Last week brought another wacky set of games for Big Ten fans and it left us no closer to figuring out where things sit in the league. Iowa pulled off an upset against Purdue and then got blown out by Northwestern, Maryland keeps finding ways to win, and teams like Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State split their games.
And where does that leave things for the Big Ten this week? We’ll have to take a look at the power rankings below to see where things fit.
The BTPowerhouse Power Rankings are composed entirely of my evaluation of the teams at this moment and their current momentum. This isn’t a projection of where I believe each team will finish, but rather, just a snapshot of where teams are trending across the league at the moment.
With that, here are BTPowerhouse's week 10 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 10 Power Rankings
#1 - Wisconsin Badgers (+2)
The Badgers regained the top spot this week after taking care of business at home against Ohio State on Thursday. With the win, Wisconsin improved to 14-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Big Ten. Of course, it should be noted that Wisconsin’s rise this week had more to do with Minnesota and Purdue’s struggles than its own play.
Wisconsin will have an intriguing week of games this week with Michigan at home on Tuesday and Minnesota on the road on Saturday. It’s hard to imagine Wisconsin dropping that home game to the Wolverines, but it could be a trap game with such a huge matchup coming up against the Gophers on Saturday. Expect an absolute battle in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon.
#2 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terrapins jumped two spots on this week’s rankings after grabbing a home win against Indiana on Tuesday and a road win against Illinois on Saturday afternoon. The two wins pushed Maryland atop the Big Ten standings and in comfortable position for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Maryland will only get one game this week and it comes on the road against Iowa on Thursday night. This team continues to prove its doubters wrong and the matchup against the Hawkeyes should offer another opportunity to add a solid road win to the team’s resume.
#3 - Purdue Boilermakers (-2)
The Boilermakers may very well be the best team in the conference, but with a loss to Iowa on Thursday, the team dropped to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Although Purdue might be just a few buckets away from a 17-1 record, the fact is that the team just happened to fall short yet again against a conference foe.
Purdue will now look to rebound with two very winnable games at home against Illinois and Penn State this week. This is a stretch of the schedule where Purdue can rack up its win total. As such, the Boilermakers need to grab two wins to keep their position in the Big Ten title race.
#4 - Northwestern Wildcats (+1)
The Wildcats may be flying under the radar, but after grabbing wins against Rutgers and Iowa this week, the team is 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. Northwestern has shown that it can compete against quality opponents and has earned itself the benefit of the doubt going forward.
This week should be a key one for the team’s NCAA hoops as it faces Ohio State on the road on Sunday. Northwestern figures to be a slight underdog, but if it could steal a win, the team could be in legitimate position to lock up an NCAA Tournament bid by mid-February. And yeah, that’s not an exaggeration.
#5 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-3)
The Golden Gophers easily had the team’s worst game of the season as Minnesota went on the road and lost back-to-back games against Michigan State and Penn State. The first loss came in largely uncompetitive fashion and the second came in the final seconds against a feisty Nittany Lion squad.
Nonetheless, Minnesota is still sitting at 15-4 and 3-3 in the Big Ten with arguably its biggest home game of the season awaiting this week. If Minnesota could take down Wisconsin at home on Saturday, it would go a long way toward moving this program in the first direction and getting fans to buy in.
#6 - Indiana Hoosiers (+2)
The Hoosiers had two games this week and split them by dropping one on the road to Maryland and taking down Rutgers at home on Sunday. Neither result was all that surprising, but it puts Indiana at 12-6 overall and just 2-3 in the Big Ten as the team enters a tricky part of the schedule.
Indiana will get two games this week with the first coming on the road against Penn State and the second at home against Michigan State. If Indiana hopes to end up with a quality seed in March, both of these need to be wins.
#7 - Penn State Nittany Lions (+4)
I have to admit that it’s really weird to have Penn State this high on my Power Rankings. In the history of this post, I’m not sure I have ever seen the Nittany Lions ranked this highly. But after recording wins against Michigan State and Minnesota in the team’s last two games, Penn State deserves some recognition.
Penn State still has a long way to go before it can hope to compete for great NCAA seeds in March or for Big Ten titles, but it does feel like this train is starting to go in the right direction. With Indiana at home and Purdue this week, perhaps Penn State can keep its upset streak going.
#8 - Michigan State Spartans (-2)
The Spartans continued the team’s inconsistent play as Michigan State beat Minnesota at home in convincing fashion on Wednesday and followed that up with a frustrating loss to Ohio State on the road on Sunday. Though this team might be turning a corner, it’s not quite there yet. Michigan State only has one game this week and it comes on the road against Indiana on Saturday.
#9 - Iowa Hawkeyes (--)
The Hawkeyes had arguably the wildest week of any team in the Big Ten. Iowa began by knocking off a ranked Purdue team at home on Thursday, but followed that up by going on the road and getting blown out by Northwestern on Sunday. It was about as Jekyll-Hyde of a week as you’ll ever see.
However, Iowa will get a key opportunity to rebound this week with Maryland at home on Thursday. Iowa figures to be a slight underdog in the game and will hope to steal one from a Terps team that’s rolling.
#10 - Illinois Fighting Illini (+2)
The Illini had an immensely important set of games this week with Michigan and Maryland at home in back-to-back games. Illinois got off to a great start by blowing out Michigan on Wednesday, but fell at home on Saturday at Maryland.
Illinois is still very much a potential at-large NCAA team, but with Purdue and Michigan on the road this week, coming away with at least one win would be huge for the team’s NCAA hopes.
#11 - Michigan Wolverines (-1)
The Wolverines followed up last week’s frustrating performance with another 1-1 performance as Michigan got blown out on the road against Illinois and took down Nebraska at home on Saturday. Michigan is now 12-6 and 2-3 in the Big Ten as it prepares to enter the more difficult portion of its league slate.
Michigan will get Wisconsin on the road on Tuesday and Illinois at home on Saturday. As long as the Wolverines can go 1-1 in those two games, it can keep its NCAA hopes alive.
#12 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (-5)
The Cornhuskers may have been the Big Ten’s hottest team after the first few days of January, but things have really fallen off since then. Nebraska lost at home to Northwestern last Sunday and then lost the team’s only game this week on the road against Michigan on Saturday.
If Nebraska is going to resurrect its NCAA hopes, it needs to win both games this week. Nebraska gets Ohio State at home on Wednesday and Rutgers on the road on Saturday. Both are more than winnable, but we’ll have to wait and see whether the Huskers can get the job done.
#13 - Ohio State Buckeyes (--)
The Buckeyes finally got the team’s first conference win this season as Ohio State took down Michigan State at home on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, that only improved Ohio State’s record to 11-7 on the season and 1-4 in the Big Ten. Ohio State is certainly still in play for an at-large NCAA bid, but with Nebraska on the road and Northwestern at home this week, Ohio State must win at least one of those games.
#14 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (--)
The Scarlet Knights had two games this week and lost both matchups. The first loss came at home against Northwestern on Thursday and the second came on the road in blowout fashion against Indiana on Sunday. With the two losses, Rutgers fell to 11-8 overall and 0-6 in the Big Ten.
It’s unfair to link all of these struggles to first-year head coach Steve Pikiell, but this most recent string of losses have continued a frustrating trend for Scarlet Knight fans. Since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers is 3-41 (.069) against conference opponents and has now opened league play with an 0-6 record for the second consecutive year.
Rutgers does get a winnable game against Nebraska at home on Saturday, but if the team drops that matchup, an 0-9 start to Big Ten play looks likely.