In last week’s Power Rankings, I wrote that things finally appeared to be settling down across the conference. But, to the surprise of nobody, the Big Ten has resumed its insanity with even more unpredictable results last week.
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 12 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 12 Power Rankings
#1 - Maryland Terrapins (+1)
This is going to be a controversial pick for many, but after winning six in a row, Maryland has moved atop this week’s BTPowerhouse Power Rankings. The team is now 19-2 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten. And really, outside of a collapse in the final minutes against Nebraska, Maryland hasn’t lost in two months.
The Terps had two games last week with the first coming at home against Rutgers and the second coming on the road against a desperate Minnesota team. As mentioned, Maryland found a way to win both games. Not only did these wins take a potential bad loss off the schedule, but they also added a quality road win to Maryland’s resume.
Maryland will now get a challenging set of games this week with Ohio State on the road on Tuesday and Purdue at home on Saturday. These are two of the four games where Maryland will enter as a underdog left this season. As such, even a split would be big for the team’s Big Ten title chances.
#2 - Wisconsin Badgers (-1)
The Badgers did go 2-0 last week, but dropped a spot after the team needed a frantic last few minutes to avoid losing to Rutgers on Saturday. With the two wins, Wisconsin improved to 18-3 on the season and 7-1 in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin will get a tricky, but important set of games this week as the team will face Illinois on the road and Indiana at home. There’s no debating that the Badgers will be favored in both matchups, but Illinois and Indiana are more than capable of beating Wisconsin, especially considering the underwhelming play the Badgers have shown lately. Thus, taking care of business in these two games will be essential.
#3 - Northwestern Wildcats (+1)
The Wildcats figured to be favorites in both of the team’s matchups last week, but with a dangerous Nebraska team and a talented Indiana team on the docket, things wouldn’t be easy. Nonetheless, despite these challenges, Northwestern answered the call and won both games by double-digits.
With those two wins, Northwestern improved to 18-4 on the season and 7-2 in Big Ten play. KenPom now projects the Wildcats to finish the regular season at 23-8 overall and 12-6 in the Big Ten. That would comfortably earn an NCAA bid.
Northwestern will only get one game this week and it comes on the road against Purdue on Wednesday. If the Wildcats somehow pulled off the upset, Northwestern would be a virtual lock to make the Tourney.
#4 - Purdue Boilermakers (-1)
The Boilermakers are considered by many to be the conference’s best and most dangerous team this season. Unfortunately, Purdue continues to stumble when it looks like it’s finally starting to turn the corner. Purdue started the week well with a road win at Michigan State, but followed it with a tough loss on the road against Nebraska. As a result of the loss, Purdue dropped to 6-3 in the Big Ten.
Purdue will now enter a key stretch of the season for the team. Its next three games will all prove difficult and with Northwestern at home and Maryland on the road this week, Purdue has the opportunity to add two resume wins. Purdue will need to go at least 1-1 to have any chance of remaining in the Big Ten title race.
#5 - Michigan State Spartans (+5)
The Spartans had a crucial set of games lined up on the schedule last week. In fact, I called it the team’s most important week of the season considering Michigan State’s lackluster start to conference play. Ultimately, Michigan State split its two home matchups by losing to Purdue on Tuesday and beating Michigan on Sunday.
With the split, Michigan State now sits at 13-9 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten. The team only has one game this week and it comes on the road against a tricky Nebraska squad. This is another game that the Spartans need to find a way to win.
#6 - Michigan Wolverines (+1)
The Wolverines also had an important set of games this week as the team faced Indiana at home on Thursday and Michigan State on the road on Sunday. Michigan also split its matchups by blowing out Indiana and falling on the road to the Spartans. Michigan now sits at 14-8 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten.
Michigan is another team that only gets one game this week as the Wolverines will face arch-rival Ohio State at home on Saturday evening. According to KenPom, this will be Michigan’s most winnable game remaining. As such, this is a “must win” for the Wolverines, if the team is going to make the NCAA Tournament.
#7 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)
The Golden Gophers are in free fall at the moment. After a brilliant 15-2 start to the season, Minnesota has now lost its last five games, with the latest coming against Ohio State on the road on Wednesday and Maryland at home on Saturday.
Minnesota’s overall resume still looks solid, but the team desperately needs to find a way to get things turned around. It will have its first opportunity to do just that this week when it travels to Illinois on Saturday.
#8 - Indiana Hoosiers (-3)
The Hoosiers are another team that looks like things are heading in the wrong direction. Indiana had two key road games last week and come up short in both, losing in blowout fashion to Michigan and to Northwestern. Star guard James Blackmon was also injured, raising concerns that the team could be about to head off a cliff.
Indiana will look to rebound from those two losses with Penn State at home on Wednesday and Wisconsin on the road on Sunday. If Indiana is going to make the NCAA Tournament, it must win at least one of these two games.
#9 - Penn State Nittany Lions (-1)
The Nittany Lions may have gotten blown out on the road against Wisconsin last Tuesday, but the team did respond by getting a nice win against Illinois at home on Saturday afternoon. Penn State will look at continue building on that win with Indiana on the road and Rutgers at home this week.
#10 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-1)
The Hawkeyes may no longer be in serious NCAA at-large consideration, but the team still remains dangerous. Although Iowa lost a tough one on the road against Illinois last Wednesday, the team responded by beating down Ohio State at home on Saturday, even without Peter Jok.
Iowa will get two more winnable games this week with Rutgers on the road on Tuesday and Nebraska at home on Sunday. The team’s main goal at this point needs to be finishing the season with positive momentum and securing a good seed in a confusing Big Ten Tournament bracket.
#11 - Illinois Fighting Illini (--)
The Illini entered last week with its NCAA Tournament hopes quickly disappearing behind a slamming door. Unfortunately, Illinois didn’t do much to help its chances by beating Iowa at home on Wednesday and falling on the road to Penn State on Saturday. Simply put, Illinois needed to win both those games.
Illinois will now enter its most important remaining week of the season. The team gets two home games with Wisconsin on Tuesday and Minnesota on Saturday. Two losses would effectively end Illinois’ at-large hopes.
#12 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (+2)
The Cornhuskers have effectively become the Big Ten’s version of a drunk guy at a party who destroys half the house during the night. Despite a 10-11 record, Nebraska has now recorded road wins against Indiana and Maryland and home wins against Iowa and Purdue. During last week, Nebraska lost on the road against Northwestern, but pulled off its latest upset against Purdue at home.
Nebraska will get two key games this week as the team faces Michigan State at home on Thursday and Iowa on the road on Sunday. Fans will have to see if Nebraska can continue being the conference’s wildcard this week.
#13 - Ohio State Buckeyes (-1)
The Buckeyes entered last week with the team’s NCAA Tournament chances dangling by a string. Unfortunately, those slim odds likely evaporated with Ohio State splitting its games by beating Minnesota at home and losing to Iowa on the road. Barring a shocking turnaround, the team’s NCAA hopes will rest in the Big Ten Tournament.
The good news for Ohio State is that the team can add some positive momentum and help its Big Ten Tournament seeding this week with Maryland at home and Michigan on the road this week. Both games are winnable, if Ohio State plays up to its potential.
#14 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-1)
The Scarlet Knights lost its games against Maryland and Wisconsin last week, but the team did nearly pull off an upset against Wisconsin on Saturday. Rutgers will now get two winnable games this week with Iowa at home and Penn State on the road.