For the first time since Big Ten play started, fans are finally beginning to see things start to settle across the league. Most of the crazy and unpredictable results appear to have ended and the conference’s tiers are separating.
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 11 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 11 Power Rankings
#1 - Wisconsin Badgers (--)
The Badgers had two tricky games this week and after recording wins in each of those two matchups, the team remained at the top spot. Wisconsin started by holding off an upset-minded Michigan team on Tuesday night and finished by narrowly beating arch-rival Minnesota in overtime on Saturday. Both were great games.
Wisconsin should get a much easier slate this week with Penn State at home and Rutgers in Madison Square Garden. If the Badgers are going to stay atop the Big Ten standings, both of those matchups need to be wins.
#2 - Maryland Terrapins (--)
The Terrapins only had one game this week and came out with a quality win on the road against Iowa on Thursday night. Iowa might not be an elite team, but considering that the Hawkeyes have already taken down Iowa State, Michigan, and Purdue at home this season, grabbing a win in Iowa City is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment.
Maryland will not get a mixed week of play with Rutgers at home on Tuesday and Minnesota on the road on Saturday. If the Terps can find a way to win those two games, Maryland will be sitting at 19 wins with one game left in January. Quite an accomplishment given Maryland’s offseason departures.
#3 - Purdue Boilermakers (--)
The Boilermakers looked really impressive this week, blowing out Illinois and Penn State at home in back-to-back games. Few are going to claim either of those opponents are outstanding, but both have some nice wins this year and knocking off both by more than 20 points is an achievement worth celebrating.
Unfortunately, things will get far more challenging this week as Purdue goes on the road to face Michigan State on Tuesday and Nebraska on Sunday. The Boilermakers figure to be favorites in both games, but this feels like one of those weeks where an upset might be brewing.
#4 - Northwestern Wildcats (--)
The Wildcats are finally starting to get some national attention after scoring a nice win against Ohio State on Sunday to move to 16-4 on the season. Northwestern’s not only on the trajectory to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, but the team looks like it might make the field rather easily.
However, if those dreams are going to become reality, this week will offer some big opportunities for the team. With Nebraska and Indiana both coming into Evanston, Northwestern could add two solid wins this week. Northwestern really needs to hope to go at least 1-1 in those two games.
#5 - Indiana Hoosiers (+1)
The Hoosiers are starting to regain some momentum after the team’s disastrous start to conference play. Indiana reeled off two wins this week with the first coming on the road against Penn State and the second coming at home against Michigan State.
Indiana still has plenty of flaws, but with the team’s Big Ten title odds now just a faint hope, the focus just needs to be on winning games and ensuring a respectable NCAA Tournament seed. With Michigan and Northwestern on the road this week, Indiana could take a big step toward that goal with two wins.
#6 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)
The Golden Gophers have finally hit some adversity. After starting the season with n impressive 15-2 record, Minnesota has now lost its last three games, with the most recent coming in overtime against Wisconsin on Saturday. This is still a good team, but clearly not one that’s good enough to assume it can coast through Big Ten play.
Unfortunately, things will remain challenging for Minnesota as the team gets Ohio State on the road and Maryland at home this week. These are probably two games that will come down to the closing minutes. The question will just be whether Minnesota can come out on top this time around.
#7 - Michigan Wolverines (+4)
The Wolverines are another team that appears to be coming around after a recent funk. Michigan split its games this week with a road loss to Wisconsin and a home win against Illinois, but showed far more fight than it has in quite some time and nearly took down the Badgers in Madison.
Michigan will now enter the most important stretch of its season with its next seven games posing major challenges and key resume opportunities. Things will start with Indiana at home and Michigan State on the road this week. It’s make or break time for Michigan.
#8 - Penn State Nittany Lions (-1)
While Penn State’s early January run was fun, it looks like the team has reverted back to its previous self. Penn State had two marquee resume opportunities this week and fell short at home against Indiana and got blown out on the road against Purdue.
Penn State will look to rebound this week against Wisconsin on the road and Illinois at home. Two losses would probably end any faint at-large NCAA hopes.
#9 - Iowa Hawkeyes (--)
The Hawkeyes only had one game this week and fell short at home against Maryland on Thursday night. Many had hoped the team’s resurgence in January would be enough to push it toward the NCAA Tournament, but that margin is awfully thin after back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Maryland last week.
Iowa will get Illinois on the road on Wednesday and Ohio State at home on Saturday. The Hawkeyes desperately need to find a way to win both games or any at-large hopes probably go out the window.
#10 - Michigan State Spartans (-2)
The Spartans only had one game this week and it came on the road against Indiana. Although Michigan State showed some serious fight in the closing minutes of that matchup, the team’s disastrous start ruined any serious chance Michigan State had of coming out with a win.
Michigan State will now get what’s probably the team’s most important week of the season. The Spartans get home games against Purdue on Tuesday and Michigan on Sunday. Not only is this a big week for the team’s resume, but it’s also a huge one spiritually as Spartan fans certainly want a win against arch-rival Michigan. The pressure will be on Tom Izzo to guide his team to two big wins at home.
#11 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-1)
The Illini had a rough week as the team got blown out on the road against Purdue on Tuesday and lost in relatively uncompetitive fashion against Michigan on Saturday. As such, Illinois dropped to just 12-8 on the season and the pressure cooker is beginning to heat up on John Groce.
With matchups against Iowa at home and Penn State on the road this week, Illinois desperately needs to find a way to win both those games. Otherwise, the back half of the schedule might be too much to overcome.
#12 - Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)
The Buckeyes had a mixed week with a road win against Nebraska on Wednesday and a home loss to Northwestern on Sunday. With that split, Ohio State likely dropped out of serious at-large NCAA contention and will now have to hope for a complete turnaround or a Big Ten Tournament run. Ohio State will get Minnesota at home and Iowa on the road this week.
#13 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1)
The Scarlet Knights finally got a Big Ten win! Like, seriously, they played a Big Ten opponent and outscored the opponent. This was the team’s first such win this season and just its second such win since January of 2015. It was also the team’s first respectable win of the season. Rutgers will look to build on that momentum against Maryland on the road and Wisconsin in Madison Square Garden this week.
#14 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (-2)
The Cornhuskers may have been the Big Ten’s hottest team to start conference play, but all that momentum of that 3-0 start has officially vanished. Nebraska has now lost four in a row, highlighted by a loss to Rutgers on the road on Saturday. The team is now 9-10 overall with a tough upcoming slate.
Nebraska will have to hope that it can recapture some of the magic it had around New Year’s this week as the team will face Northwestern on the road on Thursday and Purdue at home on Sunday. If not, Nebraska looks like it’s headed for another season without a postseason.