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Week 18 Polls: Michigan State Spartans Highlight 5 Big Ten Top 20 Teams

Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Maryland and Iowa all rank in the top 20; Wisconsin cracks top 25 in Coaches poll

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season of this 2015-2016 ride of basketball came to a close last night, and the Associated Press and USA Today both released their second to last Top 25 polls this afternoon. The Big Ten boasts five teams in the Associated Press poll, while Wisconsin made their entry into the Top 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Michigan State Spartans (26-5)

- AP: #2 USA Today: #3

The Spartans stayed solid in their poll positions this week following their two victories over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Ohio State Buckeyes, the first on the road and the latter in East Lansing. Denzel Valentine had strong performances in both, and Bryn Forbes shot Michigan State into the #2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

Now, the #2/3 ranked Spartans wait until Friday in the Big Ten Tournament to find out who they play as they continue their march to a conference and national championship.

Indiana Hoosiers (25-6)

- AP: #10 USA Today: #10

You would be hard pressed to find a team around the country that is hotter than the Indiana Hoosiers right now. Troy Williams has been playing within himself and attacking, and him doing that makes this team absolutely lethal to anybody they could play. The Hoosiers took care of their business, beating Iowa on the road and Maryland at home on senior day Sunday.

With the road win against the Hawkeyes, the Hoosiers clinched their 22nd conference title and moved up two spots in the AP Poll to #10 and moving up one spot in the Coaches Poll to #10.

Purdue Boilermakers (24-7)

- AP #13 USA Today #13

The Boilermakers had two strong showings this past week, beating an always dangerous Nebraska Cornhuskers team on the road before returning home to Mackey Arena to honor their four seniors in beating Wisconsin in the final regular season game of the 2015-2016 calendar.

With their 2-0 week, the Boilermakers moved up two spots in the AP Poll from #15 to #13 in the final poll before postseason play. They stayed at #13 in the Coaches Poll and hold the #4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, ensuring they have plenty of time to rest and prepare for their Friday game.

Maryland Terrapins (24-7)

- AP: #18 USA Today: #15

The Terrapins had an up and down week, going 1-1 in blowing out Illinois at home before losing to Indiana at Assembly Hall to move to 24-7 on the year. The expectations were extremely high for this team this year, and while they haven't lived up to expectations during the regular season slate, they are still very dangerous come postseason play.

They dropped 4 spots from #14 to #18 in the AP Poll and 3 spots in the Coaches Poll from #12 to #15. They hold the #3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament with aspirations of capturing a conference tournament crown.

Iowa Hawkeyes (21-9)

- AP: #20 USA Today: #18

The Hawkeyes have struggled to keep the pace they set for themselves at the beginning of conference play, as they have sputtered out a bit down the stretch. They went 1-1 this week, losing at home to Indiana before winning on the road against the Michigan Wolverines.

The Hawkeyes dropped in both polls, falling four spots in the AP Poll from #16 to #20 and dropping three spots from #15 to #18 in the Coaches Poll. They hold the #5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and a win on Thursday would set up a very interesting rematch with a Purdue team they picked up two of their bigger wins this year against.

Wisconsin Badgers (20-11)

- AP: Others Receiving Votes USA Today: #25

The Badgers are an interesting team in a lot of ways. They've beat some of the best teams in the conference both at home and on the road, beating Maryland handily on the road earlier this year. They boast wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Iowa in Iowa City.

While their 1-1 record this week didn't get them into the Top 25 in the AP Poll, it did earn them a one spot upward move in the Coaches Poll to #25. They hold the #6 seed in the Big Ten tournament and a Thursday win would mean a big showdown with Maryland.

Who's Next?

The most realistic scenario for the Big Ten getting some more love from the national media would simply be Wisconsin getting a win or two in the Big Ten tournament to creep into the AP Top 25 polls with some help from other teams around the country. They're right on the brink of the Top 25, a few wins would certainly ensure they get the recognition of an AP Top 25 team.