nittany Lions easily had the team's best week of conference play and scored a win over Iowa at home and Rutgers on the road. With the two wins, Penn State improved to 14-13 overall and actually still has some chance of receiving an NCAA Tournament at-large bid if things fall perfectly. With Nebraska at home and Michigan State on the road, Penn State has the chance to add two important wins to its resume and keep both its NCAA and NIT dreams alive for at least another week.
#12 - Illinois Fighting Illini (60 Points) -1
The Illini had two games this week and won the first against Rutgers at home, but dropped the second on the road against Wisconsin. Illinois now sits at 12-15 overall and will have to hope that it can make a run in the Big Ten Tournament to have any realistic shot at the postseason. With Indiana and Minnesota at home this week, perhaps the Illini can score two big wins to boost the team's Big Ten Tournament seeding.
#13 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (55 Points) --
The Gophers finally won a conference game! On Thursday night, Minnesota notched off a victory over Maryland at home and finally got a win over a Big Ten team. It did screw up the potential 0-14 vs 0-14 showdown next week between Minnesota and Rutgers, but it certainly was huge for a reeling Gophers team. Now, Minnesota will hope to continue its momentum against Rutgers at home and Illinois on the road this week.
#14 - OPEN --
Currently, the No. 14 spot in the BTPowerhouse Big Ten Power Rankings is vacant.